If this was Simplistic Reviews, the place for THREE word reviews of movies and tv…I’d definitely want to add AS HELL to the end of WEIRD. As I’ve stated before, I’m not a huge fan of horror. Its like vegetables to me. It has its place in my movie diet, but I’m not running out to enjoy them. So, this month I’ve been trying to watch and review horror films that throw the genre somewhat on its ear. Atypical horror films that stray away from the more usual fair. Imagine my pleasant surprise when I stumbled upon Kill List. How could a movie about a hired assassin be categorized by IMDb as a horror film? I was anxious to find out.
Now, I’m not one of these ADHD filmgoers that hate setup and backstory. I appreciate a film that fills out the characters and strongly builds the story. However, one of the things that threw me with Kill List is that the setup in the beginning is VERY long. So much so, I was wondering if I had put on the wrong film. It takes maybe fifteen minutes before you have any indication that something is rotten in Denmark. No clues, no hints, no nothing. An argument can be made that because there is so much innocuous setup, the hints and clues they drop for the ominous story to come catch you more off guard. Though, I think there might have been a more efficient way to give us this backstory and get us into the WEIRD story that follows faster. A story I don’t want to ruin because when it does get going, Kill List is a very interesting watch. All you really need to know is that two assassins, one with a mysterious past, take on a rather peculiar assignment that leads them into a very strange world. A world where agreements are made with blood and victims say “thank you” before their demise.
Kill List comes from relative newcomer Ben Wheatley. I can only presume his goal for this film was to relay unease. And with that he succeeds. From the first frame you are made to feel uncomfortable. From the shrieking score, to the jarring editing. Kill List is cut very much like a found footage film, wherein it’ll constantly jump moments later in a scene. There are also moments of such stark, graphic violence, you’ll be hard pressed not to look away.
You may not know the performers in Kill List but their performances are still top notch. Neil Maskell was well deserving of his accolades for playing Jay. He has to convey so many different things in this film and he does so perfectly. The relationship between him and his best friend Gal, played by Michael Smiley, comes off so earnest and real to me. Friends that can try and kill each other one second and then share a laugh and a beer the next. They are the foundation of this film and the main thing that keeps Kill List afloat.
So, does Kill List qualify as a horror film? Well, the definition of a horror film is an unsettling movie that strives to elicit the emotions of fear, disgust and horror from viewers. Kill List surely does those things. Just in a WEIRD way. Watch it…don’t let the cat out(Trust Me)…say thank you…then tell me I’m wrong.