Kill List (2011)

Kill List
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High impact violence

Director: Ben Wheatley
Actors: Neil Maskell, Myanna Buring, Harry Simpson, Michael Smiley

Eight months after a disastrous job in Kiev left him physically and mentally scarred ex-soldier turned contract killer Jay is pressured by his partner Gal into taking a new assignment. As they descend into the dark and disturbing world of the contract Jay begins to unravel once again - his fear and paranoia sending him deep into the heart of darkness.

DVD
Status: QuickPick
Run time: 95mins
Origin: UNITED KINGDOM
Aspect Ratio: 16:9
Audio Formats: English Dolby Digital
Subtitles:
by Simon Miraudo,

Ben Wheatley’s Kill List should only be seen at the end of the night, but the terrifying final act would likely keep you awake anyway. Neil Maskell and Michael Smiley star as Jay and Gal, former British soldiers having a hard time adjusting to regular suburban life. Jay’s wife (MyAnna Buring) wants him to get back to work, and Gal has a lucrative offer: join him as a hit-man and help him finish off a newly-acquired kill list. There are only three targets, and the pay is good; the only catch (it seems) is they have to make the deal with a creepy dude who will only sign the contract in blood. Fair enough; you meet these kinds of people in this kind of business, they rationalise. The audience follows the hilarious, bickering couple on their quest, and we're fooled into thinking that we're wi...

Ben Wheatley’s Kill List should only be seen at the end of the night, but the terrifying final act would likely keep you awake anyway. Neil Maskell and Michael Smiley star as Jay and Gal, former British soldiers having a hard time adjusting to regular suburban life. Jay’s wife (MyAnna Buring) wants him to get back to work, and Gal has a lucrative offer: join him as a hit-man and help him finish off a newly-acquired kill list. There are only three targets, and the pay is good; the only catch (it seems) is they have to make the deal with a creepy dude who will only sign the contract in blood. Fair enough; you meet these kinds of people in this kind of business, they rationalise. The audience follows the hilarious, bickering couple on their quest, and we're fooled into thinking that we're witnessing a new darkly comic British crime classic from 'the next Guy Ritchie'. But when the boys meet target number two, who inexplicably keeps thanking Jay for coming to murder him, things start to get weird.

They diverge from the list, make some bizarre discoveries relating to their targets, and then find themselves caught in … I’m sorry, I wish I could go on, but that would really ruin the surprise. I can't even tell you which British horror classics (one from the 70s, and one from the 00s) that the truly chilling final act evokes, as even whispering their name would count as a spoiler. Wheatley deserves commendation for delivering a film that surprises at every turn. Although it’s rather hilarious at times, there is a foreboding sense of dread from the very first frame. He knows how to work an audience. The cast, who apparently improvised some of the dialogue (the script is attributed to Wheatley and Amy Jump), are also excellent, finding the precise balance of humour in each of their increasingly horrific situations. I wonder if the picture’s final scene – which features a nerve-shattering twist and leaves  numerous questions in the air – works for the film, or against it? Are we given enough information to solve the mystery at the picture’s core, or, is a mystery at its best if it remains that way? I’ve been told by those who’ve seen the film a couple of times that there is enough information spilled in the opening act (which involves the dinner party from hell) to explain what exactly happens in the finale. I can’t wait to watch Kill List a second time. Even if the second viewing doesn’t explain a thing, I just want to experience the ordeal again.

4/5

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Member Reviews (10)

One of the best horror films of the last decade. Starts off in Mike Leigh territory, and ends up in a David Lynch nightmare. Excellent!!
Posted Sunday, 24 November 2013 See my other reviews
Nigel W
says
A couple of assassins find themselves getting into dangerous territory when their victims act unexpectedly. Though it starts off reasonably well the film starts getting silly when it enters Wicker Man territory. The ending is just plain daft.
Posted Saturday, 15 June 2013 See my other reviews
John
says
No stars for this one. I watched it from start to finish, and still do not know what it was about. So OK, the system insists on at least one star, but it is not deserved.
Posted Tuesday, 9 April 2013 See my other reviews
ka-tet
says
It is a long way to go for what is essentially a Serbian Film style twist with less humour and heart of a Serbian Film. Heavy accents and a little slow but that said there is a pay off.
Posted Sunday, 17 March 2013 See my other reviews
Liz
says
This is a slow burn of a movie. We've been accustomed to fast paced, violent films where the action never lets up and things pop out at you from all corners. This movie isn't one of them but it's a success no less. The action is slow, boring at times but you are always filled with a terrible dread (something movies haven't done well for a while). It goes total Wickerman at the end though and for some reason I can't get it out of my head. Weird and strange but I'm glad I saw it.
Posted Wednesday, 20 February 2013 See my other reviews
Lloyd
says
AN Excellant film that starts like the Boondock Saints and turns Wickerman towards the end. Well made and acted and VERY violent with some impressive torture but it explains little and an odd ending. Still worth a look as Its a brillant UK film and shows the Brits are back in form.
Posted Sunday, 30 December 2012 See my other reviews
Phil
says
Total garbage. Watched until the end and it was a real waste of time! You could do better with your handheld camera and your neighbors as actors. The director and writer didn't know which genre they were making. A real mess!
Posted Thursday, 9 August 2012 See my other reviews
Cindy
says
Can you imagine a film that starts off like a gritty Ken Loach kitchen-sink drama, gradually morphs into a terse Guy Ritchie action flick before finally exploding into a truly scary horror-fest with obvious nods to a classic British horror film from the 70's. While it might sound like a recipe for disaster, Kill List does exactly this. And it actually works. It's a bold film that is prepared to take chances with plot, genre and the audience's expectations. The cast is excellent, the bleak cinematography appropriate and the film is expertly paced - after a deliberately meandering start it picks up speed, almost galloping to the explosive final scenes. So few films these days ever even attempt to think outside the cliched Hollywood box - the Kill List does and better still, manages to be thoroughly enthralling at the same time.
Posted Friday, 6 April 2012 See my other reviews
Craig
says
A waste of time
Posted Wednesday, 21 March 2012 See my other reviews
Lisa
says
Very slow and not what we expected, only managed to sit through 20 minutes of this one.
Posted Tuesday, 17 January 2012 See my other reviews
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