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Kill List
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Reviews & Ratings for
Kill List More at IMDbPro »

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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

more interested in being mysterious and enigmatic and doesn't care about the audience.

Author: nick king from United Kingdom
6 May 2015

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Kill List, director Ben Wheatley's third film, is a grim thriller that walks a line from domestic drama through gangster violence to horror film. The initial plot has a mysterious stranger hire hit men Jay and Gal to murder some unnamed men; this proves to be a pretext for a deeper story that emerges slowly and drops clues and hints about itself right to the end but explains nothing and lacks internal coherence, making Kill List seem self-conscious and artificial. The film is more organic in the violent, menacing atmosphere generated as Jay and Gal go about their work. Watching this atmosphere seep into Jay and release the savagery and violence within him is Kill List's most powerful feature and sits on top of plot deficiencies and overly schematic direction to produce an overambitious film with potential but no fulfilment.

Kill List is hard work. It's hard to get into a film that you feel is more interested in its own construction than in keeping the audience with it yet there is more to this film than its self-obsession. The strong acting of the lead characters, the sense of journey, travelling through a British landscape towards an immense darkness, the use of various genres and the feeling that there is a statement about modern Britain in here somewhere all add depth and give us something to think about. There is also interest in the giving way of the initial plot to the deeper story which, as the film progresses, looks more and more like a conspiracy aimed at one character in particular.

A film that doesn't provide a reason to suspend disbelief loses much of its impact. In the end it's hard to believe in Kill List because it seems too contrived, less concerned with telling a story than with appearing deep and mysterious.

The three lead actors are Neil Maskell, MyAnna Buring and Michael Smiley. Neil Maskell has been in British film and television since the early 90s playing various roles in gangster and hooligan films as well as drama series including Casualty and The Bill. It would have been easy to play Jay as just a thug but Maskell manages to get across the feeling of someone slowly sinking as the darkness around him connects with the darkness within him. MyAnna Buring is great as Jay's tough wife, Shel, she plays an ambiguous role in a straightforward way and is really believable whether kicking her man up the backside to get his act together or toting a gun at the end. She has been in British horrors before – The Descent 1 and 2 and The Devil's Playground – and always comes across as a natural screen actor. Michael Smiley started as a stand-up comedian but has appeared in many TV and film roles since 2000 in dramas as much as comedy. His performance in Kill List is strong and natural, he's a real down to earth presence in the film, increasingly disgusted by Jay's violence yet their relationship is believable at all times and is one of the things that makes Kill List watchable.

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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

Good acting, awful story

Author: David Howard from United Kingdom
4 December 2014

Can I have my two hours back please?

woefully incongruous. Awkward and clunky. Believable actors. Terrible story, direction and conception. So bad it made me write my first review. Doesn't know if its a crime story or a horror.

Overall a film that would be a fail for a high school student. Despite the almost comical horror/gore scenes that seem to have been added for no reason.

My wife says the next line may be a spoiler - but personally I think that you would have to be an idiot not to see it coming -

A poor mans - and directors.... - Wickerman.

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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

Paid for reviews suck

Author: miles670 from UK
16 November 2014

I watched this because thee were decent reviews of it flying around the net and here on IMDb too. It was utterly stupid, it wasn't at all scary and the plot didn't even try to make sense. I can only presume that whoever made this has a lot of money to throw around because I guarantee nobody would buy after seeing the script. Not even an attempt at explaining anything, not even a coherent storyline tbh and it isn't that i don't get complex story lines I usually do but this was just one existent, as though somebody filmed a few scenes of torture then decided to make a movie out of it. A lot of the reviews say this is for some reason 'unsettling', there's one scene where a guy gets his knee beaten in with a hammer, that's the only cringeworthy part. Seriously this movie made no sense, at all.

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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

an unfulfilled promise

Author: CountZero313 from Japan
30 December 2013

Jay (Neil Maskell) is a hit man taking extended leave after a job went badly wrong in Kiev. Partner Gal (Michael Smiley) persuades him to get back in the saddle, but the return to work is just the beginning of Jay's nightmare.

Kill List sets up wonderful tension between a family struggling to stay together, and generic 'hitman on one last job' narrative. Maskell is excellent as the borderline unhinged Jay, and Smiley complements this in counterpoint as the wry, sloth-like Gal. MyAnna Buring as wife-cum-handler Shel is intense in her fearless comforting and hazing of Jay. Their love and problems never seem less than authentic and pressing.

The plot, involving the two hit men working their way through a Kill List supplied by amoral upper class employers, fizzes along nicely, the two men's increasing reluctance punctuated by moments of explosive violence. The phrase 'thank you' is repeated to chilling effect, and the cutting is concise and economical, most effectively when Jay and Gal come to blows, only to be immediately reconciled in the next cut. Violence, for these men, is as a mild disagreement to the rest of us. The whole set up is deliciously handled and presses the question "Where on earth is this all leading to?"

Unfortunately, the filmmakers are as befuddled by that question as the audience, and opt for obscurity, channeling, as many have mentioned, 'The Whicker Man.' It is a stunning failure of imagination after such masterly set up. I usually admire brave choices even if they do not quite come off, but this choice seems less brave than ill-considered.

In short, lots to admire, but one huge failure unfortunately lets the whole show down.

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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

A hit man who hasn't worked for many months is visited by his former partner and decides to take on a job with him.

Author: mariaioslo
20 October 2013

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Having just finished watching this movie I found it similar to the movie A Serbian Film, although themes are different and A Serbian Movie contains a lot more graphic sexual violence. In both movies the main character is returning to their line of work, in ASF Milos returns to work as a pornographic actor, quickly realizing that he is lured into making snuff film containing necrophilia and pedophilia. In Kill List, Jay returns to work as a hit man, but after a few killings it all turns very sinister and the occult theme is finally revealed to both him and the viewer. You could say the occult theme was already foreshadowed by his partner's new girlfriends carving of a strange symbol behind the mirror in the bathroom of the protagonists house the beginning of the movie, but neither the viewer nor the protagonist knows the significance of this just yet.

In both movies the protagonist returns to a very dark line of work to earn money and in both films the ending shocks the viewer in revealing that the final acts they do to masked people turns out to be acts committed towards their spouse and their kid. ASF ends with Milos and his wife committing suicide together with their son after Milos have sodomized him and his brother has raped his wife. Kill List ends with Jay realizing he has just killed his wife and son, who were masked by the cult that chased him down and made him fight the masked person.

Both endings are very eerily and upsetting, but ASF far surpassed Kill List in quality, execution of story and the overall feel of the movie. I gave Kill List 5 stars, but I do recommend fans of this genre of movies to watch it. It is still very interesting and worth watching for those who seek out movies of this kind.

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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

It was okay but...

Author: Robert Giordano from Fort Lauderdale, Florida
11 October 2013

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I liked the film BUT I think this COULD have been a great film if it wasn't for the following:

- I found the first half of the film fairly boring.

- The cameraman couldn't decide what to focus on, especially when people were talking. I'm a cameraman and it was annoying. Was the focus puller sleeping?

- The main character mumbled a lot and I couldn't figure out what he was saying half the time. I'm not talking about the British slang, although it did play a part. If I had been the director, I would have said, "Dude! stop mumbling!! The slang is gonna be hard enough for people to understand!" Ever see the films Layer Cake or Trainspotting? Lots of slang there but every word is intelligible.

- The HUGE titles between acts were completely unnecessary. Is that a British thing?

- There were too many obscure plot points weren't developed or were left unanswered. There WAS a payoff at the end... sort of. Without going into detail, it just left too many questions unanswered. I certainly don't mind cerebral films where you have to watch it a few times to figure it out and then you go, "Ahhh, I see it all now!" but this film makes you work a little too hard. I feel like you need to read the book (if there is one) in order to fill in the details and gaps that seem to be missing in the film.

Maybe I'll watch it again, but the first half really needs better pacing, or editing, or something.

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2 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

Apparently only a shocking film if you are from the UK

Author: Suave785 from United States
24 March 2014

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I love foreign cinema because it gives me a chance to view film through the eyes of the world. I like shocking, disturbing and individualistic pieces of film. I want a film with a story line that is either going to make you think or wow you. If I wanted special effects and CGI there is plenty of that in today's movie theaters. So I found this movie on a few lists that mention disturbing yet must watch cinema. To the average moviegoer those two words don't fall together in any sentence. I must warn you that I am pretty sure this movie was nominated for zero Academy Awards and was not funded by Disney. I can tell you though that if you want to save 90 minutes of your life by all means please avoid this movie. There just seems to be no direction or misdirection. I always see films being labeled as artistic and cinematic masterpieces that help advance culture. What was there to gain in making this movie? The over the top violence started leading the audience down a path of vigilante delivered justice. Then the movie does a complete 180 and you get lost. Some critics say that there is a motive and a storyline that is purely revealed at the end of the movie. I can tell you that the ending of the movie looked like someone was a big fan of "The Wicker Man" and "Memento" and tried to fit their two basic ideas into one movie. The film is basically all over the place and looks like it could be three films in one. If you take the film and stop watching about every 30 minutes you have three great short films with cliffhanger endings. Other than that I am going to send a letter to the powers that be and ask for 90 minutes of my life back. By the way I am not insulting those that reviewed this film who are from the UK. I was just surprised with the "shock" label dealing with the violence and gore. I suggest they try "Hobo with a Shotgun". It is a favorite of mine.

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2 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

Could not get into it at all

Author: atinder from United Kingdom
22 March 2014

Kill List (2011) last night for first time, I just could not get into the movie at all, the leads actor just got annoying.

I not really big fan of Hit man movies, there kind of bore me, then, I so bored at 45 min mark, not horror actually happen.

There okay deaths but nothing to gory, the normal hit man stuff and they after hour of that, he finally get to some horror part of the movie.

Some scenes felt they drag on far long!

Which I thought decent, I could not care less at the point of the movie.

4 out of 10,

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3 out of 5 people found the following review useful:

It did to me what I think a good horror film should.

Author: ianmitchell-45214 from Swansea
7 April 2015

Horror films are usually my favourite genre of film. I love horror films because if done well, they can challenge your mind and explore subjects of life we often don't want to explore. That said, a lot of horror films are rubbish and for some reason, in the last 15-20 years horror a lot of horror films just copy silly clichés. It's as if the directors and writers who are making these horror films don't really care. Kill List has done what not very many horror films do nowadays. Instead of darting the film with scary monsters and cheap scares all the time the storyline itself builds and builds into a realisation of pure horror. Without giving anything away, other films that managed this particular type of horror that stays with you after the film has finished would be Eden Lake, Don't Look Now and Wicker Man.

I've seen the most common complaints about this film being two different stories and I shake my head at you people. What a daft complaint to have. It's as if you can't comprehend a film if it strays outside the norm or if a writer thinks outside the box.

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3 out of 5 people found the following review useful:

Movie Review - KILL LIST (2011)

Author: Brandon Stephens from United States/ Bloomington, IN
24 February 2015

Just finished watching this film, I honestly can't believe it's taken me this long to watch this movie. This film starts out like a typical hit-man movie & you have no idea it breaks out into a full on FROM DUSK TILL DAWN approach minus the Vampires, UNLESS you really are paying close attention to the film.

The basis synopsis of this film starts out with 2 best mates who worked in KIEV together as hit men, suddenly they come across a job that gets botched so for 8 months. Jay (played with unbridled intensity by Neil Maskell) has problems getting back into the "game" eventually after being coerced by family & best mate Gal (Played by Michael Smiley) They acquire a KILL LIST from their benefactors who have hired them to "clean" certain people who are bad.

They kills start out clean, fast, & smooth. No problems for either, then for no reason at all, Jay slowly starts to snap & crank out the violence Grindhouse Style. There is one scene in particular that has struck a nerve with many of the viewers due to its realism & brutality. The thing about this movie is it doesn't stay on one level, it allows you to get comfortable after every shock so you stay unhinged throughout the film, right up until the shocking finale which takes the hit-man genre for a complete mental mind blow!

Aside from the acting this film has a solid storyline that's not only original, but as one reviewer stated 'A Cult Classic in the making'. If you are a fan of Ultra Violence & Unadulterated Psychological Horror, check this movie'll stay with you.

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