Killer Joe (4 stars)

Killer Joe

Excellent tense and trashy paranoid thriller from the director of The Exorcist

Following his 2006 paranoid thriller Bug, William Friedkin swaps its motel room setting for an only slightly less claustrophobic trailer park in this second consecutive adaptation of a Tracy Letts play. Killer Joe may not have the grandiose vision of Friedkin’s The Exorcist but this will similarly appal those of a sensitive nature.

Lean, mean, violent and visceral, this is a sickly funny down-at-heel Texan noir populated by unlikeable characters doing unspeakable things. Immoral and in debt, Chris Smith (Emile Hirsch) plans to bump his (unseen) mother off for her $50,000 life insurance policy, split the proceeds with his hick father (Thomas Haden Church) and slutty stepmother (Gina Gershon), and keep the plot from his naïve younger sister (Juno Temple).

Featuring a menacing Matthew McConaughey as the ruthless title character hired to pull the trigger, there’s a real Pulp Fiction vibe as Friedkin stokes this pressure-cooker situation with lashings of sex and bloodshed. One scene, involving Joe and a fried chicken drumstick, will live long in the memory (and may haunt Gershon to her grave).
Twisted, tense and trashy, it’s glorious fun.

Selected release from Fri 29 June.

Killer Joe Trailer

Killer Joe

  • 4 stars
  • 2011
  • US
  • 1h 43min
  • 18
  • Directed by: William Friedkin
  • Cast: Matthew McConaughey, Emile Hirsch, Juno Temple
  • UK release: 29 June 2012

Chris (Hirsch) wants to have his mother killed for the insurance and keep it from his naïve younger sister (Temple), so he hires the titular Joe (McConaughey) to do the job: mayhem ensues. A sickly funny down-at-heel Texan noir about dislikeable characters doing unspeakable things, it's twisted, trashy fun.

Elsewhere on the web