- Neil Maskell as Jay
- Michael Smiley as Gal
- MyAnna Buring as Shel
- Emma Fryer as Fiona
A brutal, bleak and unexpected British thriller, Kill List is a film that makes you think that you have figured everything out, and then completely turns this idea on its head. The overall film makes for uncomfortable, unflinching and thought-provoking viewing, that will leave you pondering when the credits have finished.
Jay is a recovering soldier turned contract killer, who is haunted after an unspecified job in Kiev. With money running low and his waspish wife Shel nagging him to take on another job in order to provide for his family, Jay reluctantly does so with his best friend and former soldier Gal. They are assigned a job of killing three men, in what at first appears to be a simple enough job. As the duo descents deeper into the task, an ominous shadow hangs over them as horror surrounding various events is revealed to them. What follows on is a mix of hitman thriller and shocking horror as Jay attempts to discover the strange enigmas surrounding the hits they are supposed to commit.
As I’ve mentioned before the film veers into horror territory but not in the traditional sense. Rather than jump scares, the film examines the horror of one man’s daily life and the dire consequences arising from doing his normal job. His descent into confusion is amplified by sinister music, the sound of an eerie whistled tune sending shivers down the spine. Also thrown into the mix of genres is family drama, as we witness Jay’s strained and capricious relationship with his wife and the effects it has. This is what makes the film so interesting, the mixing of genres and turning what we think might happen into something completely unexpected. Viewers be warned that once the film goes into thriller territory the events become very brutal and sometimes hard to watch. When it moves into horror, you won’t know what has hit you as it is that shocking and unforeseeable.
The three central performances add immediate impact to the story. Neil Maskell embodies the confused and unpredictable character of Jay, as an audience we never know what his character may be capable of as he plays the part so well. Smiley adds darkly comedic action to the narrative as his best friend who becomes concerned for him as they delve deeper into the case. MyAnna Buring is equally effective as Shel, who is both capricious and curious towards the case and Jay himself.
Aided by an almost documentary style of shooting and sinister use of sound, Kill List will chill you and leave you shocked at its many turns before a shocking climax emerges. Believe me, it is a film that will stay in your head for a long time after viewing it.