So, on the climactic night of Frightfest, we had Dick Mass’s fun Dutch epic ‘Saint’, about the sinister side of St Nick, with children getting sucked up chimneys and a marvellous central horse chase across the rooftops of snowy Amsterdam. Then it was on to the much-hyped ‘Kill List’…
My key instruction for ‘Kill List’ is DO NOT. DO NOT read anything about the film beforehand. DO NOT even look at images from it. ‘Kill List’ is one of the most astonishing British films I’ve seen in the last five years, a film so powerful and unexpected that it will radically divide audiences, and it deserves to be seen with a minimum of information.
What can be said is that it concerns two hit men and the list of kills they have to make. Like all great directors, Ben Wheatley does not need to provide a complete explanation for his plot, but trusts the intelligence of his audience, allowing us to resolve the film’s astounding third act. Visceral, painful and disturbing, it’s also oddly tender and very realistic – to the point where there will be walkouts during certain scenes. The genre-jump it provides toward the end is both fair and logical when you think about it after – and you will. In fact, you’ll be arguing about it in the pub for quite a while. It’s not a date movie, though.
Personally I would cease to trust the judgement of anyone who professes to hate the film, even though it’s a terrifyingly tough watch. This has been the jewel in Frightfest’s crown, and has made an already strong festival genuinely special.
I also liked the fact that each major screening was prefaced with a John Carpenter parody short – someone should gather them all together and release them.