Jim Mickle’s new Cold in July trailer guarantees grit, guns, blood, and tears. Not necessarily in that order.

Jim Mickle’s first two films Stake Land and Mulberry St were entertaining, if not very sophisticated, forays into modern horror. His 2013 follow-up We Are What We Are showed that Mickle is developing into a refined storyteller, capable of complex character dynamics and artful film design. His new thriller, Cold in July, is adapted from a story by Joe R. Lansdale (who also wrote the story upon which 2002’s Bruce Campbell vehicle Bubba Ho-Tep was based) and is seemingly full of tension, shock, and suspense. Out on May 23 in the USA through IFC, we’re looking forward to this brutal, distinctly American movie that harkens back to the barefaced crime dramas of the 1970s.

Set in Texas in 1989, Cold in July begins with a home invasion that ends badly for the burglar. Family man Richard Dane (Michael C. Hall of Dexter) kills a man named Freddy Russell while defending his home, but soon finds out that Freddy’s ex-con father, Ben, is hell-bent on revenge. Corruption, betrayal, and doubt set the perfect stage for this Southern gothic noir. The trailer, embedded below, is intriguingly dark and devoid of comedy.

Why we like it: Don Johnson shows up as a private investigator. Are we the only ones who have desperately missed Don Johnson? Not only are we glad he’s in this, but he’s playing against type. Much like Henry Fonda’s surprising turn in Once Upon a Time in the West, Johnson channels the darker side of justice and, at least in this trailer, totally nails it. We also love the music and hope it actually appears in the film itself.

Why we don’t: Actually, we don’t dislike anything about this trailer. It’s fairly promising and if it delivers, we’ll be happily thrust into a storyline that makes No Country For Old Men seem like a comedy.

Watch the Cold in July trailer and decide for yourself:

To subscribe to MovieMaker Magazine, click here.