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If David Lynch, Jean Pierre Melville and the original The Wicker Man had a threesome, their love child would be Ben Wheatley's Kill List. Made back in 2011, Kill List is an incredible film that everyone and anyone should see, if they at all enjoy the three previous things mentioned. The film begins as a sort of household drama, where Jay (Neil Maskell) is a semi-retired hitman, who hasn't worked in months and all the money he's saved up is gone. His wife, Shel (MyAnna Buring) is frustrated and is at constant odds with him not bringing in any money. Jay's former partner, Gal (Micheal Smiley) comes over for dinner to try and convince him to start working again. Gal manages to pull him into the latest job, but both men manage to get much more than they bargained for.
Every single iota of Kill List is unsettling, from its actual cinematic construction, to the creepy subject matter. From the intense portrayal of the characters to the awkward cuts in between scenes, Ben Wheatley uses every trick in the book to get under your skin and make you feel something. One of my favorite aspects of this was Jim Williams' score for the film. There's everything from intense droning, to haunting melodies that are the embodiment of what any and every film score should do, convey emotion. Each of the actors give fantastic performances and from the title credits, which states that they offered additional dialog, I'm sure that Wheatley just gave them something to go off of and they just took it to the next level.
A film like Kill List defies all kinds of genre restrictions, because its always evolving into something else as the film progresses. What starts out as a film about a man trying to keep his life together, turns into a hit man movie, which then turns into a thriller and finally, a horror film. It was this constant whirlwind of pace and downward spiral of events that make the film a thrill ride unlike any other film of recent existence. Jay is clearly at odds with himself, not only due to the stress that he has at home, but the toll of his job and what its done to him over the years. We receive glimpses into what happened on the previous job, but none of it really matters, we know that it was enough to shake him away for good.
Even though I knew what was going to happen at the very end of the film, I was still on the edge of my seat. It's rare when a film gets me going like that and I'm glad that I was finally able to see it, after hearing from friends how great of a film it was. If atmosphere is something that you crave out of films and want to get creeped out a little, throw Kill List in your Netfilx queue or just fire it up when you have time, because you simply wont regret it!
Kill List is streaming on Netflix.