Kill List

Kill List Image
Metascore
67

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

User Score
6.6

Generally favorable reviews- based on 44 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 gameEight 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

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Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 16 out of 22
  2. Negative: 3 out of 22
  1. Reviewed by: Todd Gilchrist
    Jan 29, 2012
    100
    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
    80
    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
    80
    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
    75
    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
    70
    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
    67
    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
    20
    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 16
  2. Negative: 3 out of 16
  1. May 10, 2016
    10
    This movie is really stunning. You can't go into it with the expectation that it is a traditional horror movie, or that all of your questionsThis movie is really stunning. You can't go into it with the expectation that it is a traditional horror movie, or that all of your questions will be answered in the end; and, although the movie is terrifying, I wouldn't go in asking to be scared with jump-out scenes and blood and cheap gimmicks. There comes a problem with making a film to fit a genre: a horror, a slasher, a psychological thriller--this movie encompasses all of these things and more. Incredible music and cinematography, a visual and auditory work of art as well as being damn good entertainment, it shook me to the core. Expand
  2. Feb 12, 2012
    9
    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. Aug 4, 2013
    8
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. I didn't know what to think about this movie at first but as it builds it gets better and better! The story is engaging, the actors were awesome and the twist the film takes at the end throws you for a loop! Expand
  4. Feb 24, 2012
    6
    Kill List works extremely well as a taut, quite terrifying horror film about an out-of control British hitman. Neil Maskell is mesmerising asKill 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
  5. Feb 21, 2015
    5
    You know how No Country For Old Men very powerfully expresses the senselessness of violence? So that even if it's not entirely clear whyYou know how No Country For Old Men very powerfully expresses the senselessness of violence? So that even if it's not entirely clear why everything happened somehow the point lands and you don't question the ending.

    This movie is not like that. This movie has senseless violence with a bit more nonsense thrown on top. It's not very scary. The script is fine. The acting is quite good in my opinion. But it doesn't land.

    It's 2015, and I find it hard to believe that you have seen all 100 movies and dozen tv shows that you should catch up from 2012 to today instead of this film. But if you have pretty much watched everything, this is worth watching.
    Expand
  6. Mar 18, 2012
    4
    I had only heard good things about the Kill List, so going into it I was expecting something fairly amazing. The basic premise is that anI had only heard good things about the Kill List, so going into it I was expecting something fairly amazing. The basic premise is that an out-of-work, ex-soldier hitman who screwed up his last job gets a final chance to prove himself. The basic difference between this and many other films with similar premises is that he has a wife, a son, and a best friend, also a hitman, who is there to make sure he doesn't screw it up. First, while I don't usually have much problem understanding British movies, I couldn't understand much of the dialogue in the opening scenes and had to rely on what I'd read about the plot to replace what I can only imagine was backstory. When the action started, I began to enjoy watching the main character begin to lose his composure as the mysteries of this job unfolded. I was along for the ride until the very end. I had expected some closure, some explanation of the weirdness the climax had built up to, but instead there was merely a shock and then it was over. I still have no idea why most of the events occurred or what the motivations were of those standing in the background pulling strings. I am still scratching my head at all of the positive reviews out there, many of which echo my confusion. For some reason, they're simply not that concerned about it, but for me it ruined what might have otherwise been a unique and enjoyable thriller. Expand
  7. Jan 23, 2016
    2
    This movie is not good. Its not really horror in the traditional sense, it is more of a psychological thriller. The audience is placed in theThis movie is not good. Its not really horror in the traditional sense, it is more of a psychological thriller. The audience is placed in the shoes of a hit-man... a very stupid hit-man with little to no will power and no measurable intelligence. How he became a hit-man is a mystery but I suppose the fact that he was broke tells us what we need to know. The movie starts off as a domestic drama and changes tones as the hit-man gets a job. We then follow him while he does his job and we find out that there was more to it than simply killing a target. Here is where it all falls apart. Apparently this employer was targeting him from the start and who was the employer? Some sort of cult. What is their motivation? No one knows. We can speculate... but but that is just boring so I wont bother since there are thousands of possibilities. The hit-man is captured by the cult (they could have done this any time) and placed into a fighting arena against an unknown gladiator in a mask (they could have done this any time as well). Well without giving it away, his torture was complete by the end of the death match. All the cultists remove their masks and that is the end of the movie... the problem with the movie is there was a plot hole almost every 10 minutes and about 5 plot holes in the ending.... but its not worth rambling about any further. The movie is not good. It needed some serious character development especially for the cultists who were not creepy, scary or anything. I also did not care for the hit-man, his wife, his friend or anyone else so it really did not matter how things turned out in the end. Expand

See all 16 User Reviews

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