Joe R. Lansdale

review cold in july

Editor’s note: Our review of Cold In July originally ran during this year’s Sundance Film Festival, but we’re re-running it now as the film opens in limited theatrical release. Richard Dane (Michael C. Hall) awakens one night to a noise elsewhere in the house. Fearing an intruder, he retrieves a gun from the closet, tells his wife to stay put, and cautiously moves towards the living room. Seconds later, a young burglar’s deceased body falls onto the couch with a bullet through the eye. The town sees Dane as a hero, and the sheriff covers up the fact that the burglar was unarmed, but the quiet family man is left unsettled by the incident. Complicating things further is the recent parole of the dead man’s father, Russel (Sam Shepard). Dane attends the funeral from a distance but is surprised by a face to face encounter with Russel that makes it clear the man is not the forgiving type. When Russel makes the threat that much clearer with a frightening visit to Dane’s home it becomes clear the two men are in for an unavoidable collision. And then the story moves in an entirely new and unexpected direction.

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