Generally favorable reviews - based on 22 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 16 out of 22
  2. Negative: 3 out of 22
  1. Reviewed by: Roger Ebert
    Mar 14, 2012
    The movie may leave you scratching your head way too much when it's over. Yet it proves Ben Wheatley not only knows how to make a movie, but he knows how to make three at the same time.
  2. Reviewed by: Owen Gleiberman
    Feb 15, 2012
    It's all very sub-Tarantino showy and empty - at least, until the head-scratching climax, which tries to be "Eyes Wide Shut," "The Wicker Man," and "The Twilight Zone" all at once, but only makes you wish that you were watching one of them instead.
  3. 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.
  4. 80
    The final twist is both baffling and repulsive, but as an evocation of the triumph of evil, it's peerless.
  5. Reviewed by: Rene Rodriguez
    Apr 12, 2012
    One of the scariest films I've seen in ages, although I cannot in all honesty explain exactly what the movie is about.
  6. Reviewed by: Scott Tobias
    Feb 6, 2012
    Following up his acclaimed debut feature "Down Terrace," a gangster drama that also mixed genre shocks with dark comedy and explosive family spats, Wheatley gives Kill List a discordant tone that makes it feel like a horror film even when it isn't.
  7. Reviewed by: Stephanie Zacharek
    Feb 2, 2012
    Wheatley drops enough unnerving bread crumbs in the first two-thirds to leave you wondering where the hell he's headed, and even the big finale should be satisfying enough: It just belongs to a different movie, and it's unsettling in a way that doesn't feel earned.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. Reviewed by: Shawn Levy
    Mar 1, 2012
    There's atmosphere and tension and dark humor and some truly shocking gore throughout. But the positive impression all of that makes pales next to a headscratching finale that is admittedly well-executed but is also undeniably perverse and borderline random. Maybe you'll go with it, simply out of shock. I, alas, could not.
  11. Reviewed by: Kyle Smith
    Feb 3, 2012
    Banal at the beginning and preposterous at the close, the British horror film Kill List jumbles together wildly incongruous ingredients to create a dramatic mush.
  12. 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.
  13. 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.
  14. 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.
  15. Reviewed by: Betsy Sharkey
    Feb 2, 2012
    This is a far more brutal film than Wheatley's first, 2009's "Down Terrace." Though it had crime at its center as well, it was balanced by a dry irony and far less blood. There is no offset in Kill List, with one scene so relentless in its gore that it makes the notorious elevator scene in "Drive" pale in comparison.
  16. Reviewed by: Peter Hartlaub
    Mar 15, 2012
    Kill List has a slow build, but don't be lulled into complacency. This is one of the most violent and disturbing films you'll see in an art house.
  17. Reviewed by: Alison Willmore
    Feb 1, 2012
    While the sum of Kill List comes across as less than its parts, it offers some strikingly nightmarish imagery and a feel that's reminiscent of an earlier, grittier era, yet at times sharply contemporary.
  18. Reviewed by: Chuck Wilson
    Jan 31, 2012
    Brutal and bloody and utterly unnerving, thanks in no small measure to Jim Williams's brilliant score, which is filled with strings so taut, they sound like screams you might hear in the distance and decide (quite sensibly) to ignore.
  19. Reviewed by: Jaime N. Christley
    Jan 30, 2012
    It's a road movie of sorts, like the Steve Coogan/Bob Brydon comedy The Trip, only with fewer expert impressions and more inept executions, but lovely scenery just the same.
  20. Reviewed by: Andrew Barker
    Jan 29, 2012
    Displaying both a nasty edge and a playful sense of humor -- but thankfully, never at the same time -- Brit import Kill List is several cuts above its fellow midbudget horror brethren.
  21. Reviewed by: John DeFore
    Jan 29, 2012
    Director-screenwriter Ben Wheatley brings a fresh mystery and bite to the hitman genre, although a deeply weird twist and buckets of gore may throw more than a few audience members.
  22. 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.
User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 34 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 8 out of 12
  2. Negative: 2 out of 12
  1. Mar 18, 2012
    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. Full Review »
  2. Aug 4, 2013
    This review contains spoilers, click full review link 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! Full Review »
  3. 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 doesWhy? 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. Full Review »