By: Addison Wylie
An onslaught of revolting violence is on display in Killers. It’s the kind of stuff that makes you nauseous, wondering how the filmmakers choreographed such hard-hitting nastiness. The bloodshed, however, has a purpose and contributes to the cunning study of obsession Killers also displays.
This Indonesian hybrid of a thriller and a horror looks at the digital age’s fascination with snuff and the power of control. The story, written by Takuji Ushiyama and co-director Timo Tjahjanto, follows two different people who share an interest in playing God. Bayu (a presumably experienced journalist played by Oka Antara) curiously observes uploaded footage of deaths carried out by an unnamed villain, and has ideas of using the act of killing as a means of seek justice towards a crooked politician. Nomura (the mysterious online killer played terrifyingly by Kazuki Kitamura) stalks and murders because he’s good at it, and he knows it.
The two men eventually end up meeting. Nomura invites Bayu into a chat room after watching some of his impressive rookie clips, and informs Bayu that the amateur is too easy to locate. Soon, Bayu is swallowed up by the corruption when his intentions start affecting his life at home, and Nomura narcissistically absorbs his ability to inhabit ruthless evil while he influences those around him.
Kimo Stamboel and Tjahjanto (better known as the Mo Brothers) are able to clearly comprehend the movie’s disturbed social context while applying their own stylistic whiplash to the project. The latter of the directorial duo co-directed the Safe Haven sequence in V/H/S/2, and there’s a similar choice of scary franticness to much of the film’s intensity. The directorial duo litter Killers with unforgettable imagery and tragedy, while the extraordinary performances knock down doors.
As I’ve mentioned, Killers is almost always graphic and not for the faint of heart. If you think you have the stomach and the guts for this excellent Mo Brothers joint, you won’t be able to take your eyes off the screen or shake away those shivers from your spine.