Rewind Review: 2011’s ‘Kill List’


Kill List topped more than just a few Top 10 Horror Lists for 2011.  This festival darling generated massive buzz and ad campaigns promised viewers would be shaken to the core.  Almost 2 years later, I finally got a chance to peep this picture myself.

Read my review after the jump…

Official Synopsis:  “Eight months after a botched job in Kiev, Jay (Neil Maskell) is an out-of-work hit man with no job, money, health insurance and a wife constantly on his case. But when his business partner Gal (Michael Smiley) comes over for dinner and pressures Jay into taking a new assignment, Jay quickly finds himself back in the game with the promise of a big payoff after three assassinations. Although the hits start off without incident, soon things begin to unravel and Jay’s paranoia reveals itself as he is plunged into the heart of darkness.


Kill List is indeed a Horror film, but it will have tremendous appeal to fans of gritty, untraviolent crime drama like Eastern Promises.  The violence is all corporal (meaning non-supernatural) yet if you watch closely, you’ll see this film swims in religious and pagan undertones.  With a vibe akin to Eyes Wide Shut, Kill List gives us a glimpse of an unseen world that exists in tandem with perceived reality; a world of wealth, sex, and ritual violence.

It has been noted, and this reviewer agrees, that it’s nearly impossible to discuss the film’s final act without ruining the experience for others.  I will also warn, in this case, that comparisons to other genre films are spoilers in and of themselves (notice the films I mention to draw comparisons to Kill List are not Horror).

I’ll admit, with a sliver of shame, that I found the thick UK accents and rapid-fire conversations so perplexing, I had to turn on the subtitles.  In the end, I found this crutch to be very useful in helping me gleam the film’s many subtleties.

Kill List

Kill List is the story of a man unhinged, dangling perilously close to the abyss.  Unable to compartmentalize his life of crime, his family is deteriorating around him–yet financial stresses keeps him stuck in his current station.  Jay seems genuinely driven by a desire to provide for those he loves, to uphold traditional Head-of-Household values.  The irony is that his efforts to mend bonds only drives him further from his wife and son.

So do I agree that Kill List is one of 2011’s best Horror offerings?  Probably.  I mean, yeah, it was really good.  But let’s not forget what a miserable year 2011 was for our beloved genre.  Sure, we had a few standouts like Paranormal Activity 3 and The Woman, but we were also subjected to a long list of crap (like Apollo 18, Fright Night, Hellraiser: Revelations, Hostel: Part III, Shark Night 3D, and The Thing to name a few).

If you like your Horror lite on the supernatural with unflinching, realistic depictions of criminal violence, then Kill List is definitely for you.

3.5 out of 5 Skull Heads

Trailer: HERE

September 2, 2011 (UK)
January 4, 2012 (US)(VOD)
February 3, 2012 (US)(Limited)
August 14, 2012 (US)(DVD)CURRENT STATUS
Now On DVD


Warp X


Official Site

Ben WheatleyWRITTEN BY
Ben Wheatley
Amy Jump

Neil Maskell
Michael Smiley
MyAnna Buring


About Saucy Josh

I write a blog for intelligent Horror movie aficionados called Blood and Guts for Grown Ups: View all posts by Saucy Josh

One response to “Rewind Review: 2011’s ‘Kill List’

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