The Killer Inside Me (2010)



Critic Consensus: 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.

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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 … More

Rating: R (for disturbing brutal violence, aberrant sexual content and some graphic nudity)
Genre: Western, Drama, Mystery & Suspense
Directed By:
Written By: Michael Winterbottom, John Curran, John J. Curran
In Theaters:
On DVD: Sep 28, 2010
Box Office: $0.2M
IFC Films - Official Site


as Sheriff Lou Ford

as Amy Stanton

as Joyce Lakeland

as Chester Conway

as Joe Rothman

as Sheriff Bob Maples

as Howard Hendricks

as Billy Boy Walker

as Bum/Stranger

as Deputy Jeff Plummer

as Johnnie Pappas

as Elmer Conway

as Max Pappas

as Mike, 15

as Turnkey/Guard

as Courthouse Secretary

as Dispatcher #1

as Courthouse Diner Wai...

as Police Dispatcher #2

as Howard Hendricks
Show More Cast

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Critic Reviews for The Killer Inside Me

All Critics (124) | Top Critics (29)

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.

Full Review… | January 3, 2011
Chicago Reader
Top Critic

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

Full Review… | June 22, 2013

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

Full Review… | March 10, 2012
Reel Film Reviews

The Film Critic Inside Me ...

Full Review… | June 30, 2011
The Ooh Tray

Affleck is great here.

Full Review… | April 4, 2011

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

Full Review… | February 3, 2011
What Culture

Audience Reviews for The Killer Inside Me


"You don't fit the bill as a killer," newspaper man Joe Rothman (Elias Koteas) says to Lou, Casey Affleck's character. This severe underestimation epitomizes this melodrama, a brooding, mesmerizing period piece set in 1950s Texas. This admittedly controversial film should be a modern film noir masterpiece, but its graphic violence particularly against women may have doomed it to cult status. It's a twisted misogynist psychological thriller that depicts a sadomasochistic psychotic as well as I've ever seen on film. The aforementioned character is played by Casey Affleck, who continues to amaze me. His main character is kinky yet mysterious; he plays a sort of amoral calculating characters who both derives pleasure from and is disgusted by his horrible misdeeds. This film is brutal and seductive in equal measures, and although a period piece about small town 1950s Texas, its shocking brutality has a modern feel.
This is a more graphic version of The Last Picture Show meets Gone Baby Gone. The main character possesses an amorality rarely seen in film. He's so smooth his victims never see it coming, as he explains to one of them. Jessica Alba is wonderful, as his Kate Hudson-in a better role than usual.
The music, a combination of opera and western swing, creates a fantastically eerie mood also. I recommend this film to thriller fans, but be prepared-its extreme

Clintus M.
Clintus Maximus

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. 

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.

Chris Weber

Super Reviewer

The Killer Inside Me Quotes

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