User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 104 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 81 out of 104
  2. Negative: 12 out of 104

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  1. Aug 22, 2012
    I do not see how any one saw this movie as an under rated gem. I saw it as a cheap gimmick that insulted my intelligence. Trashy humor is nothing new so if you are going to do it you had better do it well. They don't! Excessive violence is nothing new so if you are going to do it, you had better do it well. They don't. Thomas Hayden Church was funny but McConaughey looked liked a fool in his role. Morgernstern's review nailed this film. Read it and I agree entirely. Expand
  2. Dec 24, 2012
    This movie is a complete waste of time. If you are into trashy dumb movies with over the top violence and stupidity you will probably like this movie. The ending is beyond ignorant.
  3. Oct 8, 2012
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. Marshal Will Kane, in High Noon, gives Helen Ramirez, a Mexican prostitute, advance warning about the gun-slinging menace heading their way. Frank Miller is returning home, and that can only spell trouble for the denizens of this New Mexico outback, especially Helen, since both men were the whore's intimates. Just because the marshal found himself a respectable girl, the former Amy Fowler, it doesn't mean Kane, gentleman that he is, would forget about a past lover. Gary Cooper stood for law and order; his character was an honorable man, a good man. It's what moviegoers expected in 1952. Sure, there was an audience that championed low-lives, the deceitful men and women who populated the dark shadows of film noir, but it's doubtful if those same vicarious thrill-seekers could handle Lou Ford, the anti-hero protagonist in Jim Thompson's The Killer Inside Me, a roman noir about the deputy sheriff of a two bit Texas town who had a hankering for kinky sex and murdering women with his bare hands. Also released in '52, The Killer Inside Me can be read as a degenerate inverse of High Noon, since not only does Lou kill the whore, but his fiance, as well. Due to the brute force and exceptional cruelty inherent in the violence, it's understandable as to why The Killer Inside Me never made it to the screen, even during the heyday of the crime film. Thompson writes: "I backed her against the wall, slugging, and it was like pounding a pumpkin." The Hayes Production Code, with its strictures put on violent and sexual content, in effect, rendered such an image practically unfilmable, or rather, because of the times, the filmmaker wouldn't be able to carry out the pulp writer's diseased outlook on humanity with any real integrity. Arguably, Michael Winterbottom, afforded with the luxury of celluloidal frankness in the way of visceral thrills, delves into Thompson's imagination with such vivid precision, it borders on unconscionable depravity. His serious grindhouse approach to violence is hard to stomach. When Lou Ford carves up Joyce Lakeland's face, she ends up with malleable skin, bloodied, a surface disfigured by bareknuckle punches. She becomes the smashed pumpkin that Thompson implied. Even worse, in the film noir sense, it's an unjustified murder, because Joyce is no femme fatale. She loves Lou: doesn't even smoke. In Killer Joe, Sharla gets it pretty bad, too, but unlike Joyce, the trailer trash housewife is a femme fatale, the kind who lets another man do her bidding in order to collect on an insurance policy's capital sum(a la Barbara Stanwyck). Schematically speaking, as it pertains to genre, the money hungry waitress gets what she deserves. Returning home with a bucket of chicken from KFC, Sharla asks Joe, "What do you like, light or dark meat?" "Leg," he answers. Not a drumstick, a leg. The word choice is important. The filmmaker applies the "graphic imperative"(in short, what goes on after the screen fades to black) to the classic film noir, through the self-conscious updating of the Billy Wilder film, in which the causation of blood, and especially, sex, would have been left to the moviegoer's imagination. Whereas the police detective sexualizes the drumstick by forcing Sharla to perform oral sex on a deep-fried phallic object, Walter Neff, insurance salesman, does the same to Phyllis Dietrichson's leg, **** it("and the way that anklet cut into her leg."), as the oil tycoon's wife climbs down "that silly staircase." Double Indemnity gets around the unrealistic likelihood of their relationship being a chaste one by making Neff a fallible narrator. He dictates a whitewashing memo into the claims manager's dictaphone, rife with obvious gaps. "So we just sat there," Neff says, but after Phyllis leaves his apartment, he straightens out the bunched-up rug with his shoe, evidence of lovemaking on the floor. With her stepdaughter, whom Neff admits to seeing "three or four times a week," an improper affair is suggested, telling Keyes that "one night we went up into the hills behind the Hollywood Bowl," a secluded place where sex is a potentiality. In Killer Joe, the titular character uses Dottie, an underage girl, as a retainer, when her brother can't scrounge up the money. Not for nothing is Walter's special friend named Lola(read: Lolita), and the filmmaker knows it, since here, Joe wants to run away with the virgin, and more disturbingly, so does Chris, thereby forming a bizarre love triangle. "Straight down the middle," is how Walter and Phyllis describe their murder plot, and perhaps, not coincidentally, the siblings, in Killer Joe, walk down a train track, the place where Mr. Dietrichson's cold body ends up. Dottie, is both, a good and bad girl, the heroine and the femme fatale. Although she has a hand in her mother's murder, the girl is also a victim of child abuse. When Dottie shoots Chris, the girl inhabits both roles simultaneously. Expand
  4. Jan 25, 2013
    Killer Joe disappointed me due to a weak story and weaker characters. Matthew McConaughey was decent as usual (I tend to appreciate the characters/acting he brings to a film). However, the frustratingly unlikable supporting cast and overly offensive story elements did not work for me. For those planning on watching this movie, be aware there a moments in the film (at least in the unrated version) that come off as "lets shock the audience by adding something completely pointless and disgusting". I give it a 3 instead of a 0 because Matthew McConaughey, the camera work, the sound, and the editing were not the worst I've seen in a movie (although I'm having trouble remembering a movie I have liked less). Collapse

Generally favorable reviews - based on 38 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 24 out of 38
  2. Negative: 4 out of 38
  1. Reviewed by: Joe Williams
    Aug 24, 2012
    Killer Joe is one of the most repugnant parodies of small-town stupidity that you will ever see, and Friedkin amplifies the shrill obscenities with blaring cartoon and kung-fu footage from his art director's fever dreams.
  2. Reviewed by: Mike Scott
    Aug 24, 2012
    An unflinchingly ugly -- but downright mesmerizing -- tale that plumbs the depths of human immorality and, along the way, offers a dash of subtle commentary on just how far we, as a 312 million-member nuclear family, might have lost our way.
  3. Reviewed by: Rene Rodriguez
    Aug 24, 2012
    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.