Kill Ben Lyk


Reviewed by: Jane Fae

Kill Ben Lyk
"You need to feel some sympathy for someone, not be so irritated by the constant screaming and panicking that you can’t wait for the killer to arrive and finish them off."

Sky Film is always something of a mixed bag. There’s a load of horror, which for a horrorphobic like me is an absolute no-go area. A smattering of foreign language films, some quite good, many just very obscure and, one feels, deservedly so. Plus, of course, the occasional blockbuster tipped in to ensure that people keep watching. Most recently, Jumanji: The Next Level, which was a reasonably decent follow-on to the reboot of this franchise.

And then there’s Kill Ben Lyk.

Copy picture

What can I say? I downloaded it because I’d watched almost everything else and the basic premise – someone is killing everyone in London who happens to be called Ben Lyk – was not entirely bad. Only, that’s it.

Once you tune in to the central idea, you are on a roller-coaster ride wherein every other passenger is dislikeable to the point of loathsome - a caricature that exists almost entirely for the purpose of dunking on whatever cliché they happen to represent. So we get psychopathic banker Ben Lyk (Bruce Mackinnon). Sex-crazed woman (Simone Ashley), named Ben Lyk because her father misread Bea when he turned up at her christening. Rugby-playing, God-bothering priest Ben Lyk (Charlie Rawes).

Plus another half dozen or so Bens, whose main function, within the good old-fashioned night-in-a-remote-mansion-with-a-killer trope, is to establish themselves as uni-dimensional characters before being assassinated. Occasionally with comic effect. Mostly just shot, boringly, through the head.

And we have the social media Ben Lyk (Eugene Simon), around whom this farce approximately revolves, who is obsessed with “Lyks”. Because he’s building his online profile! Geddit?

The police are variously incompetent, bullying and just plain, downright corrupt. In fact, about the only remotely likeable characters were the irrational Mafia Boss (William Sciortino), who is behind all this mayhem, and his hench-assassin Bale (Martyn Ford).

I think I get it, I really do. In write-ups and promo material for this film, the word “farce” gets tossed around liberally, suggesting that French director Erwan Marinopoulos is aiming to locate his work in that genre. In terms of pace, he’s nailed it: it is just that farce requires something more; a certain je ne sais quoi to keep the audience engaged.

I’m also not against anyone dusting down the ol’ Cat and Canary premise: no matter how stupid the idea that the police, knowing someone is trying to kill ALL of the Ben Lyk’s, would then obligingly put them up for the night in a remote country house with dodgy wiring and an unguarded fuse box. Is that a spoiler? Perhaps. But minor only, since the killer’s modus operandi is nothing if not predictable.

It’s just, to make this form work, you need to like, or at very least, feel one’s emotions engaged by those about to die. You need to feel some sympathy for someone, not be so irritated by the constant screaming and panicking that you can’t wait for the killer to arrive and finish them off.

You could probably do without the unsavoury digs in the direction of minorities that feel like they crawled out of a second-rate 70s sit com. There’s racism: yes, let’s make the guy with the hyper-active sex drive a black dude (Ashley Thomas). There’s homophobia: let’s throw in some gay lust as perverse and disturbing. And there’s transphobia, in the form of almost every single “comedy” cliché in the book, directed at an is-she-isn’t-she-a-woman character with some serious personality flaws.

I am not going to say don’t watch it. Despite all of the flaws listed out above (and there are many more), it filled a gap. In my case, the gap between finishing up on everything else and bedtime. I did laugh at the ludicrous opening scene featuring a woman in elaborate medieval garb engaged in enthusiastic rumpy-pumpy with a guy wearing a suit of armour. I wasn’t completely icked at any point. I did not feel the need to turn off.

So if you are looking for what in another age would have been described as B-movie, you might enjoy this. But remember: you have been warned.

Reviewed on: 27 Aug 2020
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Kill Ben Lyk packshot
A YouTuber named Ben Lyk is put in a safe house with his namesakes after they start getting bumped off one by one.

Director: Erwan Marinopoulos

Writer: Jean-Christophe Establet, Oliver Maltman, Erwan Marinopoulos

Starring: Martyn Ford, Bronson Webb, Dimitri Leonidas, Eugene Simon, Gretchen Egolf, Simone Ashley, Ashley Thomas, Meena Rayann, Scroobius Pip, Bruce Mackinnon, Daz Black, Charlie Rawes, Dan Cade, Adam Astill, Andrew Hall

Year: 2018

Runtime: 77 minutes

BBFC: 15 - Age Restricted

Country: UK, France


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