Director: William Friedkin

If you haven’t seen Killer Joe, the new violent and hilariously dark comedy from acclaimed director William Friedkin, we suggest you drop what you’re doing and seek it out in an art-house theater near you.

Bawdy and volatile, Killer Joe is a mean-spirited, unpredictable exercise in trailer park sleaze anchored by a ferocious Matthew McConaughey performance. And it’s also indicative of Friedkin’s cinematic comfort zone: edgier subject matter that’s R-rated and rough to the core. See: The Exorcist, The French Connection, Sorcerer, and Bug, to name a few.

In other words, the polar opposite of Friedkin’s inexcusably bad 1983 comedy (by definition only) Deal of the Century. Chevy Chase, at his absolute worst, plays an arms dealer trying to sell war planes to a South American dictator, with help from his girl (Sigourney Weaver) and wisecracking pal (Gregory Hines).

One can see why Friedkin tackled the project: On the surface, its premise welcomes scathing indictments of Reagan-era war games. But the satire is constantly weighed down by Chase’s incessant mugging and slapstick action. It’s all Chevy, no Billy (Friedkin).