A desperate Texas drug dealer plots to settle a sizable debt by killing his mother and collecting the insurance money, but gets into an even bigger mess after hiring a twisted police detective who moonlights as a killer-for-hire to get the job done. Chris (Emile Hirsch) is in serious trouble. He's just incurred a major debt to Digger Soames (Marc Macaulay), and when you're late paying Digger, you can wind up dead. His back against the wall, Chris comes to his father Ansel (Thomas Haden Church) with a sinister proposition: they'll hire a killer to get rid of Chris' mother (and Ansel's ex-wife), then collect the insurance money that will go to Chris' teenage sister Dottie (Juno Temple), a seraphic sleepwalker who seems to exist in a world all her own. Bringing Chris' temperamental stepmother Sharla (Gina Gershon) in on the hustle, the young deadbeat and his dimwitted father enlist the services of Joe Cooper (Matthew McConaughey), a local police detective whose authority and detailed knowledge of police procedures make him the perfect hired killer. But Joe doesn't come cheap, and when his fee proves bigger than expected, Chris and Ansel agree to let him have Dottie as a "retainer" until the insurance check clears. Just when it starts to look as if everything is going according to plan, however, an unexpected complication plunges the entire situation into total chaos. A lurid black comedy that goes to some very dark places, Killer Joe is the second collaboration between acclaimed director William Friedkin and playwright/screenwriter Tracy Letts, who previously worked together on the 2006 psychological thriller Bug.