Cold in July (2014)

Jim Mickle directs Michael C. Hall, Sam Shepard and Don Johnson in this adaptation of Joe R Lansdale’s crime novel where a mild mannered family man gets dragged into a twisting tale of revenge and vigilantism after shooting a house breaker in self-defence.

This is the real deal. It wowed me at the cinema and it wowed me again as I rewatched and relished all of its unsqueamish violence and bleak worldview in a hotel lobby on my tablet last Sunday. Maybe I’m biased. I loved Michael C Hall in Six Feet Under and Dexter. I spent my late teens devouring Joe R Lansdale’s hardboiled, horror inflected, blackly humorous novels. The ominous 80’s inspired synth score and symbiotic moonlight illuminated filming style doesn’t hurt either. It doesn’t add up to much more than a slow Death Wish wannabe but it works, hits the spots, sates cinematic cravings I have. I want to give it a higher score but something holds my hand. Steadies me from crowning it an out-and-out B movie classic. Maybe after a few more watches it will elevate into a true neon blue favourite. If this is your thing, then this is our thing. Everyone else can keep on moving. The gory yet measured Jim Mickle’s best film.

8

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