The Killer Inside Me


The Killer Inside Me

Critics 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.



Total Count: 127


Audience Score

User Ratings: 15,196
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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 universe, nothing is ever what it seems.


Casey Affleck
as Sheriff Lou Ford
Kate Hudson
as Amy Stanton
Jessica Alba
as Joyce Lakeland
Ned Beatty
as Chester Conway
Elias Koteas
as Joe Rothman
Tom Bower
as Sheriff Bob Maples
Simon Baker
as Howard Hendricks
Bill Pullman
as Billy Boy Walker
Brent Briscoe
as Bum/Stranger
Matthew Maher
as Deputy Jeff Plummer
Liam Aiken
as Johnnie Pappas
Jay R. Ferguson
as Elmer Conway
Ali Nazary
as Max Pappas
Noah Crawford
as Mike, 15
Michael Gibbons
as Turnkey/Guard
Arletta Knight Fink
as Courthouse Secretary
Jed Fox
as Dispatcher #1
Donna E. Jones
as Courthouse Diner Waitress
Stewart Russell
as Police Dispatcher #2
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News & Interviews for The Killer Inside Me

Critic Reviews for The Killer Inside Me

All Critics (127) | Top Critics (33) | Fresh (69) | Rotten (58)

  • 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.

    Jan 3, 2011 | Full Review…
  • It's a violent film about violence, but that makes it truthful.

    Aug 25, 2010 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…
  • What a crock.

    Jul 16, 2010 | Rating: 1.5/4 | Full Review…
  • 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.

    Jul 9, 2010 | Rating: 2/4
  • This is a work of stylish, existentialist brutality, filled with beautiful women and damaged men.

    Jul 6, 2010 | Rating: 3/5 | Full Review…

    Kate Muir

    Times (UK)
    Top 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.

    Jul 6, 2010 | Rating: 1/4 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for The Killer Inside Me

  • May 04, 2015
    "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 Super Reviewer
  • Feb 13, 2013
    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 W Super Reviewer
  • Feb 09, 2013
    A very strange movie...the ending is interesting though.
    Stephen S Super Reviewer
  • Nov 17, 2012
    Michael Winterbottom has often struck me as the pretentious type, so I tend to distance myself from his work, but "The Killer Inside Me" is a modest achievement on his part. That being said, the main thing about it that I don't quite care for is his peculiar directing style, which makes light of some dark subject matter. It almost seems like he tried to strip a film noir of most everything that made it a film noir in the first place. So, what should have been a bleak, gritty crime thriller ends up being a sort of whimsical psychological drama that takes itself seriously, but in the silliest of ways. I enjoyed "The Killer Inside Me" for its beautiful cinematography and top-notch performances, but I'm not sure if I totally liked it. The scenes of violence that were designed to shock me didn't have as much of an impact as I'm sure they were intended to.
    Stephen E Super Reviewer

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