William Friedkin's "Killer Joe" is an aggressive white-trash film noir that consistently shifts its point of view between its characters, creating a bizarre and almost over-the-top narrative that accelerates as its progresses to its shattering finale. And did I mention it's brutally funny... as well as just brutal?
Adapted from a play by Tracey Letts, this is the second collaboration between he Friedkin, the first being the equally tough "Bug" in 2006. Both films frame their collective genres- psychological horror and film noir- within a strictly interior mode. "Killer Joe" features a wham-bam editing style, whose cuts and reaction shots are incisive and almost hurtful. "Killer Joe" is much closer in style to Freidkin's "The Exorcist" than anything else he's done. Secondly, the sound design is amazing, crafting barking dog noises, helicopters whirling overhead and engines revving into an overwhelming canvas of buzz. All of this frames "Killer Joe" as a technically unnerving effort. But perhaps the most interior moments of all reside in the outstanding finale, where tense conversation and psychological warfare meet over a dinner table full of fried chicken and almost unbearable silence. I doubt this was the type of endorsement KFC was looking for.