Sometimes, despite the horror you might see on film, it so entrances you because of the overall subject matter that no matter the act, you have to keep watching to find out what happens. Will they live, will they die, will he do this or will she do that and so on. You have to keep watching because the film demands you to do so. A good film, like this one, takes you on a journey with its characters and even should they commit the most atrocious of crimes, you want to find out where they go, what they do and just what it is that will happen to them by the end. Killers keeps you glued to your seat and is a film that does indeed get a little gruesome at times, but in spite of it all, you just keep watching.
The film starts off with a man named Nomura who is torturing and killing a young woman. It is a shocking way to start off your movie, but writers Takuji Ushiyama and Timo Tjahjanto want to grab your attention right away and the Mo Brothers who direct the film, do it in a most graphic and measured way. When Nomura is finished, he cleans up after himself, making sure that everything is spotless, and then proceeds to upload the video he made of the killing to the internet. Elsewhere, a man named Bayu is having trouble keeping his life together. Bayu has lost his job and is losing his family and one day, while surfing the web, he comes across the video uploaded by Nomura. He is fascinated and in his fragile state of mind decides that he too could do something similar to what Nomura has done, except to those who deserve it. Soon Nomura, played by Kazuki Kitamura, notices what Bayu, as portrayed by Oka Antara, is doing and after making contact, the film sees the lives of both men come into conflict.
Killers is a thriller, a horror and just a little bit of a black comedy, but more than anything this film is a character study about two different men and how their circumstances turned them into monsters. Nomura is a man who had lost his family when he was younger, a tragic thing for sure and we eventually find out that it was he who killed his father and that his mother and sister committed suicide, maybe though more than likely, he killed them too. With echoes of Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho in more ways than one, Nomura is an intriguing and yet complicated man. It is chilling to see him in action, whether he is simply talking to a child, buying flowers or actively torturing a woman to death. He has a mania about him, but one that is controlled and steady unless he finds himself stressed out. Bayu on the other hand is a killer made, accidentally even, as he kills some men who are trying to rob him. He was not born to it like Nomura was and it was not tragedy that broke something inside of him, nor did he ever have the urge to do so, but he does find it is a way of dealing with the pain that life has dealt him. As the film progresses, these men come into contact and while one killers is starting on his journey, another starts to go off the rails and it is compelling to watch them do so. With the women that Nomura kills, he seems to be seeking replacements for the women in his life, the void left by the mother and sister he no longer has while Bayu is simply needing to fill the chasm that his life has become. This is a film about two different men looking for fulfillment in death, but neither man really finding it.
The Mo Brothers turn this film into something quite riveting despite its shocking subject matter. They use some very subtle music throughout the picture and it features a lot of violence that never seems over-the-top as many films tend to do these days. The only negative that can really be found is that while it is paced quite well, there are a couple of scenes that tend to be a little tedious and the movie does tend to run a bit long at nearly two and a quarter hours. While it is fairly riveting, part of you wants it to end at certain points and part of you hopes that it will not. There are also moments when you find yourself smirking just a little in the film as a little bit of humour comes into play. It is a dark humour, and in a movie like this you have to expect that it will be if there is to be any found whatsoever, but it works and surprisingly, made the film that much better for it. Killers is not for everyone though. It is brutal at times in the way it depicts the violence that rears its head, but if you are in the market for a solid suspense-thriller, one that will also quench that horror thirst in your gut, this film is for you.