KILL LIST (2011) Reviews and overview

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Kill List is 2011 British horror thriller feature film directed by Ben Wheatley (High-Rise; A Field in EnglandSightseers) from a screenplay co-written with Amy Jump. The movie stars Neil Maskell, Michael Smiley and MyAnna Buring.

Wheatley was influenced by Stanley Kubrick in that he sought to find imagery first, then wove the plot around it. In each scene, they shot one take using the script and then paraphrased and improvised. The actors also worked out backstories for their characters through improvisation.

The script was much more explicit in its themes and ideas, but Wheatley edited the film to form a more ambiguous and minimalist story. By keeping allusions to those scenes, he wanted to give viewers enough information to form their own interpretation. Wheatley dislikes exposition, so he decided to avoid it.


Eight months after a disastrous mercenary job in Kiev left him physically and mentally scarred, ex-soldier turned contract killer, Jay, is pressured by his partner, Gal, into taking a new assignment.

As they descend into the dark and disturbing world of contract killing, Jay begins to unravel once again – his fear and paranoia sending him deep into the heart of darkness…


“A gut-wrenching chiller… the best British genre film in years.” Jamie Graham, Total Film


“A dark, funny, disturbing picture… With this, Wheatley elevates himself from kill list to A list… he’s among the most promising filmmakers in Britain.” Kim Newman, Empire

“A strong contender for best British film of the year. Film of the Week. It’s hard to remember a British movie as nerve-shreddingly effective since Dead Man’s Shoes in 2004… look for it on ‘Best of British’ lists for a long time to come.” Tom Huddleston, Time Out

Cast and characters:Screen Shot 2015-05-29 at 11.28.26

  • Neil Maskell … Jay
  • MyAnna Buring … Shel
  • Michael Smiley … Gal
  • Emma Fryer … Fiona
  • Harry Simpson … Sam
  • Struan Rodger … The Client
  • Ben Crompton … Justin
  • Robin Hill … Stuart
  • Gareth Tunley … The Priest
  • Mark Kempner … The Librarian
  • Robert Hill … High Priest
  • Alice Lowe … Radio Reporter + Prevenge; The Ghoul; Sightseers
  • Steve Oram … Radio Reporter + A Dark Song; Sightseers; The Canal

Filming locations:

Sheffield, South Yorkshire, England

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