Cold In July [2014] ★★½

cold-in-july-poster1-405x600With multiplexes crammed with Box office monsters, this little-hyped thriller emerges as a dark-horse winner by reminding us of how pleasurably exciting a popcorn movie can be when it’s populated by actors who are in it for more than a ridiculous fee. I’m talking about Michael C. Hall (from the hit series “Dexter”), Don Johnson and Sam Shepard. Is “Cold in July” a great film? Far from it. But as a piece of escapism, it delivers the goods. Hall plays Richard Dane, an everyday man who shoots and kills a burglar who invades his home one night. But then the victim’s felon dad (Shepard) shows up fresh out of prison and ready for revenge. That’s the setup, which works out along familiar lines (“Cape Fear” anyone?). But what gives the movie its heat is the acting. Hall, his eyes full of fear, is exceptional. His scenes with Shepard will hook you in instantly. Jeff Grace’s eerie score may or may not remind you of John Carpenter’s “Halloween”. Either way, I suggest you give “Cold In July” a chance. Or just wait for it on DVD.

Rating: 2.5/4

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