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The Next Reel • Season 13 • Series: 2013 Fangoria Chainsaw Awards Best Actor nominees • Kill List

Kill List

“How many on the list?”

A Slow-Burn Descent into Darkness

Ben Wheatley’s second feature film, Kill List, was released in 2011 to critical acclaim. The film follows Jay, a former soldier turned hitman, as he takes on a new job with his friend Gal after a traumatic event in Kiev leaves him unable to work for eight months. As Jay and Gal begin their new assignment, they quickly realize that there is more to their targets than meets the eye, and they find themselves embroiled in a dark and twisted conspiracy.

Unraveling the Mysteries of Kill List

In this episode of The Next Reel, we dive deep into the many layers of Kill List. We discuss how the film slowly reveals information about Jay’s past and his work as a hitman, keeping the audience guessing until the very end. We also explore the film’s shift from what’s been described as a kitchen sink drama to a hitman story and finally to a cult conspiracy, and how Wheatley ties all of these elements together in a satisfying way – at least for us.

Throughout our discussion, we highlight the incredible performance of Neil Maskell as Jay, a man struggling with trauma and rage. We also touch on the film’s exploration of masculinity and the ways in which Jay’s inability to express his emotions leads to violence and destruction.

Other Points of Discussion

  • The film’s references to Arthurian legend and how they relate to Jay’s character
  • The twist ending and its impact on the story
  • The relationship between Jay and his wife Shel, played by MyAnna Buring
  • The relationship between Jay and Gal, his best friend and co-worker, played by Michael Smiley
  • The film’s use of violence and how it serves the story

Kill List is a film that feels like one that will reward us on multiple viewings, as each watch hopefully will reveal new clues and connections that we may have been missed the first time around. While the ending may be polarizing for some viewers, we found it to be a satisfying conclusion to a story that keeps you guessing until the very last frame.

A Must-See for Fans of Slow-Burn Thrillers

Overall, we thoroughly enjoyed Kill List and its slow-burn approach to storytelling. Ben Wheatley and his wife/co-writer Amy Jump craft a tense and unsettling atmosphere that keeps you on the edge of your seat, and the performances from the entire cast are top-notch. If you’re a fan of films that take their time to unravel their mysteries and leave you with plenty to think about after the credits roll, then Kill List is definitely worth checking out. We have a great time talking about it, so check it out then tune in. The Next Reel – when the movie ends, our conversation begins!

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When the movie ends, our conversation begins. We love movies. We’ve been talking about them, one movie a week, since 2011. It’s a lot of movies, that’s true, but we’re passionate about origins and performance, directors and actors, themes and genres, and so much more. So join the community and let’s hear about your favorite movies, too.