Few movies really stick with me after I’ve watched them. Much like a meal from Taco Bell, I usually digest quickly, and might have a few issues with it later. But then there comes a movie like 2011’s Kill List. For his sophomore film, director Ben Wheatley gives us the absolute perfect example of “genre mashing”. The movie that you think you’re going to get, isn’t what you end up getting at all. Which makes it even harder to write a review for it, because the less you know going in, the better. But therein lies the rub. I guarantee you that you will either love this movie or hate it with a passion. Yeah – it’s THAT movie. Let’s dive in to the shallow end of this mind fuck of a movie, and I’ll try and keep it as spoiler free as possible.
The story begins with Jay (played brilliantly by Neil Maskell), an ex-soldier turned contract killer, physically and mentally scarred after a disastrous job in Kiev. He argues and fights with his wife because the bills need to be paid, leading to her talking him into taking a new “assignment” (just like a woman….am I right fellas?)
Along for the ride is partner and friend Gal and his creepy big eyed wife Fiona. Jay and Gal head out to meet with the mysterious Client who instructs them that their mission is to take out three people on the ‘kill list’. Both men feel uneasy after the meeting with good reason, but continue on to their first target. At this point in the story, we know something isn’t quite right and we’re pretty certain this flick isn’t going to stay on the straight and narrow road of your typical ‘hitman’ movie (you’ll get that vibe just from the opening credits too).
After the second target is taken out (with maybe the most brutal hammer scene I’ve ever seen…..and that’s coming from someone who loves Oldboy), things get even more strange and our boys try to opt out of their contract. Well, nothing doing. The Client isn’t down for that and instructs them that they must kill their final target on the ‘kill list’. And that my friends brings us to the last third of the movie where it really goes off the rails and this is where you’re either going to be on board with this crazy train, or not. Even if the film loses you at this point, you can’t deny the great camera work, the hypnotic creepy music (love the strings….really lets you know you’re not dealing with your usual hitman flick), and the overall top notch acting. The story is a slow build, but it really sucks you in, and when it does, it’s not going to let you go easily.
As I said at the beginning of the post – this movie will stick with you. Whether you want it to or not and whether you like the movie or you don’t. You will have questions afterwards and a second viewing might be required, but in the end I hope you’re as satisfied as I was. It’s not a 100% horror movie, but there are definite elements there that will satisfy even the most pessimistic horror fan. Kill List just came out on DVD/Blu Ray/VOD and you can get it here, so give it a watch and love it or hate it!