Kill List (2011)
I have decided that during the Ben Wheatley season of films that I am watching, to be aware of very little of their plots before viewing. When turning to Kill List (2011) the formula is working well for me. Having seen a trailer and little else, my expectations were mixed and dark, which is perfect for this thriller that sees two contract killers being called up to take on a new list of victims
The director himself talks of the film being broken up into three smaller films, which maybe so, or just the structure of the film as it unfolds. Either way the action becomes darker and darker. We first meet family man and ex soldier Jay (Neil Maskell) and his wife Shel (MyAnna Buring) who are constantly at each others throats. The money from the last contract is starting to dry up and the thought of another is hard to swallow. When his old friend Gal (Michael Smiley) and his partner Fiona (Emma Fryer) arrive for dinner tensions start to rise. We constantly see period of calm talk before outburst of bloody violence that escalates throughout. Much like that of the standard Tarantino film, yet there is more at stake in this world of Wheatley’s.
Another contract is on the cards for both Neil and Gal who go off to meet their boss for orders. Its all slick and professional at times. The first signs of something else are soon on the surface, becoming ritualistic, there’s more to these killings than meet the eye. The first kill is methodical, thought out and carried out with a professional distance. It’s just a job, that happens to take in the killing of others for money. Neil’s starts to unwind mentally when they get to the second victim, whilst his wife and partner in crime sees this, unable to stop the madness consume him.
Its the last kill that is the most fascinating and ritualistic, that of an M.P. out in the country, moving into The Wicker Man (1973) territory, nicely blended with that of John Travolta and Samuel L. Jackson from Pulp Fiction (1994) as they close in on what becomes the most brutal of all the killings. As what came before seems to be a test as the violence increases, emotions and characters tested. Nothing is left to chance as a cult group bring the two men to their knees.
As the director mentioned before, he wanted to stay fresh and try something new in his work. There is a clear desire to see violence at the films, it’s the mind-play that is at the forefront of it all. I keep thinking back to Sightseers which feels much more casual in how it goes about the plot, they just happen. Whilst here there is more thought behind the killings, the psychological effects on the killer, and the world they are taken into.
- John’s Horror Corner: Kill List (moviesfilmsandflix.com)
- Kill List (thenewfleshfilm.wordpress.com)
- Ben Wheatley dares to be different with the release of A Field in England (metro.co.uk)
- A Field in England Review (whatnotfilms.wordpress.com)
- Review: A Field in England is a creepy masterpiece (thedailyshift.com)
- Kill List – Spotlight on Ben Wheatley (1) (raspberrymedia.wordpress.com)
- Ben Wheatley- Director of Down Terrace, Kill List and Sightseers (rebelliousfilm.wordpress.com)
- 31 Days of Horror: Day 11- Kill List (2011) (thepeoplesmovies.com)