Newest Reviews
Western Stars
League of Gentlemen, The
Higher Power
IT Chapter Two
Rich Kids
Glory Guys, The
Serial Killer's Guide to Life, A
Lovers and Other Strangers
Shiny Shrimps, The
Good Woman is Hard to Find, A
Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark
Doctor at Sea
Death Cheaters
Wild Rose
Mystify: Michael Hutchence
Devil's Playground, The
Cleanin' Up the Town: Remembering Ghostbusters
Mega Time Squad
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker
Souvenir, The
Birds of Passage
Woman at War
Happy as Lazzaro
Mickey's Christmas Carol
Marriage Story
Santa Claus is a Bastard
Star, The
Tom & Jerry: A Nutcracker Tale
Christmas Carol, A
Legend of the Demon Cat
Adventures of Sinbad, The
Love & Peace
Newest Articles
Bash Street Kid: Cosh Boy on Blu-ray
Seeing is Believing: Being There on Blu-ray
Top Thirty Best (and Ten Worst) Films of the 2010s by Andrew Pragasam
Top of the Tens: The Best Films of the Decade by Graeme Clark
Terrorvision: A Ghost Story for Christmas in the 1970s
Memories Are Made of This: La Jetee and Sans Soleil on Blu-ray
Step Back in Time: The Amazing Mr. Blunden on Blu-ray
Crazy Cats and Kittens: What's New Pussycat on Blu-ray
No Place Like Home Guard: Dad's Army - The Lost Episodes on Blu-ray
A Real-Life Pixie: A Tribute to Michael J. Pollard in Four Roles
We're All In This Together: The Halfway House on Blu-ray
Please Yourselves: Frankie Howerd and The House in Nightmare Park on Blu-ray
Cleesed Off: Clockwise on Blu-ray
Sorry I Missed You: Les Demoiselles de Rochefort on Blu-ray
Silliest of the Silly: Monty Python's Flying Circus Series 1 on Blu-ray
Protest Songs: Hair on Blu-ray
Peak 80s Schwarzenegger: The Running Man and Red Heat
Rock On: That'll Be the Day and Stardust on Blu-ray
Growing Up in Public: 7-63 Up on Blu-ray
Learn Your Craft: Legend of the Witches and Secret Rites on Blu-ray
70s Psycho-Thrillers! And Soon the Darkness and Fright on Blu-ray
Split: Stephen King and George A. Romero's The Dark Half on Blu-ray
Disney Post-Walt: Three Gamechangers
But Doctor, I Am Pagliacci: Tony Hancock's The Rebel and The Punch and Judy Man on Blu-ray
Once Upon a Time in Deadwood: Interview with Director Rene Perez
  Cold in July The ProtectorsBuy this film here.
Year: 2014
Director: Jim Mickle
Stars: Michael C. Hall, Vinessa Shaw, Sam Shepard, Don Johnson, Bill Sage, Nick Damici, Brianda Agramonte, Kristin Griffith, Ken Holmes, Lanny Flaherty, Rachel Zeiger-Haag, Tim Lajcik, Brogan Hall, Happy Anderson, Laurent Rejto, Kris Eivers, Joseph Harrell
Genre: Thriller
Rating:  7 (from 1 vote)
Review: Ann Dane (Vinessa Shaw) wakes in the middle of the night with a start, convinced she has heard somebody in the house, and wakes her husband Richard (Michael C. Hall) in fear. Shakily, he finds his gun and loads it, then creeps out of the bedroom down the corridor to investigate; when he reaches the living room he is terrified to see an intruder shining a torch at him and when the clock strikes the hour he is startled into shooting, killing the burglar stone dead. The police are called, and he is informed by the investigating detective, Ray Price (Nick Damici), there will be no charges since it was clearly a case of self-defence. Richard has his reservations, but apparently if a homeowner is frightened into killing someone then that counts as self-defence in the eyes of the law...

Director Jim Mickle's star continued to rise with his run of cult success as he released Cold in July, his most prestigious effort to that date as an adaptation of crime and horror writer Joe R. Lansdale's novel of the same name. That was more in the thriller mould than the horror, though there were undoubtedly allusions to the shockers Mickle was influenced by, yet don't go in thinking this was set to be an out and out gorefest, it was more measured and sinister than that. Not to say there was no humour, as a good few darkly amusing scenes were concocted, yet the overall mood was weirdly joyless, as if the mess Richard gets himself embroiled with after killing the burglar is the making and undoing of him simultaneously.

The lead character is not exactly a man's man, not because of a deliberate rejection of macho values, more because he has never been tested in that field, so when he is suddenly a male who has joined the exclusive club of protecting those he loves through claiming a life, there's a definite shift of perspective. We don't know what he was like before this incident since we were not shown, but we can guess, and Michael C. Hall offers a convincing portrayal of not so much a weakling reborn, a worm that turns or any of that Coward of the County cliché, but more of a man whose ethics have been tested by his own actions, and those actions thrust him into an underworld where the morals of others are in no way to be taken for granted.

With a plot that takes in many gear changes from family in peril yarn to vigilante action flick, at first Mickle appeared to be paying tribute to the eighties thrillers which would feature conservative values under threat, the sort of Fatal Attraction tale where an outside force for chaos sends events spiralling off in crazy directions. Except it's no spurned lover as the cause, it's the father of the man Richard killed, Russell played by a grizzled Sam Shepard as a grieving and elderly man whose motives are hard to fathom, yet appear to be a campaign of intimidation towards Richard in a lead up to an act of revenge against the Danes, in particular targetting the young son (Brogan Hall) who innocently wants to play with toy guns in a manner his father now finds appalling.

That was the key to the dramatic aspect, the American worship of firearms as a method of getting your way. Every time a gun shows up, be they revolvers or shotguns or even machine guns, Mickle is making a point that there has to be a better way of solving problems which Richard grows increasingly blind to over the course of the narrative. Lightening the oppressive mood, at least for a while, was the presence of Don Johnson playing Texan private eye Jim Bob Luke whose nose for a case invites him into Richard's investigation when he realises from catching a glimpse of a wanted poster that the man he shot is not the habitual criminal the cops told him he removed from society. So why would the lawmen lie, and if they are lying, to what end? Cold in July was confident enough to leave its plot threads dangling, managing a resolution of a type that had you wondering what could possibly happen once the end credits started rolling. With a neat line in recreating the eighties, even down to Jeff Grace's excellent synth score, this never settled, and that was in its favour.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark


This review has been viewed 1334 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

Review Comments (0)

Untitled 1

Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.

Latest Poll
Which star is the best at shouting?
Arnold Schwarzenegger
Brian Blessed
Tiffany Haddish
Steve Carell
Olivia Colman
Captain Caveman
Sylvester Stallone
Gerard Butler
Samuel L. Jackson
Bipasha Basu

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Andrew Pragasam
Darren Jones
  Rachel Franke
Enoch Sneed
Paul Smith
Paul Shrimpton
  Desbris M


Last Updated: