Matthew McConaughey (Magic Mike)
Emile Hirsch (Lone Survivor)
Juno Temple (The Dark Knight Rises)
Gina Gershon (Riverdale)
Thomas Haden Church (Spider-Man 3)
Marc Macaulay (My Bloody Valentine)
In West Dallas, Texas, 22-year-old drug dealer Chris Smith comes to the house of his father Ansel and step-mother Sharla, after his mother, Adele, threw him out of her house. To make matters worse, Adele stole his cocaine money and spent it on fixing her car, and now Chris is desperate to pay off his debt to his dealer, Digger Soames, so he decides to murder his mother to collect the $50,000 life insurance of which his sister Dottie is the sole beneficiary. Assuming Dottie would share the money with Chris and their father, Chris manages to rope the dim-witted Ansel into hiring Joe Cooper, a police detective who has a side career as a contract killer, to kill Adele (Ansel’s ex-wife) to get the money. Chris and Ansel decide that after paying Joe from the proceeds of the life insurance policy, they will split the remainder four ways between themselves, Dottie, and Ansel’s wife Sharla. Dottie hears the plan as they are talking, and agrees that it’s a good idea.The plan almost fails when Joe demands all of the money in advance, which of course Chris and Ansel do not have. However, Joe is interested in the odd, childlike Dottie and offers to take her as a “retainer” until the insurance comes through. Through Dottie’s interaction with Joe, it is revealed that Adele tried to kill Dottie once when she was an infant. Joe “dates” Dottie and then appears to be staying over at their home and having sex with her regularly. Chris has a change of heart and asks him to call off the hit, only to discover that Joe has already killed Adele. With Chris’ reluctant help, Joe hides the body in a car and torches it.After Adele’s death is discovered, the family learns that the insurance beneficiary is actually Rex, Adele’s boyfriend, rather than her daughter Dottie. Chris then admits he originally heard the details about the policy from Rex, who also told him about Joe. Ansel then realizes that Rex duped Chris into hiring Joe to kill Adele. Immediately afterwards, Chris tries to talk Dottie into running away with him to escape Digger, who has already had two of his goons severely beat Chris up for not having repaid him. Dottie says she will go with him, but she must see Joe again first.When Ansel and Sharla return home from Adele’s funeral, they find Joe inside with Dottie. He comes out of her room and asks increasingly pointed questions of Sharla, which ultimately leads her to admit that she knew the policy was really $100,000 (accidental death is double). Joe shows them a check of that amount payable to Rex, as well as incriminating photos which prove Sharla was having an affair with Rex. Angered, Ansel declines to protect Sharla when Joe punches her and forces her to simulate oral sex on a fried chicken drumstick.Joe knows Chris is coming to take Dottie away and he threatens to kill Ansel and Sharla if they don’t stop him. After Chris is seated for dinner, Joe announces that he and Dottie will be married. Chris refuses to let them, ordering Dottie to leave with him; Joe tells her to stay where she is. For a moment Dottie sits there, then she gets up and turns and, while the men yell out at her, Chris threatens Joe with a gun and the two struggle. Ansel and Sharla jump in to assist Joe as he brutally beats Chris, not wanting to be killed by Joe if Chris flees with Dottie. In all the confusion, Dottie recovers the gun and, in a rage, she fires several shots, killing Chris and seriously wounding Ansel. Dottie turns the gun on Joe, telling him that she is pregnant. Joe appears overjoyed as he inches closer to Dottie. The film ends just as Dottie moves her finger back on the trigger.Killer Joe is a lot of things, but one thing it’s not is scatterbrained. It’s entirely focused and cohesive. All the genres it glosses over fit right into this depraved story arc, and it grips you to the screen from beginning to end. This movie certainly isn’t for everyone, but if you can stomach Killer Joe, you won’t soon forget it.