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Killer Inside Me, The


Stars: Casey Affleck, Jessica Alba, Kate Hudson, Elias Koteas, Simon Baker, Ned Beatty, Bill Pullman, Tom Bower

Director: Michael Winterbottom

Filmed once before in 1976, this violent adaptation of a Jim Thompson novel could just as easily have been called Psycho or A Kiss Before Dying if the titles hadn't been nabbed before. The psycho in question is Texas deputy sheriff Lou Ford (Affleck), a sadist who enjoys 'assisted' love-making, spanking women until they bruise - something he learned from his wacko mother - and rewarding a bum's plea for something warm by grinding a lighted cigar into the palm of his hand.

Regarded as a pillar of society in his small town, Ford has a regular girlfriend in Amy (Hudson), but has lately taken up with a prostitute, Joyce (Alba), with whom he becomes infatuated. For years, Lou has harboured a grudge against local industrialist Conway (a fine return to the screen for character ace Beatty) whom he blames for the death of his half-brother. When he begins to think of ways out of his relationship with Joyce, Lou formulates a plan: beat Joyce to death, then shoot Conway's son (also involved with Joyce) and frame him for murder.

It seems to work, but local investigator Hendricks (The Mentalist's Baker) smells a rat and its name is Lou. Further deaths occur as Lou makes increasingly deranged efforts to cover his tracks.

Though its violence to women will appal many - the beatings are shown in graphic detail and probably do go a shade too far - this is a warmly-shot, intriguingly scored (with the recurring song Shame on You) and well-made movie.

Affleck, with his dangerously soft Texas drawl, creates a monster almost as frightening as Anthony Perkins' Norman Bates. Alba gives her best screen performance as the luckless Joyce, and there's good, if slightly oddball support from Beatty, Baker, Pullman, Brent Briscoe and Matthew Maher. Even as you flinch as Affleck's brutal blows land, it'll keep you watching.

David Quinlan

USA 2010. UK Distributor: Icon. Technicolor.
109 minutes. Widescreen. UK certificate: 18.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 2, Violence/Horror 3, Drugs 0, Swearing 1.

Review date: 01 Jun 2010