KILL LISTUnited Kingdom-95 Mins. 2011


Neil Maskell as Jay in Kill List

Neil Maskell as Jay in Kill List

Michael Smiley as Gal in Kill List

Michael Smiley as Gal in Kill List

Myanna Buring as Shel in Kill List

Myanna Buring as Shel in Kill List

Emma Fryer as Fiona in Kill List

Emma Fryer as Fiona in Kill List

Directed by Ben Wheatley

Written by Amy Jump and Ben Wheatley

What the bloody hell did I just witness? Aside from his contribution to The ABC’s of Death (U is for Unearthed), this is my first trip into the cinematic world of Ben Wheatley (A Field in England, Sightseers). If Kill List is any indication of Mr. Wheatley’s world, then it is a violent world indeed. The film is a mash-up of family drama, criminal violence and psychological horror unlike any film I’ve seen in quite some time.

Nearly a year after an unspecified mission in Kiev, former soldier Jay (Neil Maskell, Atonement, Basic Instinct 2) and his wife Shel (Myanna Buring, The Descent, Devil’s Playground) have run out of money and are struggling to make ends meet for themselves and for their seven year-old son. When Gal (Michael Smiley, Perfume: The Story of a Murderer, The World’s End), also a former soldier and his girlfriend Fiona (Emma Fryer) join Jay and Shel for dinner, Gal offers him a job which he is encouraged to take by Shel. On a side note, be sure to pay close attention to Fiona when she excuses herself to use the restroom.

The two of them meet their client (Struan Rodger, Stardust) and the deal is literally signed in blood, namely Jay’s and the client’s. The client gives them a list of three people that they are to kill. The occupations of each kill are flashed in bold white letters on a black background across the screen and are as follows: The Priest, The Librarian and The M.P. (Member of Parliament). The Priest seems to recognize Jay before being shot; and the Librarian, a child pornographer, continually thanks him as he methodically smashes his knees, his hands and finally his head in with a hammer. As for the final client, The M.P. the only thing I will say is that the film takes a hard left from being merely about two contract killers and into the world of paganism and ritual sacrifice. The ending of Kill List cannot be described with great ease; it must be seen to be believed.

Kill List starts off slow and it doesn’t pick up much speed as it progresses. It doesn’t have to; it unravels like a cold snake and works its way deep down into your psyche. My only complaint, and it is a minor one, is that the characters accents are so thick that I nearly turned on the sub-titles despite the fact that they were speaking English! Aside from that, Kill List is as far from ordinary as you can hope for. If this is any indication of Ben Wheatley’s world then I think I’m going to like it here. It’s a bloody day in the neighborhood, a bloody day in the neighborhood.


Wilhelm Scream: When Gal fires his shotgun at the masked pursuers just after the hanging.


2 thoughts on “KILL LIST

  1. This flick put me through a loop as well, man. It’s insanely brutal, and that ending… wow! You should check out the rest of his stuff. Sightseers is a very dark comedy, and I actually enjoyed it more than Kill List. A Field in England will destroy your brain, I still don’t know what to make of that movie. I either really hated it or really liked it… I’m not sure which one yet.

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