DIR: Ben Wheatley • WRI: Ben Wheatley, Amy Jump • PRO: Claire Jones, Andrew Starke • DOP: Laurie Rose • ED Robin Hill • DES: David Butterworth • CAST: Neil Maskell, MyAnna Buring, Harry Simpson, Michael Smiley
Avoid everything you can about this movie before going on. Avoid the trailers. Avoid the posters. Avoid all of the reviews, including this one. The less you know about this movie, the better the experience will be for you. Still here…? The following review will be light on spoilers, but don’t say we didn’t warn you…
Kill List starts off slowly enough, with unhappy couple Jay (Neil Maskell) and Shel (MyAnna Buring) arguing over money. Jay has been out of work for eight months due a possibly made-up back injury, and Shel is nagging him back into employment. Information is drip fed through their conversations; they were both in the army, Jay has a seriously murky past, and his present consists of being a hitman-for-hire along with his best mate Gal (Michael Smiley). It’s Gal who presents Jay with the ‘one last job’ offer; a list of three people (The Priest, The Librarian, The MP) who need killing, no questions asked.
From here on in, things take a turn for the worst, but saying how would give the game away. Without talking plot points, as much as the first half of the movie is heavily influenced by Mike Leigh and Ken Loach, the second half is equally influenced by David Lynch and Robin Hardy. The explicit scenes of violence will turn your stomach, but they are nothing compared to some of the hinted at horrors that the duo encounter on their journey down the list.
Some may be put off by the initial neck-cracking change in tone from drama to horror, and most of the plot is left to be put together again by the viewer after the movie is over rather than all spelled out for you on screen. But stick with it, and you will be rewarded with one of the most surprisingly brilliant movies of 2011.
Rated 18 (see IFCO website for details)
Kill List is released on 2nd September 2011