Common Sense Note
Parents need to know that Cold in July is a crime thriller based on a novel by cult author Joe R. Lansdale (Bubba Ho-Tep). It has some incredibly bloody shooting scenes, plus fighting, stabbing, etc. But the most brutal part is a video that depicts men sexually assaulting a woman and then bashing her head with a baseball bat. The video is only partly shown on screen, but the reactions on the faces of the characters watching it tell the whole story. Language is strong, with uses of "f--k," "s--t," and "bitch." There's one short scene of a topless woman. Characters drink a lot of beer throughout the movie -- always Lone Star brand -- and sometimes get drunk. The movie could pick up a cult following (certainly fans of TV's Dexter will want to see Michael C. Hall in this role), but the graphic material makes it only for mature viewers.
Fairly brief scene of a topless woman. A married couple is shown being affectionate with each other, kissing and cuddling. An older man is briefly seen flirting with a younger woman. A "sex" tape is partly shown, with two men asserting themselves sexually upon a younger woman (see violence section).
The main character shoots a burglar; blood sprays all over the walls and seeps into a couch. (The good guys are shown trying to clean it up.) A child is briefly in peril. The climax contains a very bloody shootout, with several people being shot (or stabbed); there are gushes of blood, and several people die. A video is shown of two men sexually abusing a young woman, and then -- off screen -- beating her in the face with a baseball bat. Viewers mainly see the reactions of the people watching the video, as well as hearing sound effects. A man is nearly killed on the train tracks, and two men dig up a coffin; the gruesome corpse is shown in detail (its fingers are chopped off). There's a brief, violent fight with punching and kicking, a car crash, and a fire.
Very strong language includes several uses of "f--k" and many more uses of "s--t," plus "goddamn," "damn," "bitch," "ass," and "hell." "God" and "Jesus Christ" are used as exclamations. A character has a license plate that reads "RED BTCH."
The story begins with characters trying to do the right thing and discovering that, in certain situations, there's no right thing to be done. Nothing much is learned. The good guys might have rescued some helpless victims, but only after a vicious bloodbath.
Lone Star beer is prevalent in this movie, close to feeling like an advertisement. An 1989-era Apple computer can be seen on a desk.
Drugs / Tobacco /
The characters drink a lot of beer. The morning after the shooting, the hero goes to a restaurant and orders a beer. (The waitress asks, "it's a little early, isn't it?" and he replies, "Not today.") In one scene, the main character comes home drunk and makes a joke about it to his wife. A man is injected with a hypodermic needle in one brief shot.