In a film as filled to the brim with deliciously nasty characters and dialogue as “Killer Joe,” it’s been frustrating to see it marketed down through snatches of seemingly generic action beats and lines in the trailer. Luckily though, two new clips have appeared to give a better sense of the film’s tone overall, as well as a nice look at the scene-chewing from its excellent cast.
The first clip runs two minutes, and revolves around the Smith family as they let a failed insurance policy payout raise tensions even more, mostly from father Ansel (Thomas Haden Church) toward his son Chris (Emile Hirsch). Gina Gershon and Juno Temple portray the other members of the family, and if everything seems a bit arch and blackly comic, then the second clip with Temple confirms as much. As Temple cheerily explains her matricidal support later to Matthew McConaughey’s Killer Joe, the drolly terrifying assassin asked by Chris to off his mom for her insurance money, the enthusiasm from her and McConaughey over their twisted roles is crystal-clear and great to watch.
That goes for everyone in the film as well, and it’s a testament to director William Friedkin that it never falls too far into grindhouse schlock (although there are moments that toe the line). It’s an immensely dark, hilarious flick, and one that will need all the help it can get when the NC-17 thriller opens July 27 in the US for a limited run. Watch the first clip below, and head over to The Guardian for the non-embeddable second. [Digital Spy/The Guardian]