Zero Killed (2012)

Rating: B

Dir: Michal Kosakowski

For the past 15 years, the director has been asking people about their murder fantasies, and giving them the chance to act them out in staged scenarios – with the sole stipulation that they, themeselves, must take part, either as victims or killers. These films are mixed here in to interviews with the participants, who provide their personal perspectives on their fantasies, and also express opinions on other death-related topics, such as capital punishment, and whether they’d be able to take revenge on the perpetrator if someone dear to them was killed. The results are chilling, not least because of the absolute normality of the participants: no criminal records, and the final sequence shows their professions, ranging from farmer to English teacher, and none of them would exactly be the kind you would expect to have such morbid thoughts.

Mind you, perhaps I am surprised by them, because I have genuinely never harboured such fantasies myself. Is that because I have seen so many murder-death-kills on the screen over the last two decades or more? The fantasies, and the interviews, are a bit of a mixed bag, but the former are likely more successful than the latter, Some of them are incredibly effective, feeling almost as if a camera happened to be present during a genuine murder. The level of gore on view is, perhaps surprisingly, not directly correlated to their success: perhaps the one which will stick in my mind most is someone commiting suicide by taking cyanide. I still would need to be convinced that wasn’t real.

The interviews are less effective, as it’s not always the case that the targets necessarily have anything interesting to say. However, sometimes they do, and when they are explaining the motivation behind their fantasies, in a matter-of-fact way, it’s still a disturbing glimpse into the darknest abyss of the human psyche – for instance, when one cheerfully admits to what can only be described as a literal God complex. It’s difficult to view without coming away possessing a more jaundiced view of your fellow citizens, wondering how many of them harbour elaborate fantasies about snuffing out life.