Death Scene of the Week: ‘Kill List’- The Hammer

So, I get to choose the Death Scene of the Week, and while I had the full intention of using a scene from Shark Night, something else appeared on my TV screen right at the last minute! Since we have been celebrating our first birthday today (hooray!!!), I decided, after a few whisky’s, that I should pop my Bluray copy of Kill List in the old PS3 and give it a second watch. Why? Because for me it is still a toss up between Kill List and Drive as the best film of 2011.

Kill List is something else, something astonishing, something horrifically brutal in places, and I am still allowing THAT ending to mess with my head, and after a fair few drinks, it is not doing my head any good. Just what the Hell did it all mean? Regardless of meaning and motive, Kill List remains one of the finest British thrillers in years, and the impact this film has is breathtaking. It may be bordering on the best film of 2011, but it is certainly the best British film, beating even Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy.


So, as a birthday treat I watched it again, and without even planning it, my Death Scene of the Week was decided. For those who haven’t seen Kill List I don’t want to spoil things, so I will simply say that ex soldier and killer for hire Jay agrees to take on a job with his partner in crime Gal, but things soon head out of control. I really can’t get into the details of it right now, because after a few drinks I could be here all night, but I will simply say that Jay starts to enjoy killing a bit too much.

This really shows when he meets the second person on his ‘kill list’, The Librarian, and after witnessing paedophilia tapes, Jay is furious with rage and can’t get to his target quick enough. The pair tie him up and Gal heads upstairs to find whatever cash The Librarian has stashed. Meanwhile, Jay get’s into a conversation with The Librarian, and after being told “it is great to have met you” and “thank you” knowing he is about to die, Jay is confused, and in his confusion and anger, kills the librarian, but does not make it pleasant.

After taking out his knee cap with a hammer, Jay smashes up The Librarian’s hand in grotesque, realistic style and then moves in for the kill. How director Ben Wheatley pulled this off is beyond me, but we witness Jay place his victim’s head on the kitchen table, Jay walks around him, raises his hammer in the air and proceeds to smash The Librarian over the head numerous times. The Librarian’s skull splits, and brains come out, all the while we do not cut away and it well and truly looks as if The Librarian has actually been murdered for real.

Wheatley pulled off a stroke of genius here, and it is one of those scenes that just happens without the spectacle of the director saying “hey, look at what I just did”  The scene takes place, and we move on, and it is one of the most chilling, and most impressive death scenes not only from this week, but from the whole of 2011. Mr Wheatley, I salute you sire, job well done!

By Matt Wavish

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About Matt Wavish 598 Articles
A keen enthusiast and collector of all horror and extreme films. I can be picky as i like quality in my horror. This doesn't necessarily mean it has to be a classic, but as long as it has something to impress me then i'm a fan. I watch films by the rule that if it doesn't bring out some kind of emotive response then it aint worth watching.

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