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Kill List
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Kill List More at IMDbPro »

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1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

Didn't know what to expect and left me blown away

Author: Mega Mutasa
8 January 2015

Gritty and suspenseful film with shocking ending that will leave you rather shaken and baffled. Taking it's time to build up suspense and tension; allowing the audience into it gently then finishing of with a surprising ending that you don't anticipate.The sound for this film was so good that it alone left me scared and terrified.

I watched this not knowing it was a horror as I normally can't stomach them. However this had me hooked right from the beginning and I couldn't stop watching. Although quite slow starting it builds up and wants it gets going it gets going. Very dark film that is not only terrifying but coated with good humor

This is a film that stays on your mind for a while. Really well made film.

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1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

They are bad people. They should suffer.

Author: Ben Larson from Leesburg, FL
22 October 2014

Two Iraq War veterans turn into dysfunctional hit-men in a blend of domestic soap, urban thriller, and Wicker Man–like horror.

The domestic drama is violent in the way that Jay (Neil Maskell) has not worked in eight months, and his wife (MyAnna Buring) is certainly getting tired of it. Their child is subjected to a constant barrage of screaming. Amid the shouting, there is a couple of things that don't fit, and give a clue that there is more to the film than we would expect.

When Jay teams up with Gal (Michael Smiley) to do some dirty work, Shel (Buring) seems to be all forgiving. So this switches to a crime drama? Not exactly. It's more violent than one would expect. A simple hit turns into a bloody mess, and, again, strange clues abound. Jay is deteriorating rapidly. The horror at the end may sicken many. For many, it will be unexpected, but I am told that is a feature of Ben Wheatley's films. The clues are there throughout the film.

It is true horror.

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1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

*whispers* --thank You-- *whispers*

Author: anarchtheist from Pittsburgh
22 August 2014

A lot of people don't like ambiguity in films, they want to be told what to think. For me, especially when I watch a psychological thriller or horror I love to see some unanswered questions at the end. This definitely gives you that, perhaps a bit too much but I still enjoyed the hell out of this movie.

Quality film builds tension from the rising action to the climax and this movie delivers there, hands down. Little oddities are dropped here and there that continued to amplify my piqued interest. The film has a lot of the same beats as "A Serbian Film" and to a lesser extent even a bit of the same old Ultraviolence.

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1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

First it's domestic angst, then it's last gig for tired assassins, then it's the ending from left field.

Author: suite92 from SoCal, USA
28 September 2013

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Three parts

Suburban domestic discord. He's out of work, they are running out of money.

Shel and the son want Jay to go to work again.

Gal stops by with Fiona (an HR professional) to offer a job. Jay cringes from the idea, but the need for money changes things. There is a lot of tension at the dinner party.

The job has a 'Kill List' of three, all in the UK, so locally.

Gal and Jay talk about Kiev (a botched job, 8 months previous, reason why Jay is not working) but are not very clear about it.

Fiona is not exactly what she claims to be. At least that's what is indicated by her drawing a symbol in the cardboard backing of the bathroom's mirror.

The new job.

Gal and Jay meet the new client. Jay gets his hand cut in an blood ceremony to seal the deal.

First target is a priest. They break into his church, wait for his session to be complete, kill him in his offices. They bag the body, then incinerate it.

Jay talks to Shel video over Internet. Shel is ex-Swedish military; she seems to know what Jay does. Jay confirms the first part was done; Shel asks whether it was clean. Shel notes that Fiona stopped by and left a present for Gal.

Second target is the Librarian, who seems to make snuff films or something as bad. The Librarian asks Jay (while Gal is elsewhere) if Gal knows who Jay is. He also thanks Jay.

Jay goes postal on the Librarian, and Gal tells Jay, 'you're cleaning that up.' At this point, I hope the film will resolve that exchange.

Jay kills two more people; at least part of that was in the second assignment. They find a good sized pile of cash in the process. There is a lot of cleanup associated with it. Then there was the bonfire for the bodies.

Third target is delayed. Jay goes home, Gal coming with him. Jay sees a shrink, Gal tells him to just drop the last part of the job. Shel suggests they find alternates to finish the job. Gal likes this as well, but the Client says no on all counts.

Third target is an MP, which bothers Gal less than the priest. Gal and Jay fight in the early tension as they start the job. Gal's still interested in Fiona, but does not seem to pursue her directly.

Seventy-one minutes in, twenty-four minutes to go.

They camp in the woods near the MP's estate. The MP is supposedly alone in this huge house.

They approach at night, and spy a gathering of people with torches (fire, not electric).

Everyone is in a decorated white robe, each with a straw mask.

A woman hangs herself; from the great lei she was wearing, she was a designated sacrifice. Jay kills one of the 'officials,' a guy in a white suit, then shoots several more.

Gal and Jay attempt escape via a tunnel. The people of the gathering come at them, front and back. Gal and Jay have plenty of ammunition, and the people of the gathering seem not to have guns. They do kill Gal with knives, though, when he gets separated from Jay.

Jay survives, but is disturbed by Gal's passing, and by not knowing what the motives of the Client are.

The group from the MPs country estate follow Jay to the cottage where he meets Shel.

Jay tries to take them on; Shel shoots a few of them as they invade the cottage.

Jay is forced into a knife fight with some anonymous person who looks to be a hunchback; they are both in the stupid straw masks.

The masks come off. Jay's killed his son (the hunch in the hunchback) and horrified Shel (the rest of the hunchback). The Client and Fiona are there.


Cinematography: 7/10 Starts out fine. Good lighting, framing, focus, color. The last segment is dark to the point where nothing is recognizable in many frames.

Sound: 6/10 Runs a bit low during the conversations. The would be extra annoying if not for the subtitles on Netflix.

Acting: 8/10 Good.

Screenplay: 4/10 Part one, OK. Part two, OK. That is, made sense, motivation seems on pace, quite willing to continue for the resolution. Part three, what happened here? What does this have to do with the rest of the film? First, there was the clip of Fiona drawing the symbol on back of the mirror. Second, the 'sign in blood' requirement when starting business with the Client. Frankly, those seem rather tenuous to hold the film together.

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1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

A genre-bending contemporary British classic

Author: Jafar Iqbal from United Kingdom
17 September 2013

Eight months after a botched job, hit-man Jay (Neil Maskell) accepts a new assignment. On the surface, it is a simple one – three killings, with the promise of a massive payoff at the end. Teamed with best friend and old army buddy Gal (Michael Smiley), Jay's seemingly easy task spirals out of control.

You'd be forgiven for feeling misled by the title of the film at the start – for the first twenty minutes, we're essentially watching a very credible kitchen-sink drama, the sort you'd expect from the Loaches and Leigh's of this world. This then evolves into a taut thriller, before descending into what can only be described as a horror. The film shifts between these genres seamlessly, with the assured writing and direction of a man who understands genre well enough to subvert it. By the end of the film, I was left scratching my head as to what I'd just seen. Just when you think you know where the film might be heading, you are swept off your feet as the film changes directions drastically. The only constant is probably the frighteningly haunting background score. It never allows the sense of dread to leave you, to its benefit.

What I really love about the movie as a whole is that director Ben Wheatley's influences seem to come from British cinema of the past, and not anything being done across the pond. You could easily make comparisons to 'Dead Man's Shoes' and 'The Wicker Man', while the unabashed and brutal (BRUTAL) violence reminded me of early Guy Ritchie.

The leads are incredible, by the way. I'd never seen Neil Maskell before (he's in Channel 4's 'Utopia' apparently), so he was a revelation for me here. Jay is a emotionally damaged wreck of a man, scary when he is trying to suppress his rage and endearing when he plays with his son. Maskell handles it all brilliantly well. Smiley is an excellent right hand man – somehow, he manages to be a moral force, as much as their job will allow. I think it's the supporting cast who probably let the film down. Fair enough, there aren't too many other actors in the film, but they just didn't cut the mustard for me.

However, what you're watching this movie for is the excellent, unpredictable story, and Neil Maskell's performance at the front. This is a must-see movie and Ben Wheatley is a director to pay attention to. He has become a very prominent name in British cinema over the last few years. 'Down Terrace' was the shoestring-budget debut that put him on the scene, but 'Kill List' is the breakthrough critical success. And it's absolutely bloody brilliant.

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2 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

Anti-noir trip into the Heart of Darkness

Author: NotTheOne000 from Edinburgh, Scotland
8 June 2016

*** Contains spoilers *** If Tarantino was possessed by Ken Loach on the set of a movie, the result would probably not be too dissimilar to Kill List. Here we have two normal guys edging into mid-life, struggling with the details of the day-to-day; relationship problems, work-related stress, the difficulty of maintaining friendships and the burden of broken Jacuzzis. Only they're professional killers.

Realism is the cornerstone of this film. The tension we feel at the dinner party scene is of a type many of us will have experienced for real. The love Jay shows his son and the loneliness Gal feels as a singleton resonate with us. The brutality of the violence, when it arrives, is so powerful that it's almost impossible to watch. The hammer scene ranks alongside the attack on Officer Murphy at the start of Robocop in terms of unwatchability. As our protagonists start to realise they are losing touch with what counts as normal, so we, the viewers, feel the well-designed Ikea fixings of our carefully constructed world being slowly unscrewed. There is no noir stylising here and no escape from the simple fact that the real world can be just as bleak as any torture-porn horror film.

What makes this film so good is how it normalises Jay and Gal's lifestyle choice. We live in an era where people are allowed to choose whatever they want to be, and where moral judgement of personal decisions is near-unacceptable. Self-definition is the ultimate human right. Kill List is a masterful subversion this neoliberal idealisation of human behaviour. At no point does the film question the validity of their careers. Jay's wife encourages him to go back to work to earn money just as if he was an out-of-work builder. There is no moral price to be paid for their killings, there is no sense that the two protagonists are getting their comeuppance. Jay and Gal are violent, yes, but they are not archetypal bad guys - their endings are not a judgement made upon them by fate, karma or God. On a personal level, Jay's loss of control happens not because he is poisoned by his work, but because he is liberated by it and is allowed to act out his true nature. "I don't know where it comes from." Jay tells Gal, and that is the limit of his introspection. He is not a tortured man and he is not corrupted by evil or nihilism. He just "is".

Jay is a caricature of modern man. He does not question himself and acts only to satisfy his basic needs and the basic needs of his family. His morality is that of the Tabloid vigilante, being purely unthinking and instinctive and motivated by an overwhelming desire to punish those who have broken his self-defined moral code. He's the personification of Adam Smith's Invisible Hand, free from any external restriction and free from the shackles of the State and of Religion. He is Howard Roark's evil twin, doing nothing more than what comes naturally to him and what he is best at.

Only this kind of freedom isn't real freedom at all. As one of the characters explains, Jay is just a cog. His freedom counts for nothing - in fact, his freedom traps him on his inevitable path. Guided only by his instinctive sense of self, he is blind to, and powerless against, the manipulation of society's overlords, a millionaire Tory MP and his black magic cadre. At the film's denouement he is left utterly mindless, unable to think or feel anything, bewitched and pacified by the congratulatory applause of his social betters. So much for freedom.

Several critics have said they can't quite put their finger on why the film is so disturbing. I believe the film is disturbing because it shows us just how powerless we really are. Horror has been described as the purest form of film storytelling, this is a perfect example.

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2 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

Mission unaccomplished.

Author: punishmentpark from Netherlands
1 February 2016

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Pretty boring, nor does it make a lick of sense. Neil Maskell's character is a bore. A so-called professional who can't act professional. It's supposed to be due to his earlier war experiences, but then: dón't hire the guy! His colleague is a funny guy. But they regularly go down on the floor and wrestle a little. Then, there's his wife, who in the end laughs after she (and their son) is fatally injured by her husband. All the victims are very thankful for being killed, by the way.

The big man behind all of it, is a business man (actually, a couple of them) who likes to dress up like a Pagan and do some sort of rituals in the woods and talks about some sort of reform. Are there evil men being murdered by the leading duo? Is theirs a cleaning operation? We never get to know about the vicar, but it would seem that way. Throw in some gore performed on a pervert for good measure. Done.

I don't mind confusing films, at all, but out of that confusion, must come, at some point, a feeling of contentment with what I've just witnessed - for any reason, really. 'Kill list' offered me none. It's just a lot of nonsense, some okay acting and a little gore.

2 out of 10.

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3 out of 6 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 6 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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3 out of 6 people found the following review useful:

Worst ending EVER! Low budget=No idea ending!! (GET A GRIP)

Author: bigjrowe from United Kingdom
25 March 2013

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

What was this all about? Acting good! Emotions good! First hour OK! Then... I watched with open mind thinking that after the huge mixture of reviews it would stir some opinion in me! It did not! (Anyone Rating this above 3 OMG..What where you thinking) Was eagerly awaiting the climax after a slow but interesting first hour..Which i rated 6/5! Then the last 20mins happened!! SPOILER ALERT!! What a pile of c==p.. Please do not judge British movies on this! I wanted it to be a success and maybe with a bit Hollywood sprinkle it may have been average!! But if i had a movie Kill List never to be viewed by intelligent life forms...This would be Top 10!

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