Metascore
62

Generally favorable reviews - based on 38 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 24 out of 38
  2. Negative: 4 out of 38
Watch On
  1. Reviewed by: Ian Nathan
    Jul 18, 2012
    60
    Family dysfunction to make Jeremy Kyle blush, but thanks to McConaughey's oily power and Friedkin's unflinching purpose it's a compelling beast.
  2. Reviewed by: Peter Bradshaw
    Jul 18, 2012
    60
    It is up to McConaughey's crooked cop to carry the picture: a sleek, loungingly casual loner whose hunger for violence, like his hunger for fried chicken, is finally and horribly gratified.
  3. Reviewed by: Rene Rodriguez
    Aug 24, 2012
    50
    You end up feeling sorry for all the actors forced to humiliate themselves, except for McConaughey, whose portrayal of sadistic, manipulative evil is mesmerizing, in part because it was so unexpected. He continues to surprise. Friedkin, sadly, continues to coast.
  4. Reviewed by: Claudia Puig
    Aug 2, 2012
    50
    The bone-crunchingly violent film has luridly entertaining moments. But by its resolution, this sleazy Southern Gothic nightmare has simply gone off the rails.
  5. Reviewed by: Anthony Lane
    Jul 30, 2012
    50
    Even if you like your movies sick and black, as many people do, it's hard to miss the irony: in the very act of trying to intensify his Southern tale, Friedkin dilutes the impact.
  6. Reviewed by: Manohla Dargis
    Jul 26, 2012
    50
    Mr. Friedkin, a director with a talent for kinetic screen violence, never finds his groove with Killer Joe, which lurches from realism to corn-pone absurdism and exploitation-cinema surrealism.
  7. Reviewed by: Lisa Schwarzbaum
    Jul 25, 2012
    50
    Killer Joe throws down a dare by expecting its audience to be the cool connoisseurs of the story's "comic" outrageousness, then rubbing viewers' faces in close-up scenes of brutality that reasonable people ought not to be able to watch. That up-close experience, however effectively done, is a movie specialty that's its own kind of mean.
  8. Reviewed by: Rex Reed
    Jul 24, 2012
    50
    When this sick, ludicrous cocktail of sex, violence and mayhem was first unveiled a year ago at the Toronto International Film Festival, one wag aptly described it as "the ghost of Tennessee Williams meets the spirit of Quentin Tarantino."
  9. Reviewed by: Dana Stevens
    Jul 28, 2012
    40
    The pleasure of watching McConaughey strut, preen, and menace his way through this Southern-fried black comedy (at least I think it's a comedy) isn't quite enough to save Killer Joe. The whole movie has something tonally off about it, not to mention a theatricality that works against it in a way Bug's didn't.
  10. 40
    Killer Joe isn't as outlandish in premise as it is in execution, which is saying something.
User Score
6.7

Generally favorable reviews- based on 114 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 21 out of 29
  2. Negative: 4 out of 29
  1. Nov 16, 2012
    9
    This is real film noir--not the private eye low key lighting kind but a real dip in the nasty stew of human greed and concupiscence. Hence,This is real film noir--not the private eye low key lighting kind but a real dip in the nasty stew of human greed and concupiscence. Hence, not for everyone. The actors are wonderful at revealing how naivete can turn amoral and good manners mask perversity and violence--and all regarded as part of the human comedy.. The cast is pitch perfect. A special cheer for McConaughey and for Gina Gershon and Emile Hirsch. Full Review »
  2. Jun 20, 2013
    5
    One messed up movie I give you that. The plot is rather shallow and the cast isn't that good. Only thing that really saves the film isOne messed up movie I give you that. The plot is rather shallow and the cast isn't that good. Only thing that really saves the film is McConaughey's strong performance. Still worth giving a chance though. Full Review »
  3. BKM
    Feb 25, 2013
    7
    Perhaps the greatest quality of Killer Joe is that it never pretends to be anything more than a wickedly deranged and entertaining piece ofPerhaps the greatest quality of Killer Joe is that it never pretends to be anything more than a wickedly deranged and entertaining piece of trash. Freed from the obligation to make any sort of artistic statement, Friedkin delivers the goods and coaxes stellar performances from his cast; particularly McConaughey and Church. It's definitely not for everyone, but it never tries to be. Full Review »