Parents' Guide to

Cold in July

By Jeffrey Anderson, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 18+

Crime thriller is brilliantly twisty but gruesomely violent.

Movie R 2014 109 minutes
Cold in July Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this movie.

Community Reviews

age 14+

Based on 1 parent review

age 14+


brilliantly written and keeps you entertained every minuite definitely watch this its a must see

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (1):
Kids say (1):

Genre director Jim Mickle generally makes horror films with a touch of realism; here, he ingeniously takes a classic crime story and adds elements of horror. Based on a novel by cult author Joe R. Lansdale, this turns out to be his best movie yet, a twisty, brainy, patient thriller with guts and imagination, as well as a few big laughs. Rooted in genuine human curiosity and empathy, it quickly and easily gets under your skin.

Mickle establishes a credible atmosphere, captured in wide swatches that seem to have all the time in the world; the camera gets many tasty little details. He also makes sure the late-1980s era gets a nod with a John Carpenter-like synthesizer score and the occasional hair-metal song. But best of all are the trio of performances by Dexter's Hall, a wounded Shepard, and a cocky, scenery-chewing Johnson. Vinessa Shaw is likewise excellent as Hall's wife, lending real gravity to that relationship.

Movie Details

Did we miss something on diversity?

Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

See how we rate