Premise: Jay (Neil Maskell) is a hitman who hasn’t worked in over a year because of a botched job, and his marriage to Shel (Myanna Burning) is failing. When she confronts him about their financial problems (and his laziness), he takes on a life-altering assignment.
Kill List is a smartly objective film that disregards the standard techniques used in most horror films. On the front it plays like a crime thriller, but sneaks into a realm of uncomfortablet. And, in that sense, Ben Wheatley knew exactly how to accomplish his objective by hiding his ambition behind Jay and Shel’s failing marriage.
This marriage is absent from the screen but always driving the action after Jay takes the new complex job. The job moves as a shocking trip through moral standards riding atop that age-old question about the complexities involved in ridding the world or horrible people. This gray area makes Jay realize the world is a sadistic mess. This is the first instance of foreshadowing and suggestion to this films greater, unmentionable idea. This film is a slow burner graffitti’d with violent outbursts and backed with moral reasoning. When the actual horror elements kick in, Kill List becomes something far more than a murderfest. And, at the end of it all, this film offers one of the most shocking and brilliant ending sequences I have ever seen.
This film is shot with artistic certainty. Its longstanding shots are complete and an unsettling score suggests the horror before it arrives And, the last 30 minutes are the best in any horror film I have seen in a long time. There is a certain tunnel sequence (that we all need to be talking about), which resembles the best parts of the Resident Evil video game series (not the Paul W.S. movie bullshit). With that said, Wheatley deserves a larger project and we should all hope that day comes soon.
I am mostly a horror hater, but Kill List offers something from the horror genre that makes me openly acknowledge my respect. It is smarter than most horror films, ironic in a quietly sadistic way. It stands on top of the Netflix streaming options list and should be regarded as a crowning achievement in the modern horror landscape as well. Do yourself a favor, and watch this as soon as possible.