Cold in July review by Alyse Garner - Cinema Paradiso
If you were to ask me to name the best zombie and vampire film’s I’ve seen in the last ten years I’m not sure I’d go with 28 Days and I’d definitely avoid the dreadful Twilight series, I think, after giving it much deliberation, I would probably come up with two small movies by a horror director that some of you might still not even have heard of, Jim Mickie’s Mulberry Street and Stake Land.
Turning his directorial gaze away from the horror genre however Mickie has made his first foray into a new genre, the crime thriller, adapting a film from another name that will smack for many of the horror genre, Joe R. Lansdale’s Cold in July. As if this writing and directorial combination were not enough however throw in a lead performance from one of the most versatile actors of recent years, Michael C. Hall (Dexter, Six Feet Under, Paycheck, Kill Your Darlings – the list goes on), and Cold in July was certainly going to be interesting, if nothing else.
What begins as simple revenge plot when Hall’s Richard Dane shoots and kills an intruder in his home in Texas and the intruder’s father begins following Dane’s family seeking retribution, turns into a paranoid fuelled narrative that twists around the characters causing you to question everything you thought you knew and believed about the world you are seeing on screen.
Hall, as ever, steals the show. His depiction of Richard is masterful, he manages to make us sympathize with a frankly unlikeable character, whilst his portrayal of Dane’s fear and uncertainty rattles your very bones. Sam Shepard is an excellent villain whilst Don Johnson’s flamboyant P.I is both unexpected and brilliant.
As with all great crime thrillers these are the words you look for, unexpected, uncertain, paranoid, however to pull them off with confidence, particularly on one’s first venture into the genre, is quite a feat and, thanks to both his own talent and the prestige of the material he was given to work with, Mickie achieves this with ease. I look forward to seeing how he fares in future ventures, perhaps a twist on the romantic comedy?