Midway through this movie, a junky old Pinto backs into a shiny red Cadillac. A fight results and a piece of plot is revealed, but the memorable thing about the moment is the collision. How did we get to the point where a pale blue, half-wrecked Pinto should occupy the same space as this gaudy, mint-condition Cadillac? That disconnect is actually at the heart of Cold in July, an uneven but densely packed new drama from a prolific young director, Jim Mickle. His previous films, Stake Land and We Are What We Are, delved into horror, but with wry detachment and flickering humor.
The genre of Cold in July is the modern-dress Western, drawn from a novel by Joe R. Lansdale. Richard (Michael C. Hall), a mild picture-framer in a Texas town, shoots a home intruder in the opening scene.