Kill Your Friends

Movie review by
Jeffrey M. Anderson, Common Sense Media
Kill Your Friends Movie Poster Image
Cynical, unfunny, depressing mess about greed and murder.
  • NR
  • 2016
  • 103 minutes

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Kids say

age 18+
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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

Advocates criminal activities and blackmail to get ahead; these acts aren't really punished, unless you consider that the characters are all very unhappy all the time.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Characters indulge in cynical, callous, and even criminal behavior with no obvious repercussions. They're rich but generally unhappy.

Violence

Brutal murder; a man is strangled, then bludgeoned to death with a trophy. Bashed skull, with spattering blood. Stabbing, blood and gore. References to child pornography.

Sex

Several topless women. Sexual situations; characters with several casual sex partners. Threesome. Kissing. Lapdance. Heavy sexual innuendo/imagery. Women objectified.

Language

Constant strong language includes nonstop words like "f--k," "s--t," "c--t," "t-ts," "bitch," "d--k," "ass," etc.

Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Near-constant alcohol drinking and cocaine snorting. Cigarette smoking. Self-destructive drug binges. Various pills are consumed with psychedelic and other effects.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Kill Your Friends is supposed to be a dark comedy about greedy, cynical corporate types in the music business, but it's more depressing than funny. It's most definitely not for kids; the violence, sex, language, drinking, and drug content are all extremely strong. There are bloody, brutal murders, toplessness, a threesome, and characters with multiple casual sex partners. Language includes near-constant use of "f--k," plus "c--t," "s--t," "t-ts," and many other words. Characters drink almost constantly, as well as smoke, snort cocaine, and sometimes go on other drug binges. Consequences are few, and no lessons are learned. This type of thing was done much better in American Psycho and The Wolf of Wall Street.

User Reviews

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Teen, 13 years old Written byxMovieReviewer_ June 19, 2016

Gory murder, greed thriller has lots of sex and drug use but is a hit and miss.

My rating:R for bloody violence, a scene of sexuality/nudity, language, and drug use.

What's the story?

In 1997, cynical A&R man Steven Stelfox (Nicholas Hoult) is in the midst of a boom time for English pop music but stresses over what to do next. To sign a band might cost him his job -- but to miss the chance of signing the right band could have the same result. He tries to sign beloved indie group The Lazies but is also faced with the prospect of signing a Spice Girls-like act. At the same time, Steven wants a promotion at work but fears that his cocaine-addicted co-worker will get it. So Steven murders him. This brings about blackmail, and further changes at the office require Steven to commit more crimes. Will he find his perfect hit?

Is it any good?

Sometimes bad behavior can be entertaining, but in this cynical story of the music industry, it's simply depressing. There's no vicarious thrill, no exhilaration, only uninspired, unpunished meanness. It calls to mind The Wolf of Wall Street, which cooked up a frenetic, intoxicating pace, as well as American Psycho, which was genuinely alluring and shocking at the same time. But KILL YOUR FRIENDS is none of these things. It goes too far into cynicism but not far enough into titillation. It doesn't even feel like satire.

Hoult is a fine actor, and he does what he can here, but Steven is just reprehensible enough to push viewers away. He's not funny, his crimes have no set-up and no payoff, and his activities in the music business mean nothing; he's not particularly excited or repelled by any kind of music, and not even the soundtrack with hits of the day (Blur, The Prodigy, Oasis, Radiohead, etc.) can help. In fact, it almost makes you want to never listen to music again.

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Movie details

For kids who love offbeat movies

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