Kill List is a Brilliant Slow Burn Shocker (31 Days of Horror Part 17)

Sommerleigh Pollonais – Horror Head Writer

DAY 17

Movie: Kill List (2011)

Plot: Nearly a year after a botched job, a hitman takes a new assignment with the promise of a big payoff for three killings. What starts off as an easy task soon unravels, sending the killer into the heart of darkness.

Review: Kill List is a perfect example of the “slow burn”. A film that asks the viewer to be patient, to really invest your time and your interest in what’s taking place, because the payoff is ultimately worth it. These types of movies are not designed for everyone and there are those who tend to think of them as “boring”, but when it’s executed with an intelligent mind and a keen eye, the way director Ben Wheatley handles this movie, it’s a thing of beauty.

If “You’re going to need to come with me” were a person

The story opens with a seemingly ordinary couple. The man is middle aged, his wife is a bit younger and they have a little boy they both adore. They have a couple over for dinner, one of them being the best friend of the man called Jay (Neil Maskell from King Arthur: Legend of the Sword/Peaky Blinders). When an argument between the couple breaks out, we quickly begin to realise Jay has serious issues with this temper.

You see Jay and his best mate Gal (Micheal Smiley from Free Fire/The Lobster) are hitmen and after a botched job in Kiev, (we know something went terribly wrong but we aren’t told what) Jay retired, only to now have Gal seek him out for one last job.

The genius of this thriller is in the way Wheatley keeps his cards close to his chest, by not giving away anything. What seems like another straightforward thriller about a hitman facing his demons turns out to be so much more, and as the story progresses and the events unfold, you’re forced to go down a rabbit hole of depravity, brutality and terror, you’ll never see coming.

…and when Taylor Swift came on stage this guy shouted ‘Hail Swift’ and lit a flare in the mosh pit, and then everything went to hell. I haven’t seen…

The strength of this film lies in the performances of our two lead actors. The dialogue is handled in a very grounded and realistic fashion which makes what’s to come feel all the more shocking. Most movies about hitmen have a very by-the-numbers flow to them. Kill List is anything BUT by the numbers and even finding other films to compare it to is quite difficult. If I had to, I would say it’s The Wickerman meets A Serbian Film.

That’s not to say it’s in anyway generic or unoriginal though. Kill List is a well-made, well-acted film with an ending that leaves you with more questions than answers, but then again, the best movies usually do.

Sommer’s Score: 7 out of 10

For part 16 of 31 Days of Horror and my review of Korean revenge thriller I Saw the Devil you can click here. And for more than 100 horror movie reviews and lists you can check out the RMR horror section here.

2755F829-2EEC-4A68-B6F7-F963F48C9D92 Sommerleigh of the House Pollonais. First of Her Name. Sushi Lover, Queen of Horror Movies, Comic Books and Binge Watching Netflix. Mother of two beautiful black cats named Vader and Kylo. I think eating Popcorn at the movies should be mandatory, PS4 makes the best games ever and I’ll be talking about movies until the zombie apocalypse comes.

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