This is an independent horror drama from director and writer Ben Wheatley who has worked with comedians Steve Coogan and Jonny Vegas in the past, but this one does not have a foot in the realm of comedy. It is about two old army buddies, who decided to become hit men after their country no longer needed them. We join Jay (Neil Marshall) a year after a bungled job in Kiev. His acerbic wife Shell (played with brilliant complexity by MyAnna Buring) tells him all their money is gone, as he has not done any `work' for a year. He meanwhile only wants to cure his back in their hot tub; she insists he is making it all up and there is nothing wrong with him.
Then his old mucker turns up, Gal (Michael Smiley). They are having a dinner party and Gal has brought his latest flame Fiona, a mysterious one indeed who seems to enjoy pentangle like symbols. Well after a mass row, Gal invites Jay to go back to work. They agree and set off to meet their client. He gives them a hit list that includes a priest a librarian and an MP. They are not told their crimes and so Jay lets his imagination fill in the blanks. He is still traumatised from past experiences and seems to find some form of mental rehabilitation through inflicting violence. This he goes at with some very worrying gusto indeed.
What unfolds gets darker and darker as the violence escalates and things are seen in their true light. This is one from the school of seventies horror with a sort of cross between the classic `The Wicker Man'and Peter Fonda's lost classic `Race with the Devil' . There is plenty of disturbing violence, language that a docker would baulk at and some brilliantly tense scenes. The soundtrack works too, even though at first I felt it was trying to be too spooky with echoey voices all over the place. By the end you will not notice as everything coalesces to a climax that kept me guessing.
Not a straight forward horror as there is a lot of life drama too and some exploration of the mental luggage that people acquire who have been in stressful situations. All of the acting was above par and a lot is left unexplained, in that you automatically fill in the gaps. I actually thought this was really good. Also a note on funding, this was a collaboration with the UK Film Council and Channel 4 who should be praised for their involvement, it's a shame the Council is being abolished. If you like the new wave of Brit horrors then this is up there with the better ones.