Well THAT was unexpected!
I had never even heard of this movie until I was browsing a forum topic featuring horror movie recommendations and noticed a good number of people who said to check this one out. I saw it was on Netflix so I passed on my original planned movie (Grabbers which I think is about a huge octopus attacking Ireland which yes sounds awesome so don’t worry we’ll still get around to that one) and fired this one up, despite the fact that neither the poster or the plot description make this one sound like a horror movie in any way.
Our leads are Jay and Gal, two former soldiers who have been working as hitmen since leaving the military. We don’t know much about what happened during their time as soldiers, only that they had a mission in Kiev that went terribly wrong. They are given a job by a sketchy dude who asks them to kill three people and then a whole bunch of stuff happens that I absolutely can’t talk about. It really is the kind of the movie you should watch knowing as little about it as possible.
About 20 minutes into the film, the majority of the time had been spent watching Jay, Gal and their significant others sit around a dinner table and chat and argue. At this point I was still unsure if I had clicked the wrong movie because it in no way felt anything like a horror movie or that it was even working towards becoming one. I was still enjoying it as the characters were interesting and the dialogue was well written but I was about two minutes away from shutting it off and getting my giant Irish octopus on.
Then one of the dinner guests goes to the bathroom, carves a weird symbol into the back of the mirror, grabs a bloody tissue and stashes it in her purse, and then acts all nonchalant like she didn’t just do all that insane shit. Now I knew the movie had more up its sleeve than I originally thought.
Kill List is the best example I’ve seen in a very long time of a slow burn horror movie. It may even be one of the best examples period. It’s almost a half hour in before the movie even shows its hand that some horror-y things are going on and once that happens, it’s another long stretch before you see another instance of it. It’s not until the final act that the movie goes completely balls out insane but they’ve peppered in just enough creepy happenings that this sudden shift doesn’t feel all that jarring.
Thankfully along the way you are given two very interesting lead characters that are entertaining to watch even when they’re just sitting around and chatting for several minutes about nothing all that important. The performances are great especially watching them as they slowly realize that their situation they are in is far more fucked up than they originally imagined.
It’s a difficult movie to talk about without getting into specifics or even general spoilers but I will say this movie may end up frustrating a lot of viewers as it does not provide easy answers. Once the credits started to roll I definitely had a moment’s pause where I realized I had no real idea what had just happened. I immediately wanted to talk about the movie with other people and even went the extra step and started re-watching bits of the movie in order to piece things together. The reason is because unlike a lot of cryptic movies who use the “oooo it’s up to the audience to figure it out” bullshit to get around having a logical ending, this one feels like all the pieces are actually there, you just need to put them all together. After going back and confirming a few details I was able to put together a pretty reasonable theory that it turns out is the widely accepted notion of what happened so yay for me! I totally get movies!
I think that’s about all I need to and should say about Kill List. It’s on Netflix, don’t read anything further about it and just go and watch it. The slow pace may ruin it for a lot of people in the early stages but if you stick with it my god are you ever in for a treat.