Killer Joe (2012) - Rotten Tomatoes

Killer Joe (2012)



Critic Consensus: Violent, darkly comic, and full of strong performances, Killer Joe proves William Friedkin hasn't lost his touch, even if the plot may be too lurid for some.

Movie Info

When 22 year-old drug dealer Chris (Hirsch) has his stash of drugs stolen from him by his mother, he has to come up with six-thousand dollars quick, or he's dead. Desperate, he goes to the trailer-park to see his father, Ansel (Hayden Church), and he lays out the plan. Chris's mother, who everyone hates, has a life insurance policy that would clear up his debt and make them all rich. The problem is that Chris' mother is very much alive. Enter Detective "Killer" Joe Cooper, a hired hit man with the manners of a Southern gentleman, who will do the job - for an upfront fee, that Chris and Ansel can't pay. Just as Joe is about to leave, he spots Dottie (Temple), Chris' innocent younger sister. Joe makes Chris an offer, he'll keep Dottie as sexual collateral until the money is collected and his fee can be paid. -- (C) Voltage Picturesmore
Rating: R (for graphic disturbing content involving violence and sexuality, and a scene of brutality)
Genre: Mystery & Suspense, Comedy
Directed By:
Written By: Tracy Letts
In Theaters:
On DVD: Dec 21, 2012
Box Office: $1.8M
Independent Pictures - Official Site


Matthew McConaughey
as "Killer" Joe Cooper
Emile Hirsch
as Chris Smith
Juno Temple
as Dottie Smith
Gina Gershon
as Sharla Smith
Marc Macaulay
as Digger Soames
Scott Martin
as Pizza Manager
Graylen Banks
as Pizza Patron
Carol Sutton
as Saleslady
Jeffrey Galpin
as Biker Thug
Gregory Bauchard
as Filpatrick
Charley Vance
as Preacher
Scott Martin
as Pizza Manager
Show More Cast

News & Interviews for Killer Joe

Critic Reviews for Killer Joe

All Critics (159) | Top Critics (40)

I'll never look at fried chicken the same way again.

Full Review… | May 12, 2015
The Improper Bostonian

Killer Joe is trash. Not bad trash. Not pretentious trash. Just plain old ugly, funny, and sophisticated trash.

Full Review… | August 11, 2014
Film School Rejects

The tone in Killer Joe feels so expertly and delicately crafted that we only laugh at the film's absurd scenarios if and when the filmmaker permits it so.

Full Review… | June 2, 2014
Film School Rejects

Violent, coarse, perverted, and sickly hilarious, this is highly recommend for those who like their entertainment on the nasty, demented tip.

Full Review… | November 25, 2013

This Southern-fried, darkly humorous trailer-trash exploitation crime noir revels in the greedy characters' idiocy and the deranged story's psychosexual luridness.

Full Review… | July 17, 2013

An intriguing (and sometimes off-putting) cinematic creation featuring Matthew McConaughey in one of his best performances.

Full Review… | June 30, 2013
Big Hollywood

Audience Reviews for Killer Joe

A young drug dealer falls into debt, so he trades his sister for the services of a hitman, who will kill his mother for insurance money.
Tracy Letts and William Friedkin follow up their relentless, paranoid thriller Bug with an even more relentless thriller in Killer Joe. Like Bug, it's almost impossible to tell where the plot is going, yet each turn is logical and character-driven. The action moments seem shoe-horned in, but the interactions between the characters are profoundly disturbing and occasionally disarmingly funny.
The performances by Matthew McConaughey (the first film in his insurgence toward Oscar-worthy work), Emile Hirsch, Thomas Haden Church, Juno Temple, and Gina Gershon are all fantastic. Hirsch and Temple are especially good with characters stripped of dignity and gazing wide-eyed at the world's depravity.
Overall, Letts and Friedkin are great together, and Killer Joe is a wonderfully disturbing follow-up.

Jim Hunter

Super Reviewer


I loved this play. I remember it being riotously funny. The humor just didn't translate to the film, and opening up the locations didn't help it any.

Julie B

Super Reviewer

While there are certainly plenty of good elements (a twisted sense of humor and captivating performances from McConaughey and Thomas Haden Church), "Killer Joe" is basically like that kid you once knew that would say increasingly perverted, ridiculous things, as if to dare everyone to be offended -- and much like that kid, it eventually just gets annoying.

Sam Barnett
Sam Barnett

Super Reviewer

Killer Joe Quotes

– Submitted by John D (2 years ago)
– Submitted by John D (2 years ago)
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– Submitted by Kelly E (2 years ago)

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