Blood runs thick through the heart of Texas as “Cold in July” unfolds. Based on the book by the same name, the story starts off simply enough as a family wakes up to the sound of an intruder breaking into their house. The husband, with gun shaking in his hand, winds up shooting the intruder but this is where the family’s problems begin. Turns out the intruder was the son of a rather serious criminal who takes it upon himself to stalk the family in retribution for his dead son.
Then things get complicated.
To say anything more about the plot would be doing a great disservice to what director Jim Mickle (“We Are What We Are”, “Stake Land”) has in store for you. Having long been a rising name in the horror genre thanks to films with memorial characters while eschewing clichés, Mickle now sinks his teeth into thriller territory and does so with aplomb. The plot efficiently builds tension throughout the film and leads to a bloodbath of a finale that would make Tarantino proud. Despite the film’s pulpy and dialogue heavy pace the film constantly keeps the audience engaged and guessing all thanks to a fantastic trio of actors. Michael C. Hall (“Dexter”), Sam Shepherd (“Mud”), and Don Johnson (“Django Unchained”) are riveting in their respective roles of scared husband and father, threatening criminal, and private investigator; Johnson steals the film with his much needed comedic role.
This is a dark and bloody tale where tender scenes of forgiveness and family are broken up by swift and terrible moments of violence and evil all taking place in a late 80’s version of East Texas where gas is $1.30 and country music and pulsing techno fit side by side on the radio (the film boast a impressive, “Drive”-esque soundtrack). If you like your thrillers retro, bloody, and with a dash of dark sense of humor then “Cold in July” should not be missed. The film is out now in select theaters.
Photo Source: Jim Mickle