Matthew DeKinder, St. Louis Today:
"Shepard is great (and has turned into a bit
of a workhorse, showing up in nine movies since 2011)
and this is one of the better roles he’s had in a
Mike Scott, Times-Piscayune:
"...a wonderfully menacing Sam Shepard, he
isn't nearly as forgiving as the police are. He's a
country-justice sort, a man determined to collect his
pound of flesh, terrorizing Hall's on-screen family like
someone who has seen 'Cape Fear' a few too many times.
Shepard is so good in the role that it's hard not
to wonder if the better film would have been about his
character than about Hall's."
Tirdad Derakhshani, Philadelphia
"The 70-year-old Shepard exudes a menacing
vitality as the gun-crazy Ben that's awe-inspiring."
Glenn Lovell, Cinema Dope:
"It’s not the violence that lingers, it’s the juicy,
one-off performances by Hall and Shepard, who,
besides writing some of his lines, has his meatiest role
in I don’t know how long."
The absolute coolest thing about "Cold in July" has to be the cast, led by the star trio of Michael
C. Hall, Sam Shepard and Don Johnson. If the
plot synopsis makes this sound like a straight-forward
“family-in-jeopardy” thriller, rest assured it's
not. Hall killing Shepard's son is just the beginning in
a seedy noir-styled actioner that gives Hall a
nice change-of-pace from "Dexter", and somehow manages to
make Sam Shepard something of an action hero
despite him being in his sixties.
David Edelstein, Vulture:
"Shepard finds the perfect mix of unearthly cool
and inner pain."
Michael Sragow, Orange County
"Fresh out of 'Dexter,' Hall is affectingly determined
as a professional picture framer proving himself in a
hard guy’s world, and Shepard is a revelation,
gradually disclosing the sensitivity beneath his
Randy Myers, San Jose Mercury News:
"Hall, donning an understated mullet, shows dexterity
playing a man whose innocence is tested. Shepard
delves into unexpected, tortured emotions while Vinessa
Shaw, playing Richard's wife, provides a clear vision of
what late '80s Texas was really like."
Joy Tipping, Dallas News:
three reasons to see the terrific East Texas-set Cold in
July: Michael C. Hall, Sam Shepard (brilliant)
and Don Johnson. There are also the swelteringly moody
setting and the extraordinary writing by Nacogdoches’
Joe R. Lansdale, who co-wrote the screenplay with Nick
Damici and director Jim Mickle, based on Lansdale’s
James Rocci, The Wrap:
"Sam Shepard is gloriously seamed and aged
like fine wine."
Brian Tallerico, Film Threat:
"In terms of performance, Hall is essentially a straight
man here, carrying the film from that gunshot at the
beginning to its insane climax, and picking up
scene-stealing Sam Shepard and Don Johnson on the
way. Hall is not bad but Shepard steals the film, doing
his best work in years. Everyone here is good, again
clarifying Mickle’s strength as a director."
Evan Saathoff, Bad Ass Digest:
"Sam Shepard offers a nice iteration of the cold and
stoic Clint Eastwood type. There's not a lot beneath the
surface here, but it's great to see Shepard get into a
real sizable role like this instead of just show up for
a near cameo as he often does lately."
Steve Sullivan, Ames Tribune:
"Though he has a less showy part, Shepard is
terrific as Ben, delivering a portrait of a hardened
tough guy slowed by age and regret."
"Hall is fantastic as the working-class father in over
his head, with Shepard providing a sinister
portrayal of a vengeful father not scared to get blood
on his hands. But it’s surprisingly Don Johnson who
barges in to steal the show. Jim Bob is a
larger-than-life character to be reckoned with, but Hall
and Shepard manage to carry the weight right
through to the bitter end."
Eric Vespe, Ain't it Cool:
"Hall and Shepard are both great, with Hall doing
his best to not remind us that Dexter Morgan would very
neatly slice and dice his way out of most of the tough
situations that Richard Dane finds himself in during the
course of the movie and Shepard turning up the
confident menace to 11."
Samuel Zimmerman, Fangoria:
"'Cold in July' is in the grand traditions of hard boiled
and no-frills. The further it twists the better and
better it gets, putting Hall and the incredible Sam
Shepard side-by-side. Their chemistry is something
else, amplified by the addition of Don Johnson, cast
incredibly and with no sort of wink to the audience."
Scott Bowles, USA Today:
"Hall is convincing as a forgettable Joe with a mullet
and a twang, while Shepard is channeling his best
Cape Fear rage as a murderous thug bent on revenge."
David Rooney, The Hollywood
"Midway through the action, Richard (Dexter) makes the
acquaintance of Houston private eye Jim Bob Luke, a
recurring character in Lansdale’s books. Played to the
hilt by Johnson, this sharp-dressed, smooth-talking
cowboy pig farmer served in Korea with Ben (Shepard).
Watching as the two veteran actors’ contrasting personas
lazily ricochet off one another is among the film’s
saltiest pleasures. Johnson is as proud and flashy as
Jim Bob’s red convertible, while Shepard’s
taciturn tough guy reeks of menace and a hardened heart."
Andrew O' Hehir, Salon magazine:
"Mickle understands the psychological, spiritual and even
erotic appeal of a violent and damaged character like
Shepard’s brooding, haunted Russel, and sees that
Richard is drawn to the older man — the father of a
long-missing boy who is now a man around Richard’s age —
for reasons he can’t control. “Cold in July” plays by
thriller rules and teaches its lessons according to
thriller morality, which decrees that bad things happen
because we secretly want them to."