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Kill List

by on August 13, 2012
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A devilishly complex horror thriller from the UK, “Kill List” is a cerebral descent into madness. Unlike most thrillers, which rarely stray from the path of predictability, “Kill List” is refreshingly original in its conception.

Jay and his best friend, Gal, are former soldiers turned professional contract killers who are offered a job that consists of murdering a priest, a pedophile and a member of Parliament. The deeper they get into the list, the more complex things become for the duo. Stumbling upon a bizarre cult with the cruelest of intentions, the pair are faced with more questions than answers.

Amidst this macabre subplot exists a heated family drama between Jay and his wife Shel and their tumultuous relationship. Jay is a proven hothead with a short fuse, and he and Shel are constantly at odds with one another, all to the detriment of their son, Sam. This most recent job has seemingly left Jay broken from reality as he isolates himself from both his family and his best friend.

“Kill List” is a dark and brooding narrative not unlike a modern day adaptation of a Grimm fairy tale. In fact, it has strong ties to 1973’s “The Wicker Man,” another UK horror film with a similar vibe throughout. On the surface, the film is unrelenting with its depiction of abject brutality and unwavering violence. However, the intriguing nature of the cult and its mysterious motives really manages to bring the story full circle and tie together a wonderfully complex film — the common theme of which is the fragility of human life and the durability of the human psyche.

Director Ben Wheatley has crafted a brutal fantasy thriller with a mean streak. The visuals, especially toward the end, are downright haunting. One thing’s for sure, “Kill List” is a movie that will stick with you long after the credits roll. I wouldn’t recommend it for anybody with a weak stomach or delicate sensibilities. This film is truly jarring and hard to stomach at times. Nonetheless, the payoff is worth the gauntlet that you’re run through in the first half.

The Blu-ray is packed with a slew of features, including a director and actor commentary, an interview with Wheatley, cast and crew interviews and even a “making-of” featurette. Of course, with a movie such as this that leaves you wanting more in the way of explanations, it’s nice to know that even the cast and crew are hellbent on keeping the plot as vague and mysterious as possible. It’s all part of the fun in not having all the answers, I suppose.

Film: 4 Yaps
Extras: 4.5 Yaps