Killer Joe ★★★★

Holy shit, was I supposed to enjoy that so much? I don't know what you guys are talking about, I'm craving me some KFC right about now.

"Killer Joe" makes an easy target of itself, the big question is: "what's the point?" The whole plot is basically that line from Cool Hand Luke: "What we've got here... is failure... to communicate. I can be a real nice guy, or... I can be a real sonuvabitch". It's a story of sheer ineptitude, ladies and gentlemen, deep fried 'MERIKA style.

As deprived and twisted as this is (and oh man, is it ever), it is equally hilarious. Thomas Haden Church repays all his debts for "Sandman" as the most clueless father in the world who seemingly is only taking in about 10% of the chaos around him at any time. There is a streak of black deadpan humour running through every scene that I can only describe as fucking genius. I was reminded of another Texan-set exploitation jaw-dropper like this one, you know, "The Texas Chain Saw Massacre", so was Friedkin apparently when Joe utters a threat to cut off his victims face and wear it as his own followed by an equally morbidly hilarious dinner scene that rivals the obscene rodeo of Leatherface's family. This is Friedkin in sheer exploitation mode.

Decades ago, he somehow convinced the world that his story of a young girl using a cross as a dildo and spewing vomit across the room was high-class, Best Picture material. I doubt "Killer Joe" will find similar luck but its hitting those same beats, the youth-gone-wrong theme is hit with a sledgehammer while the Christianity swipes are a bit more subdued, but they're here, and like everything else, they make you squirm with repulsive glee.

Peter liked these reviews