Kill List is an intriguing little film mashed together with iconic horror elements from other films boasting an ending that you will surely see coming a mile away. Still...it is an ambitious entry into the hitman meets sadistic cult subgenre that won't leave "your bones rattling"...as the poster suggests.
The film is directed by Ben Wheatley from a script written by himself and Amy Jump. Wheatley does a fine job weaving the tension at an almost paranoid pace utilizing the subtle ominous score during scenes of character development. You almost feel as if something bad is going to happen right from the opening scene. While the film never fully achieves the malevolence set up by the moody direction, it certainly takes you to some disturbing places with subject matter and imagery seemingly jacked from other films.
The acting is pretty solid all around. Though you might not really recall the actual actors from anything you've ever seen, they bring a familiarity to their roles that leave a lasting impression. MyAnna Buring, in particular, had us wanting more of her. You may actually remember MyAnna from The Descent films, as well as Doomsday and Red Mist. She has a really striking presence that commands attention in every scene she's in. Might be her hotness.
The premise feels like something someone might've made up after a weekend marathon of 8MM, In Bruges, A Serbian Film, The Wicker Man, various zombie-chasing-people-in-the-sewer films and Rosemary's Baby for good measure. It all begins during an argument about money (doesn't it always?) between Jay (Michael Smiley) and Shel (Buring) while their son, Sam (Harry Simpson) is playing in the other room. Clearly the couple's friction is spurred on by economic reasons so, it looks like a good time to get back into the hitman business with Jay's old hitman buddy, Gal (Neil Maskell). As mentioned earlier, the acting is all on point...so, the characters, though a bit tedious sometimes, come off believable.
Gal and Jay meet with their client to obtain the "kill list" in which to complete their assignment in order to get the big payoff. The only catch is that they encounter some sadistic low-lifes and take matters into their own hands until ultimately getting in way over their heads. Some key plot reveals are being left out so as not to spoil the film for our beloved readers. However, as mentioned before...there's really nothing new here.
Laurie Rose does a fine job as cinematographer, making the film look more expensive than it really is. Her lazy out of focus shots give Kill List a kind of dreamy look that helps build that ethereal moodiness to the overall story.
The gore FX is actually really well done. There's no real trace of CGI throughout the film and the actual bloodshed is pretty brutal and unflinching.
Kill List is not a bad film. It's just super predictable and never goes anywhere new. It is a film that yearns for your love, only to settle for most of your attention for about 95 minutes...because you will surely feel like you've seen this film before...like a dozen times. It's on VOD right now if you want to check it out. Or maybe just watch a Clippers game. They're pretty exciting this year.
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