Kill List 2011 crime, horror
This is a difficult film to review (without giving too much away). The movie is a mix of crime and horror genres, with a dash of dark, British humor. The two main characters, Jay and Gal, are professional hitmen and some of their conversations are quite funny. Jay’s wife, Shel, pressures Jay to get back to work even though she knows he kills people for Lots of cash.
The first act of the film might give you the impression it's a garden variety family melodrama with a troubled, unemployed father. It isn't.
The second third of the film might give you the impression that it's your typical hitman-action-crime drama. It isn't.
Then comes the final third. None of the incredible third act has been foretold in earlier scenes, and then there's a shocking finale that’s only slightly hinted at (a ten second scene where Fiona goes into Jay and Shel’s bathroom and scratches a strange symbol on the back of the mirror). It will make you question everything you've seen up to that point. It's out there. Waaaay out there. I haven't seen an ending like that before, and it raises moral questions that the audience has to deal with, one way or another. It’s best not to overthink it, and I probably will not watch it again.
The film does a terrific job of building a mood and layering suspense aided by an immensely talented cast who are believable and hit the right notes. The violence is intrinsic to the film and to its protagonist, but that doesn't make it any easier to watch. In one scene, Jay beats a man with a hammer like he was a piñata. Not a film for the squeamish. Ben Wheatley (Director) does not turn the camera away from violence. There are a couple of quite graphic scenes that might have you wincing. It is Grim and intense.
Before I wrap this up, it should be said that this is an indie British film, and some of the characters have the mumbling, thick lower estuary accent that is difficult, for most Americans, to understand. Take a moment to switch on the subtitles then sit back, relax and let the mayhem begin.
Prevenge 2016 dark, comedy, crime
This revenge flick has an unlikely Avenging Angel; Ruth (Alice Lowe) is a widow and very pregnant, I’m guessing 7 months. She has a bun in the oven and a knife in her hand bag along with a bizarre notebook. And if your name is in her notebook, she will pay you a visit and slay you with her trusty 9 inch kitchen knife. Why? It takes about half of the movie runtime to catch a few hints. [The following is not really a spoiler – it helps the viewer understand the movie]. The names in Ruth’s kill list are the people who Ruth feels were either instrumental or tangential to the death of her husband in a mountain climbing accident. She also carries on a running conversation with her unborn baby. The nature of the mommy- baby discussions is better left unsaid so as not to spoil this fine dark comedy.
The homicides are simple but bloody affairs and each has a hilarious set up. In classic British dark comedy fashion, the cops fail miserably and don’t have a clue about identity of the killer. Ruth is an outwardly ordinary woman; the sort people hardly notice which makes her easier to believe. It is important that the film treats Ruth as a sympathetic character. The success of the movie depends on it. Most of her victims are rather obnoxious and odd, and there are scenes where she shows a caring side... most amusingly when she cares for a man's mistreated mother shortly after dispatching him.
The making of this low budget, pregnant slasher film is remarkable. Alice Lowe, finding herself pregnant, used her condition to inspire this blackest of black scripts. She then wrote, produced, cast and filmed (in 11 days) the whole affair before her baby arrived. Amazing!
Written by Ben Clark. Copyright 2016-2023. All rights reserved.