Killing Season

Movie review by
Jeffrey M. Anderson, Common Sense Media
Killing Season Movie Poster Image
Brutal violence and torture in forgettable revenge film.
  • R
  • 2013
  • 90 minutes

Parents say

age 16+
Based on 2 reviews

Kids say

age 16+
Based on 2 reviews

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages
The movie's main themes are revenge and torture, though both characters seem to be interested in "confessions" (either religious or just simply telling the truth), and once that happens, they seem to be satisfied, and revenge no longer matters. The message? Tell the truth! Ultimately, both characters seem ready to connect with other people once again.
Positive Role Models & Representations
Both characters seem to have been forever damaged by war, either retreating into isolation or concentrating solely on revenge. They both resort to gruesome violence. Though they eventually come out the other side, changed for the better, they aren't worth emulating or admiring.
Some absolutely gruesome flashbacks to the Bosnian War, with piles of decomposing corpses, characters shot in the head at close range, and mentions of rape and burning bodies. One character is shot through the leg, with spurting, gurgling blood. He's then forced to push a metal stake through the hole, and he's hung by a rope from this wound. Another character is shot with an arrow through his face (his cheeks) and then tied up and tortured with salt and lemon juice. A character digs a piece of bloody shrapnel from his own leg and uses it to stab another man. Fighting with knives, a car crash, and various arguing and taunting.
One character tells a joke with some strong sexual content (blow jobs, etc.) A voluptuous bartender shows some cleavage in a couple of scenes.
Strong language includes "f--k" and "motherf----r," several uses of "s--t," plus "goddamn," "damn." and "ass."
Characters study a bottle of Jagermeister liquor (they note the various symbols on the label).
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
In the first part of the movie, the characters drink almost an entire bottle of Jagermeister, getting fairly tipsy; this is presented very much as a social ritual.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Killing Season is a dark, mature thriller with war overtones that stars John Travolta and Robert De Niro. The main thrust is revenge, with various gruesome scenes of torture (often with blood/agony). Viewers also see some brutal, disturbing flashbacks to the Bosnian War. Language is fairly strong, with a few, pointed uses of "f--k" and "s--t." The characters tell a joke with some strong sexual innuendo. A bottle of Jagermeister liquor is studied, admired, and consumed, and the characters get drunk.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Parent Written bysrabeachy December 14, 2013

Not Bad

Over all this is an action packed movie, where an old soldier who was a Col. during the cold war (De Niro) ordered his troops to murder some Serbs who were comm... Continue reading
Adult Written byjoshua martinez August 23, 2013

17 and up.

this thriller movie killing season stars with two actors Robert De Niro and John Travolta is a boring movie and a waste of time with no plot to the story only a... Continue reading
Teen, 14 years old Written byianuky May 1, 2018
My tv says its for 12's and over, but i think its for 15's.

The movie is very gruesome, these two characters go at each other for the whole movie.... Continue reading
Kid, 9 years old June 13, 2016

Gruesome and very violent revenge thriller but entertaining and clever but mature.

This very disturbing and graphic revenge thriller starts off with a man named Benjamin Ford, who survived a tour of the Bosnian war. He has retreated to cabin i... Continue reading

What's the story?

Benjamin Ford (Robert De Niro) survived a tour of the Bosnian War but has retreated to a cabin deep in the woods, living a simple existence, photographing animals, reading Hemingway, and going to bed early. Meanwhile, a Serb, Emil Kovac (John Travolta) -- who encountered Benjamin during the war -- has spent years looking for him and finally finds him. At first he seems friendly enough, sharing his Jagermeister and talking the night away. But the next morning, he's planned a deadly hunt with bows, arrows, and Benjamin as his prey. Fortunately, Benjamin isn't an easy quarry to catch, and soon each man is using every skill at his disposal to survive and defeat the other.

Is it any good?

To sum it up in one word, this movie just feels wrong. Director Mark Steven Johnson has so far made bad comedies (When in Rome), bad superhero movies (Daredevil and Ghost Rider), and a sentimental weepie (Simon Birch), and in KILLING SEASON he attempts a dramatic thriller with serious overtones of war and genocide. The main problem is that he doesn't seem to know how to mix ghoulish, superficial torture sequences with horrific war flashbacks.
Oddly, the movie's best part comes when the two stars, Travolta and De Niro, are simply talking, before the hunt begins. Travolta, especially, is weirdly captivating with his thick Serbian accent and an odd, Abraham Lincoln-like beard. Both Travolta and De Niro have played psychopaths before, and they both know how to play this game; their relationship is believable. It's too bad their talent is so wasted in this puzzling, unpleasant movie.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about Killing Season's violence. Which parts were supposed to be thrilling, and which parts were supposed to be disturbing? Can the two goals co-exist? How does what you see here compare to horror movies?
  • Does revenge solve anything or lead to anything good? Do these characters get their revenge? What happens to them?
  • Why does Robert De Niro's character avoid his family? What would happen if he confided in them?

Movie details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love thrills

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