Straight From Tribeca: ‘The Killer Inside Me’ Review

“You are who you are and that’s just that. Knowing how you got that way doesn’t make any difference. It just isn’t any sense in trying to be anything else.”

Coming from the mouth of the film’s leading man and murderer, Lou Ford (Casey Affleck) a crooked sheriff, these words inspire acceptance of one’s self, no matter how terrible you think you are, Ford is much worse. Far from being a southern gentleman, with his inhuman acts of violence towards the people he supposedly holds dear to his heart, Ford makes the cut among characters like Anton Chigurh (No Country for Old Men), Patrick Bateman (American Psycho) and Hannibal Lecter (Silence of the Lambs) as a memorable cold-blooded killer.

As a result, “The Killer Inside Me” is a tantalizing film of secrets and crime, narrated by the monster himself that will hook viewers from start to finish.

Director Michael Winterbottom’s adaptation of Jim Thompson’s 1952 novel and remake of the 1976 version by Burt Kennedy, this film is by far a thriller of epic proportions that will have viewers gasping and peeking through the slots of their fingers in anticipation to see what happens next. Taking a downward spiral, deeper and deeper into the mind of a sociopath murderer, the film is sure to give you goosebumps.

Handsome and soft-spoken, Ford is a Deputy Sheriff in Central City, Texas. When directed to drive out Joyce Lakeland (Jessica Alba), a seductive prostitute, from town sparks ignite between the two beginning an intense love affair. Determined to runaway together, they cook up a plot to blackmail one of her clients, the son of a prominent businessman, to obtain sufficient funds. Things take an unexpected turn as Ford has other intentions by unleashing the killer from within. Amy Stanton (Kate Hudson), Ford’s fiancee, realizes his disloyalty as detectives become suspicious of Ford’s actions.

Aside from the mousy southern accent (at times incomprehensible), Affeck’s performance of Ford is a bit too believable. Strutting around town cool and collected, smirking without a care in the world as he commits crime after crime, knowing he can easily get away with murder. After all, who would believe a southern gentleman of his stature would do such awful things? His demeanor and lack of character development allows no sympathy for Ford making it difficult for viewers to understand why he does the things he does.

Despite the feature’s ability to stay true to its genre and provoke suspense, it has its faults regarding women as horn-dogs, who can easily forgive with a few touches on their lady parts. Sending sexist messages of using women as sex objects (creating pleasure through pain) and then beating them, the film illustrates how women are thought of as subjects of a second-class society.

This in a sense is a full-out downgrade for Hudson and Alba, known to portray strong, independent, intelligent women. Fresh-faced actresses would have done the roles of Stanton and Lakeland justice, as the two characters had no real part, aside from performing sexual acts with Ford. The movie depicts females as a weak inferior species, accepting hit after hit from a man they adore.

The “I love you,” said by Alba’s character as blood trickles down her beaten face to the man who caused the bloodshed and the “I love you,” said by Hudson’s character after discovering her man has been unfaithful is humiliating to say the least. The two ladies are shown no respect, but merely viewed as human punching bags. Because of this, the film lost countless points with each blow to the face.

Nonetheless, the intensified sound effects and in your face close-ups of Ford’s damage, are the perfect combination to the violent scenes, giving them a greater impact causing a deep emotional response.

Richard Redlefsen, the prosthetic make-up artist from “Saw” did not disappoint with his graphic work on Alba’s hamburger face. The realistic, swollen, bloody and gashed face will have you flinching and gasping to the point where you’ll have to look away. Alba fan or not, it’s a sight that will forever be engraved in your mind.

Filled with a number of scenes that convince the viewer Ford is going to get what’s coming to him, the end emits mixed feelings, guaranteeing you’ll leave the theater with your mouth hanging low.

Except for the occasional absurd flashbacks of his young mother’s bruised behind and an inappropriate sexual encounter with a five-year-old girl in the back of a black car, not much is known about Ford’s past – Nor is much known about him in the present. Growing up in a small town where everyone knows each other or at least they think they do, no one would ever suspect the hospitable Ford could be capable of such grim affairs. Lies and brutality line the film, causing an entire township into a frenzy.

Overall, the film is a work of psychological excellence captured by vigilant angles and realistic bruises, made to awe with its mind-blowing twists and turns and unfathomable protagonist. “The Killer Inside Me” calls for an unnecessary star-studded cast, in which Affleck gives a phenomenal performance captivating viewers with its first-hand look into the vile thoughts and actions of a man you will love to hate.

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Maria Bonello

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1 Comment

  1. casey affleck embarrassed himself with acting in this shallow, exploitative piece of nonsense. but hey, after i’m still here, i lost all respect for this man. i used to love him as an actor. what a shame.

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