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

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Generally favorable reviews- based on 104 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
    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
    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
    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
    Even when the film goes too far over the top to be saved, McConaughey mesmerizes.
  5. 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.
  6. Reviewed by: Claudia Puig
    Aug 2, 2012
    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
    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: 21 out of 28
  2. Negative: 3 out of 28
  1. Sep 30, 2014
    A comedy as black as Beelzebub's soul. Brutality, sexual violence - not a film for the faint of heart or easily shocked. William Friedkin shows he hasn't mellowed in old age. Matthew McConaughey gives a brilliant performance as a cop who moonlights as a hit man and exploits with glee a family whose stupidity is matched only by their greed. This is Tennessee Williams on steroids. Expand
  2. Mar 20, 2013
    Killer Joe is Chiller Joe. This is the last word in dysfunctional families. The movie is by turns comic and horrifying, with no wrong notes struck and a happy ending to end all happy endings. We really do need to let Texas secede if they care to. Collapse
  3. Nov 16, 2012
    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. Expand
  4. Jan 2, 2013
    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. Expand
  5. Aug 31, 2014
    Wtf? Did anyone notice Matt M. (K.J.)'s badge number was 714. ...the same number that Jack Webb had in Dragnet.... The same number that was written on a quaalude .... WTF ? Expand
  6. Oct 2, 2012
    This ambitious film tries to be trashy noir, but ends up mostly garbage. A trailer park family (Emile Hirsch, Gina Gershon, Thomas Haden Church) conspires to kill their estranged matriarch for her money and hire a pro (Matthew McConaughey) to do the job. Turns out he's real twisted and when things inevitably go awry, he twists even more. There are two problems: the script isn't smart or sassy enough for the genre and most of the cast isn't believable. The exception is McConaughey, who's savoring every bit of scenery in that mobile home. The assured hand of director William Friedkin keeps the film competently watchable, but the script gets in the way. Expand
  7. 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. Expand

See all 28 User Reviews