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62

Generally favorable reviews - based on 38 Critics What's this?

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6.6

Generally favorable reviews- based on 100 Ratings

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  • Starring: , , , ,
  • Summary: When 22-year-old Chris finds himself in debt to a drug lord, he hires a hit man to dispatch his mother, whose $50,000 life insurance policy benefits his sister Dottie. Chris finds Joe Cooper, a creepy, crazy Dallas cop who moonlights as a contract killer. When Chris can't pay Joe upfront, Joe sets his sight on Dottie as collateral for the job. The contract killer and his hostage develop an unusual bond. Like from a modern-day, twisted fairy tale, "Killer Joe" Cooper becomes the prince to Dottie's Cinderella. (LD Entertainment) Expand
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 24 out of 38
  2. Negative: 4 out of 38
  1. Reviewed by: Adam Nayman
    Aug 10, 2012
    100
    Credit goes to the actors (especially Gershon) for giving almost as good as they get in seriously demanding roles, and to Friedkin for having what it takes – guts, chops and a refreshing lack of artistic caution – to bring things thundering home.
  2. Reviewed by: Scott Tobias
    Jul 25, 2012
    83
    This is not some nostalgia-soaked throwback to the noir of old, but a rude, shit-kicking thriller that co-opts - and merrily defiles - a classic like "Double Indemnity." Whatever its shortcomings, at least they're never failures of nerve.
  3. Reviewed by: Betsy Sharkey
    Aug 2, 2012
    80
    By far the film's deadliest weapon is McConaughey. The way the actor leans into threats, dropping his voice, wrapping eloquence in sinister tones, is skin-crawling. The muscles in his neck literally seem to tense one by one. And if the eyes are the window to the soul, you really don't want to peer for long into his. It is not an easy performance to watch, but it is unforgettable.
  4. Reviewed by: Peter Travers
    Jul 26, 2012
    75
    Even when the film goes too far over the top to be saved, McConaughey mesmerizes.
  5. Reviewed by: Joe Williams
    Aug 24, 2012
    63
    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.
  6. 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.
  7. Reviewed by: Joe Morgenstern
    Jul 26, 2012
    0
    Killer Joe is, at bottom - and I mean bottom - ugly and vile, not to mention dumb and clumsy.

See all 38 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 19 out of 26
  2. Negative: 3 out of 26
  1. Dec 22, 2012
    10
    This is the work of a seasoned, masterful Director leading a cast through a " black as coal" script - and it works perfectly. Matthew McConaughey leads a terrific cast, all of whom commit to everything in the script. Kudos to the entire cast for taking this risk. This is a modern day film noir classic, just be prepared for a film that doesn't flinch. Expand
  2. Mar 11, 2013
    9
    This film shows everyone how good Matthew McConaughey is when he's in the right role. Sure there are a few disturbing things in this film, but I kind of dug it anyway. Expand
  3. Jul 31, 2012
    9
    Matthew McConaughey completely steals the show in Killer Joe, where he plays a detective who also works as a hired gun. McConaughey has moved himself away from the typical "pretty boy" roles he usually takes on and instead portrays a cold, ruthless killer with a contrasting strange taste for fine etiquette. Definitely the performance of the year thus far. Expand
  4. Jan 2, 2013
    8
    I am a 23-year-old man and this movie is going to give me nightmares. I don't think I've ever seen a more disturbing movie. The only character that's actually likeable in the entire film is "Ansel". I can't think of anything else to say except this movie is both good and extremely unsettling. Collapse
  5. Jun 3, 2013
    6
    As described by many, Killer Joe is a neo-noir set in Texas. For lovers of noir, it is a welcomed occurrence, because the genre is not popular. However, it definitely carries things very far. It breaks censorship's boundaries unimaginable in the 40's and pushes the limit very far even for 2012.

    The plot revolves around a family of dim-witted red-necks plotting a murder to collect insurance money. The key word being dim-witted. Chris (played to perfection by Hirsch) is the son, a pathetic looser who sets the plot in motion due to his debt with a drug lord. Despite his many shortcomings, I could not help feeling sorry for Chris, also because of all the beating he takes.

    Enter father Ansel and step-mum Sharla (some entrance she makes). They both agree with the plan to kill Chris's mum, a drunkard with an insurance policy and a boyfriend named Rex. The beneficiary of the policy is said to be daughter Dottie. Being the dumbest of the family, she is also the more dangerous, because her actions are completely unpredictable.

    Chris hires Killer Joe and from then on the movie takes an even darker turn, as if planning to kill one's mother is not bad enough. Joe decides to keep Dottie as a retainer, since the family cannot pay in advance for his services. This upsets Chris, who is protective towards little sister Dottie, although in a disproportionate way. After mum's been disposed off, huge trouble erupts.

    Without giving too much away, I would suggest keeping double indemnity in mind and not only as a reference to one of the best classic noirs ever made. Also, do not forget about Rex, those face remains unseen…For what concerns the notorious scene at the end, I never saw a drumstick used like Joe does and I hope never to see it again. As far as disturbing goes, that will be a scene difficult to top. Think about Blue Velvet/Rossellini/Hopper, but sicker.

    Contrary to audiences in the US, nobody left the screening room in Brussels. However, considering the level of gore reached by horror movies, I wonder why part of the audience is squeamish only about some scenes but can watch bodies being dismembered without any problem…

    The biggest surprise of the film was McConaughey playing cool and brutal cop/hired killer Joe. I am so used seeing him playing the bland boyfriend I did not think he could be convincing. I loved the scene of Joe arrival and the watch dog shutting up, after non-stop barking. It just sets the right atmosphere without any word being spoken.

    So far I thought of McConaughey as an American Hugh Grant, but I honestly do not think Grant could manage anything of the sort. Hope McConaughey will continue trying interesting roles and drop the "boyfriend" route.
    Expand
  6. 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 is McConaughey's strong performance. Still worth giving a chance though. Expand
  7. Dec 24, 2012
    0
    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. Expand

See all 26 User Reviews

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