If it's crap ... We'll tell you
***3/4 out of **** (Yes, I gave it three fourth's)
Spill Rating: FULL PRICE!
-Brilliant Direction From Ben Wheatley
-Unnerving Atmosphere and Music
-A Truly Original Genre Mash-Up
-Ending Is Somewhat Too Ambiguous
- Bones + Hammer + Pissed Off Hitman = OH MY GOD!
No horror film in the past year had garnered such buzz and praise as Ben Wheatley's Kill List. It has been called the "best horror film in years," "utterly disturbing," and most surprising of all, a "masterpiece." Unlike The Innkeepers, which in no way deserves the massive adulation behind it, Kill List utterly delivers. While the The Innkeepers attempted to craft an extremely familiar ghost story using technical and writing skills to make it seem more original than it really was, Kill List is truly unlike anything we have ever seen.
Jay (Neil Maskell) is a former soldier who is married to Shel (Myanna Buring), a veteran herself, with a young son Sam. They are facing stress over mounting bills, while Jay is haunted by what happened during an incident in Kiev. Jay and his best friend Gal (Michael Smiley) work as hitmen. To keep up with the increasing stack of bills, Jay agrees to do an assignment for a mysterious client. The client gives them a "kill list." As they carry out their assignment, Jay and Gal start to realize that everything is not what it seems.
The beauty of Kill List is that you truly never know where its going. It starts out as a domestic drama, shifts into a hitmen thriller, and finally blends numerous horror genres to create an unforgettable experience. Kill List does much more than combining these many different genres; it creates a coherent and intelligent story out of them. Unlike last year's Cowboys and Aliens, each genre is developed and executed with exquisite care. Each part of the film follows into the next seamlessly without any sense of awkwardness. I would love to talk more about what happens later on in Kill List but this is one of those films that you should go in blind.
I've been hearing the name Ben Wheatley for a couple years now but never got around to seeing his directorial debut, Down Terrace. What is most shocking about Kill List isn't the surprising quality surrounding every facet of filmmaking but the fact that this is only Wheatley's second film. The direction here is masterful and seems like the work of a veteran director executing all of the talent he's built up over the years. Literally every single frame in the film is near perfect: sound, direction, writing, acting, cinematography, pacing, you name it. If there is one thing that stand out the most, its the sound. Whether its a simple drive through the woods or a frantic chase through the sewers, the eerie score keeps you on edge the entire film.
The one and only problem I have with the film is the very, very end. I found it as brilliant as the rest of the Kill List but there is one character reaction that literally throws the entire film into question. The way you can interpret that one reaction changes the entire picture. It is a very small part of a big picture but it ends blowing any theory you can come up with straight out of the water. What annoys me about it is that it could have easily been altered to make thing more decipherable. I'm sure that this will be the subject of much debate and look forward to discussing it in the comments section below.
Besides that very tiny problem, Kill List is what horror fans have been longing for; originality. Ben Wheatley cannot be given enough praise for his work here. This is one of the few times in my life where I have been literally blown away by a film. I went into this almost completely blind and urge you to do the same. Get ready for an experience you won't soon forget.