Kill List

4 Jan

Director: Ben Wheatley

Writers: Ben Wheatley, Amy Jump

Stars: Neil Maskell, MyAnna Buring and Harry Simpson

UK Rating: 18

Runtime: 95 minutes



Kill List is a low budget British thriller / chiller that packs a mighty punch. It was released to great UK critical acclaim in September 2011 as the second feature film from Ben Wheatley (as written by Ben and his wife Amy Jump). The film echoes 1970’s British horror films in its styling and ambiguous narrative whilst also bringing to mind some of Shane Meadows’ work, especially Dead Man’s Shoes.

The bulk of the movie is focused on ex-soldier Jay trying to get to grips with recessionary family life and his mercenary / hit man activities with best friend Gal (another ex-soldier). It is clear early on that Jay has difficulties adjusting to his new life. Some form of post traumatic stress appears to be affecting him and throughout the scenes of domestic non-bliss the overall tone is moody, uncomfortable and menacing. Something is not quite right.

Once Jay and Gal, pushed along by Jay’s wife Shel, get back into killing work by taking on the hit list from a mysterious client the horror ramps up. Jay spirals downwards into severe darkness as the list is dealt with, bodies pile up in bloody style and ominous signs appear. All of this makes for unsettling viewing. The acting is incredibly strong, the direction tight and the sound design haunting. Where it all finishes up is too outlandish and odd to mark this as a masterpiece, but as a modern British horror film it is really very good and surely bound for cult status.

One Response to “Kill List”

  1. vinnieh September 2, 2013 at 11:25 am #

    Great review, this is a film that really sticks in your head for a long time after viewing it.

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