DVD: Kill List (18)


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Ben Wheatley's deeply unsettling thriller/horror begins with a flaming domestic row between mordant Jay (Neil Maskell) and Shel (MyAnna Buring).

Jay hasn't worked in eight months and the couple are squabbling over the shopping list – he forgot to buy toilet rolls – and their upcoming dinner party that night. Their guests are chirpy Gal (Michael Smiley), Jay's ex-army pal, and his date, the "glary-eyed phantom" Fiona (the wonderful Emma Fryer from underrated sitcom Home Time). Cue an acutely painful eating scene, which ends in plates and insults thrown. But it's going to get a lot worse.

The menacing soundtrack – full of distorted sound – is a dead giveaway. There will be blood. Gal and Jay claim to be in sales, but they're really contract killers. Gal has a new job ("Three. Not too strenuous"), but Jay is reluctant. He doesn't want a repeat of Kiev. Like Wheatley's terrific debut, Down Terrace, Kill List mixes banal conversations with droll scenes (Jay seizing a guitar off a fellow hotel diner singing "Onward, Christian Soldiers") to acts of extreme human savagery.

It's a giddy blend of Mike Leigh, Quentin Tarantino and Pinter. Of course, the three hits – a priest, a perverted librarian and an MP – are not easy in the slightest. They're very messy indeed. The last scene – at which point Kill List has thoroughly gone Wicker Man – is truly horrifying. Wheatley is a force to be reckoned with.