2012 Film Challenge #13 - Kill List

A genre piece. But what genre? True, British grit, or disquieting folk horror? It's somewhere between This Is England and The Wicker Man, but I'm pretty comfortable placing it into a sub-sub-sub-genre of “films what start out perfectly normal like but end up well mental” - in which you're not quite able to pinpoint the precise moment at which things go wrong.

Previously, beyond perhaps David Lynch's entire canon, there was only really one entrant in this curious genre: Synecdoche New York. Have you seen it? It goes mad in the most organic way possible. And so does Kill List. Already I want to watch it again so I can look out for the clues. By the end, scenes which were previously completely innocuous – even charmingly innocent – took on a horribly sinister turn.

I know this one to be notorious for shocking violence and an overall disturbing atmosphere – that's what drew me to it in the first place - and such films usually arouse a great deal of curiosity from the likes of me. I often find myself scouring the web for a clue into what might cause such controversy.

And I'm often disappointed by bloggers and reviewers who keep their cards close to their chest. But now I think I understand. The joy is in not knowing. It's simple: The less you know about this film before you watch it, the more it'll shock you, the more you'll enjoy it.

Suffice to say, though, that it divides opinion and raises a lot more questions than it answers. It's been described as a “cult hit in the making”. Personally, I think it's already there.

Horror is supposed to get under the skin. This one, though, burrows into the brain. Most scenes featured an approximation of Hitchcock's “ice-box moments” - where only afterwards do you realise that something's amiss. Why was an image carved into the back of the bathroom mirror? Why was the same image scribbled on the shoebox in the lock-up filled with the things that cannot be unseen? Why did everyone, before dying, seem genuinely grateful?

There's a lot going on, and whilst it probably wouldn't do the old grey matter – or the social life - any good to spend too much time watching it; this is chilling, engrossing and mystifying food-for-thought.

Kudos too for the incredible dissonant soundtrack – very reminiscent of the misty, haunting landscapes created by Richard Skelton.

A lot to love here.

Or maybe you'll just find it utterly repulsive.

It takes all sorts.

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