Kill List (2011)

I have read a bit about this movie in a few horror publications over the past couple years and it was enough to get my interest up, so I Netflixed it about a month or so ago and I finally sat down and watched it this afternoon. The film is about a hitman named Jay (Niel Maskall) and his friend Gal (Micheal Smiley) who are former soldiers turned contract killers. Jay has been out of his line of work for eight months due to a job that went sour and over a double dinner date with their significant others, Gal brings Jay back into the fold with a contract for three hits. Things do not go entirely as planned.

If you’ve read any synopsis of the plot, that’s about as far as they go, and I feel it’s also as far as I should go, lest ye be spoiled. Though, to be honest, if you are well informed of genre tropes, especially 70’s British horror, you can see where this is going from a mile away. Like my premonition with Sinister, I knew kinda how the film would end from it’s opening image. With both films, I enjoyed the journey through the story, and I didn’t spend the entire film checking my watch waiting for the movie to catch up with me. There are some really memorable moments in this film and the acting is naturalistic. I must admit though that from the opening of the movie the British accents were so dialect heavy that I had to turn on the subtitles to see what they were saying. That annoyed me and it also took away from the tension to see a written description of each piece of music every few minutes. But back to my point: with Sinister, the plot came together in the end and I felt that I wasn’t jipped. With Kill List, it tries to be enigmatic but just feels lazy, like they couldn’t come up with a good idea to justify the proceeding events and didn’t even try.  I also felt that it ripped off from a certain film as well, but I will leave you to decide.  Most likely you have seen the film I’m thinking of and will feel the same way.

I understand that sounds harsh and normally I like this kind of stuff, but Kill List fell flat for me. I didn’t hate it, I actually liked what they were trying to do here, but the script doesn’t hold up compared to the acting. I have seen lots of rave reviews of this film, so don’t let this one stop you from checking it out — you could feel very different from me. It’s an interesting movie and I honestly feel that I want to like it more than it actually deserves, sorta like when you think about your ex-girlfriend or something.

Like I said though, the actors breathe a naturalistic life into the roles. The film feels real. It has a rough edge that I really liked and also how it humanizes these rather despicable people without Tarantino like romance for contract killers. These are tough bastards, murderous even, but they have families and both of them are like brothers.

It’s one that I’ll watch a few years from now and probably like a lot more than I do now. So watch it, and let me know what you think, I’d be interested in what you have to say.



  1. Good review. I still would like to see this one some day but it sounds to me like the dialect will annoy the hell out of me too.

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