Some horror movies send you off into the dark night giddy with fear and pleasantly reeling from revulsion. Others give you a glimpse of something so dark and bleak that you’re left with a queasiness in the pit of your stomach. What you witnessed was not in any traditional sense enjoyable (outside of the momentary thrills one can get from the exhilaration of shock), yet you’re moved. It managed to burrow to someplace not only grim but that you hadn’t really thought of before. Films like this are so rare—Psycho, The Wicker Man, Salò, The Blair Witch Project—that they tend to be later regarded as benchmarks for the genre. Who knows if Ben Wheatley’s phenomenally upsetting Kill List will ultimately follow in their forbidding footsteps, but from my point of view it has the potential.
Read the rest, and keep checking back all week for new Great Pumpkins!
Kill List is playing this weekend at the Film Society of Lincoln Center’s Scary Movies series.