Kill List (2011) Horror Movie Review
Written By: JM
Edited By: Grave Reviews Staff
Director: Ben Wheatley
Writers: Ben Wheatley and Amy Jump
Producers: Claire Jones, Andy Starke
Date Released: September 2, 2011
Neil Maskell as Jay
Michael Smiley as Gal
MyAnna Buring as Shel
Emma Fryer as Fiona
Harry Simpson as Sam
Struan Rodger as The Client
Rating = 2/5 Graves
***May contain some spoilers***
Jay and Gal are ex-soldiers who became hired contract killers after leaving the army. After one mission went wrong, Jay suffered psychologically and refuses to take more jobs as a hitman. But Jay needs money because he has a child with his wife. When Gal approaches Jay with a new assignment, he is pressured to take it. As a result, Jay and Gal meet with a mysterious employer who lists three people that he wants to be killed. Upon agreeing to this assignment, the employer cuts Jays’ hand sealing the contract in blood. However, what starts out as a simple assignment becomes a mysterious venture into the realms of darkness when Jay starts seeing that this mission has darker forces behind it.
Most of the violent moments are shocking because the film does not provide a clear-cut explanation for them, making it more unsettling and disturbing. However, these violent moments are minimal because Kill List focuses mainly on creating disturbing atmospheres rather than outright gore, which is effective during some parts but ultimately becomes tedious by the end of the film.
The Grave Review
Kill List (2011) is a film that did not reveal a lot of details including the protagonists themselves. For a good portion of the film, the story felt confusing. Coincidentally, the main character, Jay, seems just as confused as the viewer. When Jay kills his first target, the man thanks him before he dies. These scenes and many like it are quite thrilling and ultimately lead to an unexpected turn out of events for Jay and Gal. These scenes create more questions than answers and give the audience something to think about. Unfortunately, Kill List (2011) is only an interesting movie up until a certain point.
The problem with this film lies in its inability to heighten the interest of the audience. All throughout the film, the mystery that envelopes the entire film is very apparent. Even when Jay seems to have already figured several things out, Director Ben Wheatley is more interested in obscuring some details in the hopes of continuing the mysterious dread. However, the film’s “mystery” is prolonged and when the big reveal occurred, this climactic scene felt frustrating. These ambiguous clues felt more like flaws than crafty decisions. The ending, which reveals the entire truth of Jay’s mission had something to do with unexplained rituals and cults. The big reveal felt more like an uninspired punch line rather than an exciting twist, all we needed was a drum set to make the sound.
For the foregoing reasons, Grave Reviews gives Kill List (2011) two out of five graves.
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