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.




Level Up (2016)

Director: Adam Randall

Writer: Adam Randall, Gary Young (Screenplay)

Starring: Josh Bowman, Neil Maskell, William Houston, Kulvinder Ghir, Doc Brown


Plot: A fast-paced, high concept thriller following a 20 something layabout, who over the course of a day, is forced to make his way across an increasingly strange and sinister London, in order to save his kidnapped girlfriend.

Tagline –  One life remaining.

Runtime: 1 Hour 24 Minutes


There may be spoilers the rest of the review


Verdict: Slow Paced


Story: Level Up starts as we meet layabout Matt (Bowman) who girlfriend Anna (Mimmack) gets abducted with the masked men forcing Matt to follow a series of tasks to deliver a package around London.

The tasks get stranger and deadlier as he continues his trip around London, following just a message on a phone. He is searching for a man known as Dmitri (Maskell) but just what is the reason he has been picked?


Thoughts on Level Up


Characters – Matt is the layabout gamer whose girlfriend gets taken, he must follow instructions to get her back which takes him on a race around London. I didn’t enjoy this character who is meant to be the one we care about because we learn nothing about him, like is he qualified to do a job, how is he supporting himself before etc, etc. Dmitri is the one Matt must pass the package too but he becomes hard to locate. The Businessman is also after the package becoming somewhat of a rival to him. Most of the characters we learn nothing about other than that they are part of this game being played.

PerformancesJosh Bowman does the best to try and carry this film but you do feel he lacks the intensity of everything going on. The rest of the cast don’t get enough time to show what they have.

StoryThe story is one man trying to deliver a package before time is up or his girlfriend will be killed, simple really but the problem is it is told in a slow way, it should be a fast paced movie but unfolds at a snails pace. You can see the twist coming a mile away and by the end of the film you will be left flat.

ThrillerThis should keep you on the edge of your seat, the point is that it doesn’t.

SettingsThe London setting doesn’t get used well enough for the film which only leaves us wonder how you don’t get the most out of a London setting.

Scene of the Movie –
Hard to find one.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Its just too slow.

Final ThoughtsNot enough pace for a fast paced story that needs to grab you by the edge of your seat.


Overall: Simply not good enough.




Open Windows (2014)

logoDirector: Nacho Vigalondo

Writer: Nacho Vigalondo (Screenplay)

Starring: Sasha Grey, Elijah Wood, Neil Maskell,


Plot: An actress named Jill refuses to have dinner with Nick, a fan who won a date with her in an Internet contest. In return, a guy named Chord, posing as Jill’s campaign manager, helps Nick to follow in the footsteps of the actress from his own computer. Nick starts a game in which he realizes that is only a puppet into the maniac plans devised by Chord, to hunt down the star.


Verdict: Thinking Outside the Box


Story: In a world where having the right technology can help hack into everything we follow a young man get tricked into helping a mad man kidnap an actress. This all gets put together using just webcams and security cams, with most of the story unfolding on our hero’s laptop within plenty of different pop-up windows.

Granted the story can come off very easy to follow it does throw out a few different twists as the story continues. The twists do take away what has been built up but it also shows how far people will go for a moment of madness. It is brave doing a film without using conventional camera and as I am always a fan of something different I will praise that. In the end the thriller shows what stalkers will do and how defenceless the celebrity can be. (7/10)


Actor Review


Sasha Grey: Jill Goddard actress who has been having second thoughts about her career after making another sequel. She gets kidnapped by the guy pulling the strings. Sasha does a good job as the celebrity who gets caught in the middle of a stalkers game. (7/10)


Elijah Wood: Nick Chambers young blogger who wants to have an interview with his favourite actress. He ends up getting used as a puppet in a stalkers game. He races against time to try and save her before it is too late. Good performance from Elijah who again shows he is willingly to take a chance on a role. (8/10)


Neil Maskell: Chord voice on the phone who puts Nick through a string a tasks to help him get close to his favourite actress, but he has a different agenda with the actress. Good performance as we always want to know what he will do next. (7/10)


Supporting Cast: The support cast is mainly another group of hackers, who help Nick believing he is an internationally renowned hacker. (7/10)


Director Review: Nacho Vigalondo – Brave direction using alternative camera work to turn a thriller into real time thriller on web cams. (8/10)


Action: most of the action is car chases, these are all shot using the multi camera system on the laptop too. (7/10)

Thriller: you do get pulled in to care about what happens to the actress and young man as they try to figure out what is going on and try to escape. (9/10)

Settings: The settings are used to create an atmosphere we are unsure off the locations of certain people but we do get left wonder when they will end up. (8/10)

Suggestion: This should be tried it might not be everyone’s cup of tea but you may enjoy this. (Try It)


Best Part: Brave Ideas

Worst Part: A lot of people will get turned off with Sasha Grey casting.

Believability: With the abilities people have to hack this could be a very real outcome before the extra twists. (5/10)

Chances of Tears: No (0/10)

Chances of Sequel: Unlikely

Post Credits Scene: No


Oscar Chances: No

Runtime: 1 Hour 40 Minutes

Trivia: This is the first movie not using conventional cameras, but web-cams from some computers, which screens open and close along the movie.


Overall: Interesting Look at Stalkers

Rating 74

Doghouse (2009)

logoDirector: Jake West

Writer: Dan Schaffer (Screenplay)

Starring: Danny Dyer, Noel Clarke, Emil Marwa, Lee Ingleby, Keith-Lee Castle, Christina Cole, Terry Stone, Neil Maskell, Emily Booth, Stephen Graham


Plot: A group of friends Neil (Dyer), Mikey (Clarke), Graham (Marwa), Matt (Ingleby) and Patrick (Castle) take their friend Vince (Graham) who is going through a divorce to a remote village of Moodley for a lads weekend but when they finally get there it turns out all the woman have turned into man hating cannibals.


The Boys

The Boys

The Girls

The Girls

Verdict: Horror comedy English style

Story: Battle of the sexes, government experiments, zombies and no weapons. These added together make a good horror comedy with Government experiments and zombies be horror and battles of the sexes and no weapons against zombies makes comedy. Making the guys all in argumentative situation with ladies in their lives makes for good foreshadowing with what they will have to deal with. One thing I did struggle to understand is how they are all mates; they are all very different people and different ages. As long as you ignore that fact the story works well to show survival in an inescapable position. (8/10)


Actor Review: Danny Dyer – Neil a womanising cockney chap who in his introduction can’t remember the name of a girl he has been on more than one date with. Typical Dyer here you know what you are going to get with him, but it works for his character. (7/10)


Actor Review: Noel Clarke – Mikey the man with a plan well he thinks he has a plan, kind of wings things. I have to praise Noel here he shows that he can give a good dumb guy comedy performance just as well as any other he has given us over the years. (8/10)


Actor Review: Stephen Graham – Vince struggling with his divorce he gets dragged on a lad’s weekend. Stephen does a good job and with his character continuing sarcastic remarks about how helpful the trip is keeps him interesting to how he will react next. (8/10)


Actor Review: Emily Booth – Snipper one of the zombie women in the town armed with scissors. It is unusual to have zombie like characters that stick around for the whole film and Emily makes hers one of the most frightening of the lot. (8/10)


Director Review: Jake West – Showing how he can direct more than one genre with ease here. Good work following up from Evil Aliens gore side. (8/10)


Comedy: I think most of the comedy was funny but I think most of the jokes are very English targeted. (8/10)

Horror: The situation comes over very well for horror but the light comedy keeps it from becoming truly scary. (8/10)

Special Effects: Good special effects with the highlight being used for the evolving stage for the women. (8/10)

Believability: Government experiments are and have happened but the outcome isn’t believable. (2/10)

Chances of Tears: No (0/10)

Settings: Village in the middle of nowhere make great isolation setting for the films genre. (9/10)

Suggestion: I would suggest trying it the problem this film will suffer with is Danny Dyer he is an actor that if you hate you avoid anything with his name on it regardless of whether it is good or not. I think if you can get past that you will enjoy the story because the guys will relate to how the guys act towards woman and the woman will relate to how a guy has acted towards them. The comedy may not be to everyone’s taste and if you love loads of gore this doesn’t offer as much as it could. (Try It)


Best Part: Banksy car

Worst Part: The end

Kill Of The Film: Banksy

Funniest Scene: Banksy and the ladder

Oscar Chances: No

Chances of Sequel: Could have one to explain and follow up the end.


Overall: A strong underrated British horror comedy

Rating 80