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The Killing Gene (2007)

waz movie poster

The Killing Gene (2007) A calculating killer coerces a detective to pay for his previous mistakes.

To make things slightly more complicated than they need to be, this film has several titles. Over here in the UK, the movie is known as WΔZ (pronounced double-u delta zed). However, it was released in the United States with the title The Killing Gene. Try looking for it on IMDB, and you will see it listed as w Delta z. Confused? Good.

the killing gene poster

This British made movie boasts an excellent cast. Stellan Skarsgård, Melissa George, Selma Blair, Ashley Walters, Paul Kaye and (most importantly for this reviewer) Tom Hardy all show up and put on a great show.

The plot revolves around the veteran detective Eddie Argo (Stellan Skarsgård) and his new partner Helen Wescott (Melissa George) who meet at the scene of a homicide. The pregnant girlfriend of a known thug has been found murdered and further investigations reveal a serial killer is at work with a taste for torture. As the pair try to figure out who is behind the killing and why, things get personal when they find that this serial killer is not picking the victims at random, as all of them are key players in a past criminal case Eddie had fumbled. The killer seems to be serving out a form of perverted justice while simultaneously using the victims to test out a mathematical equation.

the killing gene

Some are mutilated while others have the Price equation (wΔz = Cov (w,z) = βwzVz) carved into their flesh. The equation is where the films titles come from, as it is a mathematical description of evolution and natural selection. It provides us a way to understand the effects that gene transmission and natural selection have on the proportion of genes within each new generation of a population. Or so the theory goes.

The detective and his partner unearth the meaning of the odd equation and realise each victim is being offered a gruesome choice: kill your loved ones, or be killed. Before long it becomes clear that the perpetrator has suffered a similar fate and is now coping by seeking a way to solve this philosophical dilemma.

melissa george

Comparisons to movies like Saw & Se7en are inevitable, especially when those films are quoted on the movie posters. Police thriller plus some torture, all sounds like something you’ve seen many times before. Yet The Killing Gene is a worthy entry into the horror/thriller genre, and was an enjoyable watch. The main reason was because of the cast. I’m a big fan of Melissa George from her role in one of my favourite movies Triangle, and she doesn’t disappoint here. Her partner, Skarsgård, is fantastic as a man who has his fair share of skeletons locked away in the closet. To say any more about his character would ruin the twists this movie surprised me with, but needless to say a poorer actor could well have ruined this script and performance. Skarsgård knocks out it of the park luckily, what a performance. I could go on about the whole cast, but I would ruin more and it’s easier if I just say they were all excellent. I will just add that Tom Hardy plays a horrible character (as he does so well, like in The Take) and steals every scene he is in. Phenomenal actor.

tom hardy the killing gene

For some people, the violence on show here may put you off. It is quite extreme, but unlike the Hostel and Saw series, it really is a backdrop to the story, and in a weird way is well deserved to those on the receiving end. Be aware though, if you do check it out, a couple of scenes are not for the faint hearted. Although I’m not talking Martyrs standard, don’t worry. Pretty tame in comparison.

the killing gene movie

It’s always nice to see a low-budget British movie offer something refreshing and relatively unique. I’m not trying to convince you it’s the perfect movie, far from it. Inept cops and some dubious procedure would be two things that jumped out at me straight away. A little bit of the dialogue was sketchy at best, but the positive aspects far outweighed these little niggles for me. You could do a lot worse than looking out for The Killing Gene (or w Delta z, or  WΔZ). Plus, who doesn’t love Tom Hardy, even before he was an A-lister.

Pierre tom hardy

Did-you-know

Associate producer Brock Norman Brock, supporting actor Tom Hardy, and cinematographer Morten Søborg shortly after this film would work with Nicolas Winding Refn. Brock (as co-writer) and Hardy (in the lead titular role) in Bronson and Søborg (who is famous for his work with Refn) in Valhalla Rising.

Ratings08

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42 Comments

  1. Nice one mate. I love a bit of Hardy so I would definitely give this a whirl. I’ve not seen The Take either actually and I’ve only heard good things about that.

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    • He’s not in it a huge amount, but his few scenes alone are worth it, he just owns the screen. I need to re-post my thoughts on The Take, if linking it above doesnt send some people towards it. Phenomenal TV show!

      Cheers buddy 🙂

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  2. You’re right, it’s a great cast. I must see this. A lot of people in the US aren’t sure about Hardy, but I think he’s a superb talent. I saw so many bad views of him in the last Batman; however, I thought his performance more than adequate.

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    • I think Hardy is up there with Gosling as the most exciting talent working, for me anyway. I know I’m banging on about it, but Hardy gives his best performance in The Take (which I linked to). Even better than Bane, which like you, I thought he did great as.

      Cheers Marc 🙂

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  3. Good review my man. In fact, your review is better than the film itself. I didn’t really take to this, to be honest. I done brief write-up myself a while back. Nobody read it, though. 😦

    Here’s a shameless plug, if your interested?

    http://mrmarakai.wordpress.com/2012/01/28/w-delta-z-the-killing-gene/

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  4. Not one I’ve heard of, although will be checking it out off the back of your great review 🙂

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  5. Wow, I definitely need to watch this, even if it is for that amazing cast. Seems like something I’d enjoy, even if it isn’t on Martyrs level…well, nothing is. Awesome write-up!

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    • The cast really is strong, these kind of direct to video deals don’t always (hardly ever) work well, so its a nice surprise when they do. Nothing is on Martyrs level you’re right. Incredible flick that one, just not for everyone.

      Thanks Joseph 🙂

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  6. Ooh, may have to give this one a try. I have Triangle on DVD but not watched it yet so will have to make an effort

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    • Triangle was a breath of fresh air, so clever and unique, I loved it. This one isnt quite as good, but still well worth a watch. Hope you enjoy them 🙂

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  7. Great review man, thanks for bringing this to my attention.

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  8. davecrewe

     /  August 19, 2013

    Nice review! This sounds interesting – hard to believe it’s over 5 years old and I’ve never heard of it! I’ll make an effort to hunt this down.

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    • Yeah it came out not long after SAW, and the poster looked similar, and the plot, I guess it passed most people by. I’m here to shine some light!! Hope you can find it, and I look forward to your thoughts.

      Cheers Dave 🙂

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  9. Sounds very intriguing, Tyson. I’ll give it a screening down the line, my friend. Thanks.

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  10. It’s not the violence that would turn me away, it’s the MATH! Equations are scary!!!
    Great review buddy! 🙂

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  11. theipc

     /  August 19, 2013

    HMMM – never heard of this one – sounds good, hombre!!

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  12. Hey Tyson. I’m back now.

    I like the Skarsgárds. Alexander and Stellan (Stellan also is in Thor and Avengers {Assemble} and Alexander is in True Blood and Battleships)

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  13. DAT CAST

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  14. I’ll keep an eye out for whatever it’s called 🙂

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  15. How is it that Tom Hardy is not even on the DVD cover?? I like him a lot but this is too spooky for my taste, Tyson. I’m w/ Smash, not only are the violence scary for me, there’s also math involved. A big no-no, ahah.

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    • I guess this led to Bronson, and then the acclaim followed. He has a few scenes here too, definitely steals the show. May be a little dark for you Ruth, but I always appreciate you taking the time to stop by. Thank you 🙂

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  16. gregory moss

     /  August 25, 2013

    Tom Hardy rocks! So looking forward to him playing Max. 🙂

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