Kill List

Metascore
67

Generally favorable reviews - based on 22 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 16 out of 22
  2. Negative: 3 out of 22

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Critic Reviews

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. Reviewed by: Roger Ebert
    Mar 14, 2012
    75
    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.
  5. Reviewed by: Betsy Sharkey
    Feb 2, 2012
    80
    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.
  6. Reviewed by: Rene Rodriguez
    Apr 12, 2012
    88
    One of the scariest films I've seen in ages, although I cannot in all honesty explain exactly what the movie is about.
  7. 80
    The final twist is both baffling and repulsive, but as an evocation of the triumph of evil, it's peerless.
  8. Reviewed by: Shawn Levy
    Mar 1, 2012
    67
    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.
  9. 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.
  10. Reviewed by: Peter Hartlaub
    Mar 15, 2012
    75
    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.
  11. Reviewed by: Alison Willmore
    Feb 1, 2012
    75
    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.
  12. Reviewed by: John DeFore
    Jan 29, 2012
    80
    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.
  13. 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.
  14. 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.
  15. Reviewed by: Andrew Barker
    Jan 29, 2012
    80
    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.
  16. Reviewed by: Chuck Wilson
    Jan 31, 2012
    80
    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.
User Score
6.6

Generally favorable reviews- based on 44 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 8 out of 16
  2. Negative: 3 out of 16
  1. 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. Full Review »
  2. Jul 27, 2013
    2
    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 »
  3. 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. Full Review »