British Board of Film Classification

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KILLER JOE artwork


Type of media Film

Approved Running time 102m 13s

Release date 29/06/2012

BBFCInsight Contains strong bloody and sadistic violence and sexual threat

Genre(s) Drama

Director(s) William Friedkin

Cast includes Matthew McConaughey, Emile Hirsch, Juno Temple, Thomas Haden Church, Gina Gershon, Marc Macaulay, Jeff Galpin, Danny Epper

Cut This work was passed uncut.

BBFCinsight publication date 19/06/2012

Note: The following text may contain spoilers

KILLER JOE is a drama about a police detective who also works as a contract killer. He is hired by a young man to kill his mother so the young man can use his mother's life insurance to clear a debt to a drug dealer. It was classified '18' for strong bloody and sadistic violence and sexual threat.

There are violent scenes including a woman being punched hard in the face, causing her face to become heavily bloodied, a scene where a can of food is used as a weapon to repeatedly punch a man in the face, a scene in which a man is beaten because of his debt to the drug dealer, and scenes where characters are shot and we see blood from their wounds. The BBFC's Guidelines at '15' state 'Violence may be strong but should not dwell on the infliction of pain or injury. The strongest gory images are unlikely to be acceptable. Strong sadistic or sexualised violence is also unlikely to be acceptable'. With some dwelling on the infliction of both pain and injury, and some sadistic violence, these scenes were only allowable at '18'.

There are also two scenes of sexual threat. In the first scene, a young woman is ordered to remove her clothes before she is engaged in sexual activity. In the second scene a woman is made to kneel and suck on a chicken drumstick which has been placed in front of a man's crotch. During this scene the man holding the chicken mimics sexual pleasure by thrusting his hips towards the woman and moaning. In both cases the sexual nature of the threat and the threat of violence which accompanies the latter scene in particular means they can only be passed at '18'.

KILLER JOE also contains strong language, sexualised nudity and some soft drug use.


E1 Films
Classified date(s)
Main language
Submitted run time
102m 13s
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