Kill List DVD Review

Perhaps the most exciting British thriller in years, Kill List breaks genre boundaries to create something refreshingly original and truly terrifying.

It begins in familiar ‘kitchen sink’ territory focussing on a young married couple (Neil Maskell and MyAnna Buring) both of whom are ex soldiers and now financially strained. We see the ups and frequent downs of their home life before Jay gets in contact with an old friend, Gal (Michael Smiley) who brings him in for a new ‘job’. From here on in the plot spirals out of control as events take a turn for the worse as Jay’s sanity is brought to the fore.

The mixing of genres is what makes Kill List  so compelling. Starting off by creating realistic characters in a believable setting, the viewer is drawn into their world. The characters are portrayed as more than two dimensional stereotypes and are as likeable as they are monstrous.

Jay at one point screams at his wife and completely ruins her dinner party but the next is having a tender moment with his son. These characters are not perfect and instead have faults like anyone else, making them far more believable and thus later events are all the more spinechilling.

Unlike recent British horrors, Kill List manages to create a truly unsettling atmosphere, jumping from comedy to brutal violence. Most of the humour comes through the excellent pairing of Neil Maskell and Michael Smiley whose frequent banter helps to break up the more disturbing moments. When the Kill List does become darker it really doesn’t hold any punches. Gal and Jay are not the glamorous hit men which frequent the world or Ritchie’s Mockney crime flicks, but instead are sadistic killers. Wheatley clearly understands that horror films should be horrific, and does not hold back. He does however restrain himself from answering all of the active questions raised throughout the running time. Not everything is spelt out simply and thankfully there is little to no dull exposition revealed through the dialogue. Instead the true meaning of the film is laid out through a jigsaw of subtle clues which are only picked up on through multiple rewarding viewings.

The extras on the DVD include interviews with the main cast and crew as well as a brief ‘Making Of’. The ‘Making Of’ alone certainly seems far too short and abstract, mainly consisting of camera tests and music, although when watched in conjunction with the Interviews is far more enlightening.

Kill List is Ben Wheatley’s calling card, a brutal yet beautifully constructed thriller which is more gripping than anything Hollywood has produced in years.

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