Few British genre efforts come with quite the degree of fanfare afforded to Ben Wheatley’s second film Kill List. But beneath the enthusiasm the prevailing trend to emerge from discussions of Kill List is that it’s an extremely divisive film. The critical notices have been patchy, but whatever one might think of the film, people are certainly talking about it. As a long time supporter of indigenous genre production I’m all for this. Any film that inspires discussion and argument is of benefit, especially in a film culture that sorely needs distinctive and generically progressive material. For many Ben Wheatley will be a new name, but his darkly humorous and dialogue driven debut effort Down Terrace (2009) marked him out as fresh new talent. In a way Wheatley was fortunate that Down Terrace slipped quietly away into the ether because viewing it will certainly prepare you for the style and tone of Kill List. The key ingredient both films have in common is a sense of rising tension. An atmosphere of menace, imperceptible at first, that steadily builds throughout both films, and culminates in moments of unexpected bloodshed and violence. There might be some who feel that the generic shift in the final third of Kill List unbalances and undermines proceedings, but in light of the simmering ambience of the previous hour the narrative had to go somewhere. That the writers (Wheatley himself and his partner Amy Jump) opt for the folk-horror territory of The Wicker Man (1973) is to be commended in my view.