The horror-comedy sub-genre is a real balancing act for any filmmaker.

When done well – say, in the likes of Evil Dead 2 or Shaun Of The Dead, it is a real treat, a potent cocktail of laughs and frights.

But for every one of those classics there are an awful wealth of misfires – too many to mention in fact.

Thankfully May I Kill U does not slide into the latter category, although it is a few gags short of ‘must-see’ territory.

It is full of ideas though and taps into the feelings of helplessness and anger that stemmed from the London riots back in 2011.mayikullu101011

Stuart Urban’s film kicks off with those riots, before introducing us to bike cop Barry Vartis (played by comic Kevin Bishop) – a straight-laced, by-the-book sort who still lives at home with his dominating mother.

After attending a community event, Vartis is set upon by a gang, getting a nasty whack on the head for his troubles.

With the bump causing a series of nasty headaches, Vartis also has a character shift that sees him become a full-blown vigilante, biking the streets to dispense justice – Travis Bickle on two wheels if you will.

Firstly the policeman takes out the lowlife that caused his injury, before then setting his sights on wiping out the scum of London streets.

Naturally Vartis films all of these killings with his helmet-cam, uploading the footage online and gaining a healthy following in the process.

But with the net closing in on him, and his mother continuing to give him plenty of unwanted grief, something has to give – but what exactly?

Bishop plays a solid lead, just about straddling the two seats of taser-toting killer and sympathetic centrepiece.

A lot of that sympathy comes from the performance of Frances Barber as Vartis’ mother – a chain-smoking, alcohol-swilling, foul-mouthed bully.

There is also solid support from Hayley-Marie Axe as Vartis’ bike partner, as well as Jack Doolan as a relative on Barry’s trail.

While the performances are fine, they are let-down somewhat by a script that does not quite deliver enough laughs to satisfy the comedy quotient, with the darker side equally not going as far as it could have done.

In fact, you get the overwhelming wish that the filmmakers had held their nerve and really gone for it, as there is a fascinating tale tucked away here.

After all, as the likes of Dexter has shown us, there is a pretty healthy appetite out there for charismatic, justice-dealing vigilantes.

There are laughs – a lot of them jet-black it must be said and I did laugh out loud on more than one occasion.

And it is also great to see British cinema trying its hand at something like this.

May I Kill U is certainly not a classic, but it is well worth a watch.

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.