Arriving with a phenomenal amount of buzz, Kill List was one of the most talked about movies at this year’s Frightfest – selling out no less.

But is it worth the near hysterical praise thrown its way by some quarters?

Well, yes and no – as while there is no doubting writer/director Ben Wheatley has served up something very, very different, that is not to say it all works. 

Kill List follows the antics of hitmen pair Jay and Gal (played impressively by Neil Maskell and Michael Smiley respectively).

The bulk of the action centres around Jay, a former Iraq war veteran who is struggling on the financial side.

Urged on by his wife (MyAnna Buring) to find some ‘work’, Jay joins forces once more with Gal to take on a series of hits for a shady group that they meet in a hotel.

But while carrying out the killings they realise something very sinister may be afoot, and all is very much not what it first appeared.

It is pretty difficult to try and ‘genre-lise’ Kill List as the truth is it probably straddles a whole host.

To start with we get kitchen-sink drama, added with dollops of comedy and pathos – before a truly insane balls-out climax.

The finale is truly unsettling and expertly handled by all concerned, but whether it makes sense is another matter, as I am still trying to get my head around it.

This is also definitely not a movie for the squeamish, with some bonecrunching and ultra-realistic violence on show.

The cast are all on fine form (Maskell especially who flits from doting dad to unhinged with ease), although the sound system at the Frightfest screening did leave me struggling to hear some of the dialogue (or perhaps it was just me).

Special mention must also go to the soundtrack, which Wheatley uses to excellent effect to wring plenty of tension out of what appears total normalcy.

Kill List is certainly not a five star movie, but it certainly is a different take on a well-worn genre, and for that all concerned should be congratulated.

About The Author

Simon Fitzjohn

Simon is a journalism tutor in London, who also just happens to be a movie fanatic, with a craving for the darker side of cinema. He has written two books, one on the horror films of director Bob Clark (2014) and the other on the history of the character Norman Bates (2015). His third book, on the work of British exploitation director Pete Walker, is due in 2017.