Film Review: Kill Your Friends – American Psycho: UK 12’’ Remix

There’s a great website out there in infinite digital space which has the proclamation and subsequently supports the claim that ‘Everything is a Remix’. That’s a statement which I would tend to support, in a positive recognition of influence. We are all influenced by what’s around us, by what we absorb, building on what has been created before. Hopefully raising the bar with each evolution. Though unfortunately not always.

This week we have strutting onto the cinematic dancescreen to hopefully bust some fresh movie(s) is the dark cheeky young upstart of a film ‘Kill Your Friends’ by Owen Harris based on the successful novel of the same title by John Niven. I haven’t read the novel, so I can’t compare the screen adaptation (though Niven was involved in writing it), but I have read Bret Easton Ellis’s ‘American Psycho’, which this feels like the Stock Aitken Waterman UK remix of.

I loved ‘American Psycho’ for it’s vicious clinical coldness and analytical record lists, and it’s unfortunate that ‘Kill Your Friends’ wasn’t able to build on that. I don’t mean to sound too harsh as indeed there is alot of fun to be had, if your proclivities lean toward the dark side that is. But whereas the arrival of psycho Patrick Bateman felt fresh, ‘Kill Your Friends’ feels like the visiting UK over influenced cousin.

kill you rfriends movie review

Again that might sound harsh, without that being the intent. The story spins as a young record A&R (artist & requisition) man Steven Stelfox (Nicholas Hoult) who wants to climb up the ladder of success in the music industry with the help of having zero morals, the guidance of Sun Tzu’s ‘The Art of War’ and said ladder constructed from the bones of victims (friends) who get in the way of the music company crown.

It’s set in 1997 during the fading notes of ‘Brit Pop’ and a has accordingly a great soundtrack to support the wanton hedonism and debauchery that permeates the screen. Steven is set on (grim) reaping the rewards of the conveyor belt manufacturing of bands that has existed for years. The discovery, manipulation and dispensing of music product to the ignorant masses (it’s just like politics) so he can get on with enjoying the finer things in life, ie hoovering up football pitch lines of coke and playing the field with copious amounts of women. Basically it’s a more honest version of The Apprentice.

The influence from American Psycho isn’t all negative in that it’s filtered through an ‘The Office’ filter, filling it with English sensibilities, phrases and culture which is fun. Holt really is great in it and is absolutely a James Bond in waiting. James Corden is fun as a drug fuelled mess co-worker Waters, and there’s many scenes to be enjoyed. It’s all dark funny enjoyment (perfect for Halloween), but feels like a performance by a tribute act rather than the original breaking the mold innovators.


Kill Your Friends is out now.

Steve Clarke

Born in Celtic lands, nurtured in art college, trained by the BBC, inspired by Hunter S. Thompson and released onto the battlefront of all things interesting/inspiring/good vibes... people, movies, music, clubbing, revolution, gigs, festivals, books, art, theatre, painting and trying to find letters on keyboards in the name of flushthefashion. Making sure it's not quite on the western front... and beyond.