Tuesday, 6 September 2011
Kill List - Fright Fest Review #6
Jay (Neil Maskell) hasn't worked in eight months and he is fast running out of cash and his spiraling mood swings and lack of work start to take a toll on his marriage. Business partner and friend Gal (Michael Smiley) brings his new girlfriend to dinner and witnesses first hand that the demons which plague Jay are becoming uncontrollable. Sensing his need to work again he offers him an opportunity for a job under instruction from a mysterious client with three assignments on their list.
Jay starts to turn the kill list into a personal crusade with his controlled hit man style becoming increasingly a thing of the past with each hit becoming more violent and entwining the two of them into something neither could predict.
The film consists of three parts all equal in quality and all necessary to reach the terrifying conclusion. What starts out as a Mike Leigh style character based drama, it moves into a tense crime thriller only to jolt you with an ending sequence fit for many of the best horrors made.
The performances are rich with a natural delivery and all are thoroughly convincing in their roles but Maskell and Smiley are a cut above as the pair of ex soldiers turned hitmen. Only the dark nature of the material will prevent them from recognition come awards time. Jay's slow descent into his personal Hell is crafted at a perfect pace, the fact that he feels he is on some form of mission to rid the world of bad people suggests he is looking for redemption for his own past misgivings. It's this part of his character which allows to follow in his footsteps and understand the path he chooses to take.
The way Ben Wheatley directs this film manages to insert a sense of dread all way through its heart, keeping you on edge the whole time. A simplisitic yet haunting score burrowing it's way through each more intense and bloody scene. He creates a sense of realism with the docu-drama camera work during the opening sequences, fully focused on the family life and the devotion Jay shows to his wife and especially his child. His need to support them by allowing his job to keep his darkness at bay is detailed within sudden mood changes from love to fits of anger and back to love again, which is also shown as a part of his fractious relationship with Gal.
Avoid reading anything which provides references to other films, details too much about the plot or show this film negatively because of it's violence. This will only detract from your enjoyment of undoubtedly one of, not only the horror stand outs of the year, but also best British films I have seen in a long time. Unfortunately the Full Monty's and Bridget Jones' will get all the plaudits and make all the money but they are devices in popular comedy made specifically to attract the crowds. This is an intelligent, thought provoking, expertly crafted mix of genres that certainly has something to say. It may not be a highbrow statement but it's a statement that you won't forget.
After seeing this at Fright Fest I tweeted a very simple summary of this film which I stand by. This was...
Bleak, brutal, terrifying..... sensational.