Hit List review: A template vigilante drama with a purposeful emotional core

The film is a manipulative ploy to grab the attention of audiences and leave them shocked, but thankfully, it works.

ByHaricharan Pudipeddi

Published:May 31, 2024

Hit List is helmed by Sooryakathir Kaakkallar and K Karthikeyan

Hit List (Tamil)

31-05-2024, Action Drama/Thriller, 2 hours 8 minutes U/A
  • Main Cast:Vijay Kanishka, Sarathkumar, Smruthi Venkat, Gautham Menon, Samuthirakani, Ramachandra Raju, Aishwarya Dutta, Munishkanth, Sithara, Balasaravanan, and Redin Kingsley
  • Director:Sooryakathir Kaakkallar and K Karthikeyan
  • Producer:KS Ravikumar
  • Music Director:C Sathya
  • Cinematography:K Ramcharan



Hit List feels like one of those films that’s a cheap rip-off of James Wan’s breakthrough hit—SAW (2004), where the most timid, unexpected character turns out to be the killer.

It also feels like your quintessential vigilante drama where a key character is on a mission to deliver twisted justice.

You can draw many such parallels with Hit List, directed by the Sooryakathir-K Karthikeyan duo. It only redeems itself strongly in the latter half with a purposeful emotional core.

Essentially, the Tamil film is mostly a generic thriller that is decent at best with some smart moments.


Gautham Menon and Vijay Kanishka in a still from the movie

Gautham Menon and Vijay Kanishka in a still from the movie. (Supplied)

Vijay Kanishka plays Vijay, a meek IT guy, whose world revolves around his mother and younger sister.

One day, Vijay receives an anonymous call and he’s told that his family has been kidnapped and held hostage.

Subsequently, the caller identifies himself as a masked psychopath and he puts Vijay through a series of twisted challenges, forcing him to become a killer with no remorse.

As Vijay becomes a puppet in the hands of the masked man, literally following his instructions to a tee, he is closely followed by the police department under the leadership of ACP Yazhvendan (Sarathkumar).

The police always end up a step behind the killer’s plan and pay the price as Vijay is forced to take one life after another.

The rest of the story is about finding out the masked man’s identity while ensuring the safety of Vijay’s family.

Telugu watchlist: Will Ram and Prabhas end Tollywood’s dry spell this June?

Strikes a chord despite its flaws

Sarathkumar in Hit List

Sarathkumar in ‘Hit List’. (X)

In his acting debut, Vijay Kanishka is surprisingly decent. His transformation from a timid IT guy into a ruthless killer—sans heroism and filled with helplessness—is quite convincing.

One of the reasons Vijay manages to impress is mainly because he never tries to be heroic but mostly remains believable in his character.

Hit List isn’t flawless and even little moments of brilliance are scenes that are directly lifted from SAW.

Nevertheless, it still manages to strike a chord deep within because of a backstory involving a key character (featuring Smruthi Venkat) that packs an emotional punch.

Smruti Venkat in a cameo is appropriately effective.

Hit List is a manipulative ploy to grab the attention of audiences and leave them shocked, but thankfully, it works in the overall context of the film.

The only other aspect of the movie worth discussing is the camerawork.

Further, the realistic action sequences deserve a special mention.

Tamil watchlist: Vijay Sethupathi’s ‘Maharaja’ is the sole known release this June


Among the recent slate of small films that have come into Tamil cinema, Hit List manages to stay on top with its moments and use of suspense.

It is one of those thrillers you don’t mind sitting through when you don’t have much to do.

(Views expressed here are personal.)