31 Horror Films #6: Kill List 2011 Dir. Ben Wheatley

Kill List 2011 Dir. Ben Wheatley

Horror, by its very nature, deals in uncomfortable subject matter. In the hands of a competent director, however, a horror film can transcend what the audience expects, delivering them into the clutches of something strange, haunting and inevitable. This is a special kind of horror that only a few artists can do well and this is the kind of work displayed by director Ben Wheatley in his film Kill List

Kill List is an uncomfortable film from start to finish. It follows the personal and professional life of a contract killer named Jay, who has a strained relationship with his wife and is steel rattled by the events of a previous job. Jay gets drawn back into the work through his friend and former partner, Gal who has a series of three simple jobs for the two of them. Jay reluctantly agrees and the two begin a series of contracted murders that quickly cease to go according to plan.

For one, the gentlemen wishing to hire the men knows a little too much about Jay and signs his contracts in blood. Also two of the job’s victims know who Jay is and thank him for killing them. These bizarre and vital details hint at a much more disturbing machinations revolving around these murders. After finishing Kill List, it’s difficult not to examine the structure of the film in hindsight, noticing the four layers of the film beginning with Jay’s rocky relationship at home and ending in a strangely similar fashion, with a fight that effects his family life in a profound way.

Equal parts film noir and psychological horror, Kill List goes where you never expect, and ends in such an inevitable way that it will haunt you long after you watch it.

Watch the trailer HERE