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Make sure you don't make your way onto the Kill List!
Kill List (DVD)
Member Name: SpiderJamb
Kill List (DVD)
Date: 29/10/12, updated on 29/10/12 (54 review reads)
Advantages: Thought-provoking and genre-switching horror
Disadvantages: Some might not like the lack of answers/motives the film leaves out
This is one of those films that slipped under the radar somewhat, despite great praise from critics and 5-star reviews, but to get people to pay attention to it, some of the key plot details were teased out. For example, I was aware that the film had a horror-style twist, which alerted me to some of the more peculiar moments. The best way to experience this film would be to go in blind, as the change of gears as the film switches genres is better experienced without prior knowledge.
For a low-budget British film, it didn't particularly feel low-budget. Some of the more violent set-pieces were orchestrated so deftly that one sequence had me confused to how they pulled it off without actually hammering an actor's head in. The actors improvised some of the lines during the film, something which adds to the realism of the scenes and shows spontaneous reactions to each other, which works much better than following a script in some places.
The performances by the lead actors are particularly strong with Neil Maskell putting in a great turn as Jay, the affected former soldier with a temper, and Michael Smiley as his more chipper partner, Gal. The two female leads are also really well-acted with Myanna Buring as Shel, Jay's wife, who pressures him to find work.
This is a film that deserves a second viewing to catch the subtle foreshadowing of the traumatic events in the final act. The film is bold in that it doesn't fill in all the blanks it leaves behind - the ending and the motivations behind the Kill List can vary from theorist to theorist, leaving a sense of personal interpretation to the movie, making it stick longer in your mind than most.
For a horror movie, it never quite hits the scary note and while some moments are chilling and creepy, it doesn't fully qualify as a horror to me. The sequence in the tunnels could have been more effective with some better lighting, as what should have been a thrilling chase to safety resembled a chaotic jog in relative darkness. However, there were some genuinely creepy moments during the third act leading up to the bizarre climax. It reminded me of Silent Hill in places with the inhuman noises coming out of the enemies of the piece.
I would recommend this to people who like independent British cinema and a mish-mash of genres. It reminds me of some of the Japanese/Korean movies from the last decade where the film takes a complete twist into a totally different genre from its beginnings. To list specific films that influenced the director would venture in the area of spoiler terrority but keen horror-fans will notice familiar beats to classic British horror movies of the past.
Summary: This is a refreshing change and a nice nod to classic British horror of the 70s and 80s