Cold in July

Jim Mickle’s violent black comedy Cold in July begins with a suburban family man (Michael C. Hall) confronting and then fatally shooting a burglar who’s broken into his home. The movie takes place in 1989 in east Texas, and the local sheriff who investigates the shooting writes it off as self-defense. Unfortunately for the man who pulled the trigger, Richard Dane, the burglar’s father is a hotheaded killer just released from prison; after getting word of the incident, ex-con Ben Russel comes to town and starts terrorizing Dane’s family. Watching Cold in July unfold, I was continually reminded of work by two other artists: John Carpenter, the director of such horror and sci-fi classics as Halloween (1978) and They Live (1988), and Sam Shepard, the longtime actor and playwright who won a Pulitzer Prize for his 1979 drama Buried Child. This is a shotgun marriage, to be sure, but it works. Continue reading >>