Generally favorable reviews - based on 22 Critics What's this?

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Generally favorable reviews- based on 34 Ratings

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  • Summary: Eight months after a botched job in Kiev, Jay is an out-of-work hit man with no job, money, health insurance and a wife constantly on his case. But when his business partner Gal comes over for dinner and pressures Jay into taking a new assignment, Jay quickly finds himself back in the game with the promise of a big payoff after three assassinations. Although the hits start off without incident, soon things begin to unravel and Jay's paranoia reveals itself as he is plunged into the heart of darkness. (IFC Films) Expand
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 16 out of 22
  2. Negative: 3 out of 22
  1. Reviewed by: Todd Gilchrist
    Jan 29, 2012
    Kill List is a major breakthrough for writer/director Ben Wheatley, whose assured and painstaking handling of this difficult material makes for an unforgettable viewing experience.
  2. Reviewed by: Joshua Rothkopf
    Jan 31, 2012
    There's still tremendous vitality here, and Wheatley's avoidance of yet another Guy Ritchie gabfest is a pleasure in itself.
  3. Reviewed by: Andrew O'Hehir
    Feb 2, 2012
    There's no disputing the ingenuity and even the brilliance of this mind-bending mashup, which begins as a gritty recession-era marriage drama - the opening scene features a couple arguing about whether they have the money to get the Jacuzzi fixed - and then descends into ominous violence and finally total insanity.
  4. Reviewed by: Ty Burr
    Mar 1, 2012
    A scuzzy little cross between a crime movie and a horror freak-out that gets under your skin and stays there, even if you can't understand half of what the characters are saying.
  5. Reviewed by: Jeannette Catsoulis
    Feb 2, 2012
    That assured style is the spackle that holds Kill List together: when the plot doglegs into insanity, and the characters follow suit, this brutal fever dream refuses to fall apart.
  6. Reviewed by: Marjorie Baumgarten
    Feb 29, 2012
    Viewers will find themselves well into this intriguing movie before they get a sense of what it's about and where it's going. And even then, they'll never correctly predict the film's outcome or foretell its bizarre ending.
  7. Reviewed by: Joe Neumaier
    Feb 2, 2012
    It would be easy to say that the final minutes of this mixed-up thriller make everything before it meaningless, but that would indicate the odd conclusion has meaning, too.

See all 22 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 8 out of 12
  2. Negative: 2 out of 12
  1. Feb 9, 2012
    In Ben Wheatley's horror-thriller, two hit men go on a traumatic and soft objective into the occult. It's so extreme that some will look away.

    If you're a hit man by business, then you've already created a cope with the demon, even if those you remove tumble into the type of people spend of the drug-dealing, kidnapping, warmongering type. So really, it should come as no shock that Jay and Gal, the eliminating blokes in the draped horror-thriller "Kill Record," have gotten themselves into a unusual fix, though having to close a agreement in our blood should have been a tip-off.

    The revealing if not exactly fulfilling night that penetrates into every part of this newest English transfer from movie maker Ben Wheatley requires it is time getting to the serious evildoing that the movie director and his co-writer, Amy Leap, have in thoughts, however.

    Instead, it starts with a shouting go with between Jay (Neil Maskell) and his spouse, Shel (MyAnna Buring). After botching a job, Jay has been out of perform for several weeks, charges and stress are flipping up, all of which Shel sits out with agonizing invective. To which Jay replies in type.

    That units the level and the overall tone for this grown-up home of disasters. His old associate Gal (Michael Smiley) wants him to consider one last job together. He does, but there is a cost. It includes three visits, with Jay progressively more unhinged, each get rid of more chaotic than the last. Gal is incapable to control him in; their justifications about what is and isn't appropriate when it comes to eliminating still won't make you for what's on display.

    This is a far more extreme movie than Wheatley's first, 2009's "Down Rooftop." Though it had criminal offense at its middle as well, it was sensible by a dry paradox and far less our blood. There is no counteract in "Kill Record," with one world so constant in its gore that it creates the infamous lift world in "Drive" light in evaluation.

    What "Kill List" and "Down Terrace" discuss is Wheatley's really like of heavy planning, though like Jay, you wish someone would sometimes control him in too. His are testimonies that need interest and usually compensate, losing enticing parts along the way, then conclusion with a hit. Now Wheatley is enthusiastic about the heart and how it can be damaged and co-opted. Black products, but it gives the characters a lot to perform with.

    Maskell and Buring confirm the best couple, warm as they simple the love-hate of a plagued wedding. And viewing Maskell change from a type of Wally Mitty of hit men to gigantic is, I have to confess, interesting.

    The street here brings Gal and Jay toward the occult. Associates and guests keep flipping up in unanticipated methods, and the unusual ritualistic methods that include demon praise begin materializing. Including to the common unease is the gritty, documented look obtained by movie director of photography Laurie Increased, who taken "Down Terrace" as well. The camera is unflinching, and so is Wheatley, as the tale goes toward the impossible. It's eventually left to you when and whether to look away.
  2. Feb 12, 2012
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. i haven't seen a film like this since Mulholland Dr., a really well made film. the acting, directing and writing is great. but what stood out the most was the tone and atmosphere of the film, this i think is a prime example of a "psychological thriller/horror". i really loved how the film started out as a thriller/action and then evolved into a thriller horror. and what a horror it was, i can't remember the last time i was this scared watching a film (i think its mainly because of the weirdness of it all). but the main question i think most of you will have is what was it all about. was it a dream or was it reality? that's the best explanation i've read of this film and the director has said that many of the thing in the movie were taken from his nightmares. there are a lot of reoccurring images that occur throughout the film. ex. in the beginning Jay is seen "play fighting" with his wife and child, Sam is on his mother's back (just like in the end of the film), they are using fake swords (in the end they use knives) and Jay "kills" them (just like in the end of the film). another ex. the rabbit that the cats kills has it's guts coming out and when the cat is killed Gal says that he always loved the cat (in the tunnel seen Gal is stabbed ans his guts are spilling out just like the rabbits). and finally at different parts of the you hear someone saying "wake up" to Sam. the only problem i have with this is that you don't know where the dream stars and where it ends. it should be noted that the director has said that "shes [Shel] laughing at sheer crushing irony of it all", if that helps at all. so apart of the ambiguity of it all, it really is a great film. it's one of those movies that you need to watch more than once to fully understand it. Expand
  3. Sep 30, 2012
    A gruesomely entertaining scary flick. It demands to be talked about seen again and again. It's hard to say anything about the plot but there are so many intricate themes and interpretive parts of the plot that will leave you thinking about it long after you've seen it . A mesmerising picture. Expand
  4. Feb 12, 2012
    Fairy brutal flick, but still with a light-hearted, buddy-flick edge to much of it. It has flavors of Blair Witch and Eyes Wide Shut to it as well, not to give too much away. The central character's relationship with his ex-military Swedish wife is interesting, and his partnership with his best friend / co-hitman Gail is very normal. Can't give away too much of the plot, but I'll just say the end is a little over-the-top brutal and shocking. And a very quick foreshadowing from the first act puts you on edge for the rest of the film. Unsettling, indeed. Expand
  5. Feb 24, 2012
    Kill List works extremely well as a taut, quite terrifying horror film about an out-of control British hitman. Neil Maskell is mesmerising as Jay, a frustrated ex-soldier who returns to his past career of contract killing to support his family, but as his emotions begin to intrude, the stress and paranoia linked to his morally dubious job steadily fracture his sanity. Michael Smiley also impresses as Gal, Jay's level-headed long-time hit partner and friend, as does MyAnna Buring as Jay's loving but frustrated wife Shel. The first half of the film is excellent, with tight plotting, steadily building tension and a semi-improvised script. The second half unfortunately becomes a little incoherent and difficult to follow (possibly a deliberate decision by director Ben Wheatley to reflect Jay's unstable state of mind) and the finale, where the film goes all Wickerman is just plain stupid. Kill List works as a film when it keep things real and close to home. When we're following Jay, his family, and the impact his job has on himself and his family, the film is great - dramatically effective, terrifying, and socially relevant all at once. When the film becomes weirder, more fantastical and surreal, it unfortunately becomes silly and pointless. Luckily, this element of the film is very small, only emerging towards the end, so doesn't have the chance to do much lasting damage. If it weren't for its annoying final act, Kill List could have been a British horror classic. A film that begins so well, that offers so much promise as a relevant, scary horror, deserves a much better payoff, and unfortunately this means the film as a whole is good, but not anything exceptional. Expand
  6. Dec 21, 2012
    A surprisingly silly film. It had good performances but the direction coasted on its downbeat naturalism. Also, the editing was too scattershot for me to properly engage and the ambient, 'unsettling' soundscape seemed a little one note. Ultimately, the script needed more development, which the direction could never overcome. I have heard the director justify the extreme violence, but unless the film expresses a real purpose or poetic vision, it remains a nasty gimmick. Expand
  7. Jul 27, 2013
    Why? All I want to know is why? There is nothing internally in the script that leads to its conclusion. Just because you can do something does not mean you should. Actions must have reason, end of story. The dialogue is extremely hard to understand, and I would have been completely lost had I not paused the film and read a synopsis in the middle. A part of me wonders if the filmmakers decided on the ending and than wrote the rest of the film after that. The use of foreshadowing is weak to the level of almost forced, the pacing is completely off, and the resolution is angering. Will I remember the ending of this film, absolutely because it was unjustified and it did in fact "chill me." I just wish I didn't have to sit through an hour and twenty-five minutes of choppy, unimportant dialogue to get there. However, this film has several redeeming factors. Though the plot and characters are a complete flop the visual and sound editing are spot on. The camera work is gorgeous, and the lighting is breathtaking. It is a pretty film, but not a good film. Unless you want to analyze shots for over an hour and then enjoy fifteen minutes of unexplained solid cinema, avoid Kill List. Expand

See all 12 User Reviews