ABC Film Challenge – Thriller – K – Kill List (2011)

Director: Ben Wheatley

Writer: Ben Wheatley, Amy Jump (Screenplay)

Starring: Neil Maskell, MyAnna Buring, Harry Simpson, Michael Smiley, Emma Fryer, Struan Rodger

 

Plot: Nearly a year after a botched job, a hitman takes a new assignment with the promise of a big payoff for three killings. What starts off as an easy task soon unravels, sending the killer into the heart of darkness.

 

Runtime: 1 Hour 35 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Unsettling Thriller

 

Story: Kill List starts as we meet Jay (Maskell) who is married to Shel (Buring) with a young boy Sam (Simpson), the couple are always arguing and with Jay’s best friend and business partner Gal (Smiley) coming to dinner, a job offer is placed on the table.

The job for Jay & Gal who are hitmen that have taken a back burner after a job went wrong are sent to eliminate targets for their next client which leads them down a brutal path which will only leave them in complete shock.

 

Thoughts on Kill List

 

Characters – Jay is the former hitmen that is trying to move away from the job, one year after his final job he is talked into one more job which will give him enough money to cover the financial problems his family is going through. The job starts simple enough only for it to turn him into a paranoid angry man who is taking everything personally. Shel is Jay’s wife, she is frustrated with the fact he has spent most of their money forcing him to return to the work he was meant to leave behind, always arguing with him even though it is clear the love between the two is strong. Sam is the innocent young child of the two. Gal is the partner and best friend of Jay, he is the one that tries to keep his head on his shoulders, he sees his friend losing his mind and puts him back on track for the most part.

PerformancesNeil Maskell in the leading role is great because we see how he makes us feel as unsettled as his character is meant to be through the film. Michael Smiley as the main supporting character and he helps us understand how things needed to become calm through the bad times. MyAnna Buring as the wife is good without getting that moment that standout.

StoryThe story follows two hitmen that must take one job which seems simple only to take a dramatic twist along the way. This is a story which starts out on a path which you know the two hitmen are not the nice guys and soon things just get weird with every encounter things start to play out like they have never dealt with before which only grabs the audience to want to know what will happen next to the characters. this gives us an unsettling feeling from start to finish with a conclusion that will leave you jaw-dropped in true surprise with how everything ended up. This is from director Ben Wheatley who has always managed to give his stories a unique feel, this is why people will rave over this director for years.

Crime/HorrorThis movie takes us into the crime world in which Jay and Gal operate in as hitmen, we get to see how they go about this job, conduct kills, clean ups and get on with life. The horror comes from early hints in the film before showing us the true nature to everything going on which will become horrifying,

SettingsThe film shows us the settings used by the hitmen to be everyday locations where the predators they believe they are killing operate without anyone knowing. This helps us understand the dangers of not knowing everything about our neighbours.


Scene of the Movie –
That ending.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Jay isn’t the most likeable character.

Final ThoughtsThis is easily one of the most shocking and unsettling films you will see, it has suspense throughout and an ending you will NEVER forget.

 

Overall: Suspenseful treat.

Rating

 

 

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High-Rise (2015)

Director: Ben Wheatley

Writer: Amy Jump (Screenplay) J.G. Ballard (Novel)

Starring: Tom Hiddleston, Jeremy Irons, Sienna Miller, Luke Evans, Elisabeth Moss, James Purefoy, Keeley Hawes

 

Plot: Life for the residents of a tower block begins to run out of control.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Not My Thing

 

Story: High-Rise starts with Dr Laing (Hiddleston) moving into a new high-rise apartment, it doesn’t take long for him to meet the neighbours including Charlotte (Miller), Wilder (Evans), Helen (Moss) and the owner of the building and apparent recluse Royal (Irons).

The longer Laing spends in the building he learns all about the difference between people with in the building find some easier to get on with than others but can he cope with all the drama surrounding them.

 

Thoughts on High-Rise

 

Characters/PerformanceLaing is the stranger moving into the high-rise, he tries to stay on the outside of all social standards in the building but finds himself trapped seeing both sides of the battle within the building. Royal is the king of the castle, he wants to open the door to Laing as he is tired of the crowd he finds himself around. Charlotte is a resident in the building, a single mother that is always trying to go in within the building.

Performance wise, Hiddleston is good without being breath taking best, with Jeremy Iron strange king of the castle being the highlight of the film. Miller is solid without doing too much.

StoryThe story focuses on the different levels of social standard within one building from the view of the outsider trying to piece together what he has seen, this isn’t the most interesting story and turns to the quirkiness of the film to try and attract the audience.

SettingsMost of the film is set on the different levels of the High-Rise building that shows us the different social levels each level has as they slowly descend into obsession.

Final ThoughtsThis is a very weird film and I can clearly see an audience enjoy this movie, but for me I couldn’t bring myself to enjoy what was going on.

 

Overall: Awkward and weird to say the least.

Rating

 

 

Free Fire (2017)

Director: Ben Wheatley

Writer: Ben Wheatley, Amy Jump (Screenplay)

Starring: Armie Hammer, Brie Larson, Cillian Murphy, Sharlto Copley, Sam Riley, Jack Reynor, Michael Smiley

 

Plot: Set in Boston in 1978, a meeting in a deserted warehouse between two gangs turns into a shootout and a game of survival.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Lacking Substance

 

Story: Free Fire starts as we see Irish man Chris (Murphy) is joined by his men Frank (Smiley), Bernie (Cilenti) and Stevo (Riley) for a gun deal with connections Justine (Larson) and Ord (Hammer). The supplies are Vernon (Copley), Martin (Ceesay), Harry (Reynor) and Gordon (Taylor).

When tensions start to rise early on due to clash of cultures it isn’t long before all hell lets loose and everybody is trying to kill everybody else, but who can walk out alive from this arms deal gone bad.

 

Thoughts on Free Fire

 

Characters/PerformanceChris is an Irishman looking to get extra guns for the battle against the English. Justine is the connection between the two parties along with Ord who keeps everything in order. Vernon is the dealer who is slightly strange in his own way.

Performance wise, I don’t think anybody did a bad job everyone is good with the role they are in, with Copley getting most of the laughs with Sam Riley and Jack Reynor both doing well.

StoryThe story is very thin here, we have two parties coming together for a gun deal, things go wrong and the rest of the film is spent watching how each has their own individual battle to survive, get the guns or money. I did like the concept but it is a lot of just crawling around with random shooting and nothing else happening.

Action/Comedy/Crime The action is lots of just random shooting, with the comedy coming in places with certain characters coming off funny while others seem to be played straight, neither have the chemistry to work together. The crime side is the gun deal which is fine for the backdrop of this film.

SettingsThe whole film is set in and around the warehouse, this is a good thing because the film does play out in real time, this is the strongest point within this film.

Final ThoughtsI liked the idea behind this film, I just feel the film doesn’t decide if it is going to be a comedy or a serious film, it gets completely stuck between the two and not enjoyable. I can see the directors style in here which I do respect but I am not the biggest fan off.

 

Overall: Strong idea but disappointing final product with all star cast.

Rating

 

 

Sightseers (2012)

logoDirector: Ben Wheatley

Writer: Alice Lowe, Steve Oram (Screenplay)

Starring: Alice Lowe, Steve Oram, Eileen Davies, Tony Way, Monica Dolan, Jonathan Aris,

 

Plot: Chris wants to show girlfriend Tina his world, but events soon conspire against the couple and their dream caravan holiday takes a very wrong turn.

 

Verdict: Offbeat Comedy Horror

 

Story: We follow a couple going on their first holiday around the English countryside. While the days go past they get caught up in acting on a killing instinct. Before long they find themselves enjoying their new detour of their holiday and go on to kill people.

How often do you meet someone and take an instant dislike and want to get rid of them? This offers a chance to see what people do when they can. The holiday itself comes off very much like a real holiday people would have in England and the build of a short term relationship between the couple shows how things can change after the first couple of months. It all comes off very different and keeps your interest throughout without being anything fancy. (7/10)

 

Actor Reviewcouple

 

Alice Lowe: Tina going on her first holiday while still living with regret after her family dog was killed. She feels very bogged down by the her mother who keeps blaming her for the dogs death but soon finds a perfect little replacement to take on the journey from one of the victims. Good performance offering up a very real look at a socially awkward person on a holiday. (7/10)

 

Steve Oram: Chris taking his girlfriend on this trip to help him write a book, but soon his blood lust takes over after accidently killing a man who had made him angry. Good performance keeping both sides separate and looking like he fits in perfectly. (7/10)

 

Support Cast: Mostly the victims they meet, they try to be nice but when people are not they start having accidents. They all help to make the story a little bit more interesting and offer interaction for our lead couple.

 

Director Review: Ben Wheatley – Does well to create a different horror comedy without it being too much comedy. (7/10)

 

Comedy: Quirky comedy used throughout. (6/10)

Horror: The killing spree offers solid horror side to the story. (7/10)

Settings: Each setting is well used to create the accidental death location. (9/10)

Suggestion: I think this will only work for certain people, it won’t appeal to all the horror fans out there. (Try It)

 

Best Part: One-liners after the kills

Worst Part: Will have to have a particular audience.

Favourite Quote: Chris ‘Tell that to the National Trust’

Believability: No (0/10)

Chances of Tears: No (0/10)

Chances of Sequel: No

Post Credits Scene: No

 

Oscar Chances: No

Runtime: 1 Hour 28 Minutes

Tagline: Killers have never been this close-knit

 

Overall: Quirky Horror Comedy

Rating 70