Austin, TX – What happens when you merge a hitman genre film, with the cultish mystery of a Kubrick’s Eyes Wide Shut? You get Kill List, a UK film from director Ben Wheatley, starring Neil Maskell, MyAnna Buring, Michael smiley, and Emma Fryer.
The film follows an ex-military husband-and-wife team, who, along with their friend Gal, take up contract killing outside of their domestic life. Their quaint suburban existence soon takes a turn for the worse, when bodies of dead animals appear on their doorstep.
Jay (Neil Maskell) and his long time friend/partner in crime Gal (Michael Smiley) are the main duo in the contract killing, as they make their way down the list of strange victims (ie. A Priest), Jay becomes increasingly violent and psychotic with each victim – definitely not for a squeamish audience. Together they eventually decide that they want out of the contract killing business, only to be met with much resistance from their client.
Kill List uses a combination of heavy brooding music reminiscent of Kubrick’s The Shining, and disorienting editing to create a suspenseful film, that seems to know where it is going, and yet none of these ideas are truly explained, or realized. At times it’s hard to believe what the director wants us to believe, with the climax of the film feeling as if it took cues from a videogame.
The balance of hitman crime drama, and ‘Blair Witch’ seems a bit muddled, and unfocused, and the use of giant titles are a bit pretentious. There are tense moments that will keep people on the edge of their seats, whether it be the gore factor or simply the anticipation.
The film surely will find an audience, albeit a not-for-everyone-audience, and though while the film has many ideas unexplained, it will leave viewers asking questions, and wanting more viewings to get all the clues.