2014 mystery thrills; classic 80s style
Another one of this year’s excellent retro 80s-style indie gems, Cold in July fits snugly amidst the likes of The Guest and Blue Ruin and similarly proves that a limited budget may actually be a good thing.With Hollywood stacking up its remakes, reboots and sequels; investing billions in known commodities, and largely ignoring (or mismarketing) original content, 2014 has brought us some surprisingly effective low budget gems which have the kind of imaginative stories, interesting characterisations, and undeniable style of which Hollywood could only dream.Cold in July is an impossibly unpredictable little mystery thriller which sees a simple husband-and-father getting embroiled in a convoluted tale of corruption, deception and revenge, when he kills an unarmed intruder and finds himself under threat from the dead victim’s violent father.
Written and Directed by Jim Mickle, and loosely adapted from the novella by Joe R. Lansdale, Cold in July is a dark and moody little piece. With Michael C. Hall a long, long way from familiar Dexter territory, and excellent support from not only the ever-reliable Sam Shepard, but also a surprisingly good Don Johnson, the characters come to colourful life within the seedy backdrop, as conspiracies are layered on one another and the murky, twist-laded plot unravels.
One of the greatest elements has got to be Jeff Grace’s score, however, with the 80s-set mystery already feeling like a John Carpenter horror/thriller even before the unquestionably Carpenter-esque electronic synth score sweeps over you, pervading the piece with yet more insistent, engulfing style.
It’s great that these superb retro gems just keep coming, undeterred by the Hollywood juggernauts thundering besides them.
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