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The Killer Inside Me (2010)



Average Rating: 5.6/10
Reviews Counted: 125
Fresh: 68 | Rotten: 57

The Killer Inside Me is stylish and beautifully shot, but Michael Winterbottom's distance from his characters robs this often brutally violent film of crucial emotional context.


Average Rating: 5.4/10
Critic Reviews: 29
Fresh: 14 | Rotten: 15

The Killer Inside Me is stylish and beautifully shot, but Michael Winterbottom's distance from his characters robs this often brutally violent film of crucial emotional context.



liked it
Average Rating: 2.9/5
User Ratings: 14,806

My Rating

Movie Info

Based on the novel by legendary pulp writer Jim Thompson, "The Killer Inside Me" tells the story of handsome, charming, unassuming small-town deputy sheriff Lou Ford, who has a bunch of problems. Women problems. Law-enforcement problems. And an ever-growing pile of murder victims in his west Texas jurisdiction. All the while Lou manages to remain his stoic self. However, as evidence is discovered over the course of the investigation, suspicion begins to fall on Lou. But in this savage and bleak


Western, Drama, Mystery & Suspense

Michael Winterbottom

Sep 28, 2010


IFC Films - Official Site External Icon

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All Critics (125) | Top Critics (29) | Fresh (68) | Rotten (57) | DVD (5)

This adaptation of Thompson's 1952 novel about a cunning, psychotic sheriff's deputy in a small Texas town locates the killer inside him and immerses us in the cold calculation and horrible logic that pull him from one murder to the next.

January 3, 2011 Full Review Source: Chicago Reader
Chicago Reader
Top Critic IconTop Critic

What a crock.

July 16, 2010 Full Review Source: Houston Chronicle | Comment (1)
Houston Chronicle
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Little, however, can save The Killer Inside Me from its worst impulses, its reveling in brute violence that makes it hard to watch and nearly impossible to admire, even though it's carefully crafted.

July 9, 2010 Full Review Source: Denver Post
Denver Post
Top Critic IconTop Critic

As for the misogynist brutality, it is indeed depraved, made more so by the fact that its female victims are depicted as loving their abuse right up until it turns murderous.

July 6, 2010 Full Review Source: Washington Post | Comments (2)
Washington Post
Top Critic IconTop Critic

The question of Winterbottom's intent here isn't easily answered, but the power of his abuse scenes is undeniable.

July 2, 2010 Full Review Source: Detroit News | Comment (1)
Detroit News
Top Critic IconTop Critic

To his credit, Affleck avoids making Lou suggest a reboot of Robert. He's pushy and cowardly, but in a more calculating way, and he's sadistically sexual in a way that Robert never was.

July 1, 2010 Full Review Source: Seattle Times
Seattle Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

The heralded "violent" scene practically screams "We need domestic distribution!" I don't think anyone in this movie actually likes this movie.

June 22, 2013 Full Review Source: Deadspin

The end result is an overlong adaptation that primarily comes off as a complete and total misfire...

March 10, 2012 Full Review Source: Reel Film Reviews
Reel Film Reviews

The Film Critic Inside Me ...

June 30, 2011 Full Review Source: The Ooh Tray
The Ooh Tray

Affleck is great here.

April 4, 2011 Full Review Source:

An excellent film which takes some big, brave steps in the crime genre...

February 3, 2011 Full Review Source: What Culture
What Culture

Jim Thompson's 1952 novel upon which this is based was supposedly unfilmable: perhaps that was the correct assessment.

January 21, 2011 Full Review Source: Flick Filosopher
Flick Filosopher

full review at Movies for the Masses

November 20, 2010 Full Review Source: Movies for the Masses
Movies for the Masses

Casey Affleck delivers a chilling performance as a sociopathic deputy sheriff whose charming veneer shatters as we're introduced to his taste for violence of both the straight-up and sexual kinds.

November 7, 2010 Full Review Source:

[Affleck's] commitment to such a vile character, even in spite of Winterbottom's occasionally questionable direction, displays a fearlessness that is rarely seen in cinema today.

October 21, 2010 Full Review Source: Quickflix

The violence is not shown in an ironic fashion. It's put front and center and is visceral in a way nothing else is in the film.

October 4, 2010 Full Review Source:

Dark thriller centers on brutal violence against women.

September 21, 2010 Full Review Source: Common Sense Media
Common Sense Media

It's a credit to the British director that he's captured so much regional and class detail, but disappointing that his film's conclusions are almost banal, with a contrived finale that ties too many threads together.

August 27, 2010 Full Review Source: MovieTime, ABC Radio National
MovieTime, ABC Radio National

It's Winterbottom's first entry into dark noir, and I think a more seasoned hand in the genre would have given Lou's horrible actions their proper moral weight.

August 26, 2010 Full Review Source: Wisconsin State Journal
Wisconsin State Journal

Viewers are invited to spend these torpid minutes burrowing into Lou's back story in search of reasons why he is off his rocker. But this is one movie psycho that defies all amateur psychoanalysis.

August 26, 2010 Full Review Source: Herald Sun (Australia)
Herald Sun (Australia)

Winterbottom's film is really rather down beat and hard to take. Perhaps that's only just so. Lou's heart of darkness takes us to a dead end. It's the kind of violent movie where you just want all the bloody mayhem to stop.

August 26, 2010 Full Review Source:

It's a violent film about violence, but that makes it truthful.

August 25, 2010 Full Review Source: Sydney Morning Herald
Sydney Morning Herald

Sex and violence take centre stage in the enthralling, if a little overcooked crime thriller, The Killer Inside Me.

August 23, 2010 Full Review Source: Matt's Movie Reviews
Matt's Movie Reviews

This is compelling and challenging cinema, punctuated with genuinely shocking moments, by a director and a cast of actors who are right at the top of their game.

August 23, 2010 Full Review Source: Cinema Autopsy
Cinema Autopsy

Probably the best adaptation of Thompson to date (with The Grifters a very close second), but his work's yet to get the movie it really deserves.

August 23, 2010 Full Review Source: The Vine
The Vine

Audience Reviews for The Killer Inside Me

Michael Winterbottom's The Killer Inside Me completely misses out all the great character development that made Jim Thompson's novel so brilliant. There are things a novel can do that a film can't and vice versa but Lou Ford could have been explored further and given the in-depth analysis he deserved. Simply putting the Bible next to a copy of The Basic Writings Of Sigmund Freud was not enough and a little lazy to say the least. However, to Michael Winterbottom's credit, the film was suitably dark and he didn't shy away from the brutal realism of the book when I'm sure it was probably suggested he did for marketing. Apart from the missing pieces I have to say I was mightily impressed. The cast were so much better than I had thought they would be and the set/music/direction were spot on. Is this really a Michael Winterbottom film? Don't get me wrong, he's a great director but I can't think of another successful film maker who doesn't have the slightest hint of a signature or a style of his own. You could call it versatility I suppose but then I remember 9 Songs. A subjective director either way, fitting that his best film (in my opinion) is of a particularly subjective book. Highly recommended but certainly not for everyone.
June 5, 2014

Super Reviewer

Lou Ford: I got a foot on both sides of the fence. They were put there early and they stayed put. I can't move. I can't jump. All I can do is wait until I split, right down the middle.

Michael Winterbottom is a director who I can say, after only seeing three of his films, The Killer Inside Me being the third and A Mighty Heart and Road to Guantanamo being the other two, that I respect. It's rare that a director hooks you like that after only seeing a few of his movies, but Winterbottom is an extremely interesting direct. He doesn't shy away from material, that's for damn sure. Movies like A Mighty Heart and Road to Guantanamo show that off excellently. The Killer Inside Me does too. There's a lot of really disturbing and disgusting material, some shown and some hinted at, and also highly psycho-sexual.

A small town deputy sheriff hovers between two lives, his simple life as a deputy and the other part of him that comes out. We get a lot of backstory throughout the film that explains why Lou Ford has the killer inside him and it's done in a really clever and interesting way. 

While this isn't as good as the other two films I've seen from Winterbottom, I still really liked it and think it's highly underrated. I thought Casey Affleck nailed his role as Lou Ford. He came off as not just a believable psychopath, but a perfect psychopath. The supporting cast surrounding Affleck is interesting to say the least. We get Kate Hudson, Jessica Alba, Ned Beatty and Bill Pullman, along with some Texas accented character actors. None of them really help the movie at all, there all kind of just there, which makes sense given the main characters lack of empathy for other human beings. 

The Killer Inside Me is definitely worth a watch. It's not a masterpiece by any stretch, but it's a solid crime thriller with a surprisingly excellent performance from Casey Affleck. It has a nice pace and Winterbottom's direction is extremely clever. 
February 28, 2014
Melvin White

Super Reviewer

This is the first film from Michael Winterbottom that I've seen, so I will have to just judge it on its own merits and won't be able to see how it fits into his filmography as a whole. It's also the second adaptation of Jim Thompson's acclaimed 1952 noir crime novel, and this time, I'm actually familair with the source material.

And I'm happy to say that this does the source material a pretty good amount of justice, and, given the time when the film was made, it's able to really showcase the more grisly content of the story. Even then, the film garnered controversy for the violent content, but I'd really be amazed to know what people thought of it in the 1950s.

The story concerns 29 year-old Deputy Sheriff Lou Ford, all the people in his small West Texas town know him to be quiet, unassuming, and a decent guy. What they don't know is that, beneath the surface, he's a sociopath with a penchant for sexual violence and sadomasochistic tendencies. He gets involved in a scheme goen wrong, and ends up havign to pile with a big string of muders...all committed by him. And thigns get worse from there, since murdering seems to be the only way to get through the progressively dire situation.

In a lot of ways, this comes off like something the Coen Brothers would do (either Blood SImple or No Country For Old Men, especially), though this might be far darker, and especially more lurid, and definitely without a trace of quirk or really any kind of humor, black or otherwise. It's a thrillingly warped tale, and a great character study that really gets into the mind of a psycho. It does sometimes feel really emotionally empty and closed off from the characters, but even then, you can't help but feel engaged and really want to find out what will happen.

Casey Affleck really shines here as Ford, and his portrait of Ford is disturbing, unrelenting, super creepy, and absolutely some of his best work to date. Jessica Alba surprisingly is also good as the prostitute that Ford gets involved with who gets the whole messy situation going. She actually is pretty believable, and she should consider taking on more dark and edgy work like this. The rest of the supprting cast has a lot of notable names like Kate Hudson, Simon Baker, Ned Beatty, Elias Koteas, and Bill Pullman, and they all deliver some decent work as well.

The soundtrack is sizzling, and really ecclectic, and the opening credits (set to the original version of "Fever" by Little Willie John) really got me excited right from the start, and from there the film kept on mostly delivering the goods. The cinematography and location work is fantastic, and the direction, well, it's not bad. The film meanders once in a while, but never really full on drags. It still keeps one's attention though, so yeah.

If you can stomach lurid subject matter, graphic content (often directed at females), and want to see one of the darkest and grittiest film noir thrillers out there, then defintiely give this a shot. I'm torn between 4 and 4.5, so let's give it the highest possible B+ ever.
August 14, 2012
Chris Weber

Super Reviewer

Weary of its graphic depiction of violence that it has become renowned for, I avoided sitting down with this film for quite a while. However, I found Michael Winterbottom's adaptation of Jim Thompson's chilling & infamous noir to be a maniacal, but enjoyable ride.
Well-behaved & mild-mannered, deputy sheriff Ford (Affleck) oversees the goings on in an idyllic West Texas town. Oozing southern gentility, behind Ford's mask of sanity lies a lurid past and the sadomasochist tendencies that have haunted him ever since. Imbued with noir sensibilities and rich style, Winterbottom plunges the viewer into the cold calculations of a sociopath. He nails the 50's aesthetic with his use of muted colors and an exquisite set design. And, while it is only a minor part of the film, he crafts probably my favorite opening credit sequence of all time.
Affleck is also excellent here. Easily giving his best performance to date. However, he unfortunately shares a generous amount of screen time with Hudson and Alba, who in my opinion don't deserve such weighty roles.
While the script could have used a bit more doctoring and the ending suffered from some lackluster special effects, Winterbottom's adaptation is undeserving of the "art-house torture porn" label that it has been given.
June 18, 2012
Reid Volk

Super Reviewer

    1. Lou Ford: Well I guess I want you out of central city by sun down.
    – Submitted by Chris P (3 years ago)
    1. Billy Boy Walker: A weed is a plant out of place. I find a hollyhock in my cornfield, and it's a weed. I find it in my yard, and it's a flower. You're in my yard.
    – Submitted by Chris P (3 years ago)
    1. Lou Ford: nothing relieves tension like a good spanking!
    – Submitted by Dennis B (3 years ago)
View all quotes (3)

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