Thursday, January 19, 2012

Kill List (2011)

Fear 3/5
Gore 4/5
Entertainment 5/5
Creepiness 4/5

Kill List is an utterly shocking film and one that will swirl around in your head for days as you try to figure out the meaning of it all. It's essentially a film with three sections that play out in succession with just a bit of interconnectedness to hold everything together and not make it feel like one big mess. I imagine (and hope) this is a genre film that will be talked about quite a bit once it gets a more widespread release.

Meet Jay. He is a retired special forces member or at least that is what he'd rather have you believe. Apparently, a botched assignment led to an early exit along with his best friend Gal. He's had a hard time readjusting to normal life, getting back to being a husband and father to his beautiful wife and young son. Tensions are soon seen within the family as money issues are discussed and dad needs to find something else to bring in some much needed coin.

One night, Gal and his new girlfriend (a skinny, tall, dark-haired woman) come over for dinner with tensions between husband and wife already at a high. Friendly conversation soon gives way to an uncomfortable shouting match at the dinner table as money talk breaks out and the wife's bitterness towards her husband's former profession rings through. Husband and wife carry it over into the kitchen and Gal's new girl heads upstairs to compose herself as she's visibly shaken. Gal then takes Jay out to the garage to cool off. There, he tells him that they both need to get back into 'the game.' What game is that exactly? Jay and Gal were actually contract killers. After a little prodding, Jay agrees and it's off to see a man about a job. But before we get to that, the new love interest of Gal draws a strange symbol in the upstairs bathroom.

The next day, the contract killing duo arrive at a sprawling mansion and upon entering the house, are instructed to meet the proprietor in his main study. Not much is said between the man and the pair but a hefty some of money is sent their way along with a list of people who need to be placed six feet under. No background is given on each one. All they have is a list. And so begins the life that Jay once knew and has chosen to throw himself back into: one that's on the road and away from his family.

After getting settled into a hotel which will become their base of operations, the nasty and sometimes brutal killings commence. The first being a priest who is taken out in his natural setting just as he enters his sacristy. The second, a child pornographer is assaulted in his home. Before Jay can deliver the death blow with a hammer, the man bizarrely smiles and acknowledges the fact that he knows what Jay is.

The pair continue on, going down the list with Jay as the main perpetrator and Gal as his driver. Being on the road begins to take a toll on Jay and it becomes obvious that things are not well back home. He becomes haunted by visions including the tall, dark-haired gal pal of Gal, standing across the street from his hotel one night. Is that really her he's seeing or is this latest job blurring the lines of reality?

Despite wanting to give up, they forge ahead with the last remaining kill being closer to Jay's home. Here is where the last act of our film goes completely fuck nuts crazy: the pair head out to the woods, seeking a strategic position to pick off their next target. After setting up camp, they see a parade of masked, torch bearing people. The group encircles a girl who is set to die by hanging. After interrupting the ceremony, Jay and Gal are chased by the group. I'll stop right here because I don't want to give the rest of the film away. What I will say is that the cult makes their way to Jay's home. Jay is lead back out to the field and one of the most shocking endings I've ever seen to a film takes place.

Simply put: you need to see and experience this film.

Kill List is currently available to rent via various VOD services. It's also in the middle of a limited theatrical run. I can't recommend this one enough.

Cortez the Killer


Mike Snoonian said...

This is one i'm truly looking forward to renting over the weekend and catching up with. It's gotten so many raves.

Dod said...

With all the buzz about this movie, I'm hugely intrigued and it has shot up to the top of my "have-to-see-this-NOW" list.

The Artist Formerly Known as J. Astro said...

I read a Fango post hyping this movie up big time... but the comments thread was full of a LOT of enraged people who felt that it was boring, totally bogus and nothing more than an over-blown WICKER MAN retread. This is definitely a love it or hate it affair, and not everyone is lovin' it. Lot of backlash. So I'm interested that you came down on the other side of it. Intriguing how polarizing this film is.

Planet of Terror said...

@Mike, can't wait to hear your thoughts.

@Dod, likewise on hearing your thoughts. Def. check it out ASAP.

@J. Astro, it is not doubt polarizing. But for me, and given the context of the entire film, it works. The whole Wicker Man comparison is completely off base. Aside from including a cult in the proceedings the two films couldn't be more dissimilar. And in fact, the cult aspect is not even a man component. Not until the end anyways.