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Kill List

Two hit men find their job turning to horror in this British thriller

The hits keep coming: Michael Smiley and Neil Maskell
The hits keep coming: Michael Smiley and Neil Maskell

Jay hasn't worked in eight months, and the money from his last job is gone. He's a British veteran of the Iraq war who fights a lot with his wife, and their 7-year-old son can hear the mêlée from his bedroom. 

We've seen plenty of volatile domestic dramas like this, with one exception: Jay (Neil Maskell) and his Irish buddy Gal (Michael Smiley) are hit men whose previous job went badly. Now they have a chance to repair their reputation with a high-priced triple killing, and on the first two legs of the job, their victims thank them before they die.

If that sounds odd, then get ready for the end of Ben Wheatley's Kill List, which turns into something else altogether. It's a malevolent contemplation on a world gone mad, toying with issues of faith, but Wheatley didn't need to rip off other films or bludgeon home his point. How far-out is Jay? When the family cat deposits a dead rabbit in the backyard, he fries it up for a snack. He and Gal are assassins in the Pulp Fiction mode, chatty jokesters on the road to their kill. Only in Wheatley's version, a super-real morality play turns to horror, which cheapens the crescendo of its effect.