Oct 16 2013
Up and down your street, all around you, there are houses. Houses that look just like yours. Houses with brightly lit windows and sweet smoke coming from the chimney on autumnal nights.You may even know some of the people in those houses. They are your neighbors and friends. People you have around you, at all times, but never think a second thought about. But have you ever wondered how well you really know them? Have you ever wondered what kinds of sick things they may be capable of? They always say it is the quiet, polite ones you need to be afraid of, and with blinding fury, The Killer Inside Me is a movie that reminds you that. It is always the ones you least suspect.
Just in time for Halloween I thought I would recommend a few darker movies, and The Killer Inside Me is about as dark as it gets. The Killer Inside Me is a brutal, unforgiving journey into the mind of a madman, without sanity or reason. A brutal movie, not for the weak-stomached, but one that you will never forget if you can make it through. Also, a movie that finally knows how to properly manipulate the audience’s hatred of all things Affleck. You are MEANT to hate this Affleck, and it feels great. The thing about anything with the last name Affleck, you WILL hate it. Atleast this movie knows how to use that to its benefit.
As blissful as this shot may look, do not be fooled. This movie is nasty.
The Killer Inside Me, from 2010, stars Casey Affleck as Deputy Sheriff Lou Ford. A man well-known and well-loved in his small, west Texas town. He is just that nice, well put-together young man who does a great job of keeping the peace and staying on a first name basis with everyone he knows. Always kind enough to stop and lend a hand or have a conversation with anyone, everyone loves Sheriff Ford.
But, beneath his perfect, shiny, Affleck-exterior, Lou Ford is a sick, sick man. He is a murdering, sexually-deviant sociopath who is constantly fighting his urges to let his true monster out. The kind of guy who would have been GREAT friends with Patrick Bateman from American Psycho. Suffice it to say, he meets Joyce Lakeland (played by the ageless and beautiful Jessica Alba, in a role unlike any you have ever seen her in) and after a brief encounter which turns rather raunchy, we see flashes of the sick side of Lou. This man is clearly not well, and he clearly knows it, though no one else seems to. They say a man can only fight the monster so much before the monster takes over. The Killer Inside Me is the monster taking Lou Ford over.
Okay, trailer time.
There are many great films that give us insight into the mind of a madman. From Henry: The Portrait of a Serial Killer to Silence of the Lambs, madmen have gotten their day in the sun. Yet there are very few films that show us the battle the man may have with that side of himself. Ford may not fight it, but he is very much aware it is growing and there is little he can do. A man who seems rational and sane in one moment, and then just turns rabid without warning. When it comes to “scary”, you usually know right from the get-go, and with The Killer Inside, that is just not the case. There is a sort of Jekyll and Hyde mentality to Lou Ford. The professional and the animal, and we see him trying (and failing) to find that perfect balance. But when he is bad, he is REALLY bad.
Lou Ford is a foaming, seething madman, up there with someone like Kevin from Sin City. Looking at him, he might be the last guy you’d expect, but a few minutes alone with him, and you can feel the impending scythe of death. Lou Ford is A LOT like Javier Bardem as Anton in No Country For Old Men, as well. There is a calmness to his madness, and it is a very different way to envision a psycho than what we normally get on film. That is half the reason I liked the film so much, as messed up as it is. And believe me you, it is MESSED UP.
In this movie, the “wanting to punch an Affleck in the face” urge actually works in the movie’s favor.
This brings me to the performance section of the article.
This movie is pretty much entirely belonging to Casey Affleck. Although Kate Hudson and Jessica Alba both give very impressive performances, it is the ever-smug Casey Affleck that drives this vehicle. While you may not imagine him as being imposing, I really consider Lou Ford to be one of my favorite on-screen psychos of all time. He doesn’t do any of that over-the-top Jack Nicholson shit. He doesn’t need to flail his arms or grind his teeth to make himself seem crazy. In The Killer Inside Me, it is just the quiet way he looks at someone. You get this sense that he is like a rabid dog off a leash, that sometimes forgets for a second its rabid. Those are the quiet moments. The moments right before the madman takes over. It is not hard to play “scary” when makeup guys dress you up to look like a monster or demon. It is hard to play scary when you are completely normal, and dressed up like the good guy. Remember kids, the scariest killer is the one you let inside your house willingly, and that is just what Lou Ford is. He waves a badge and a smile. You let him in. He beats you and your family to death, but not before raping your wife. Yes, he is THAT kind of bad.
I still find it quite shocking that Jessica Alba starred in a film so far outside her comfort zone.
I know it seems I have told you little about the story, but honestly, I have told you nothing and everything. To tell you any subtleties of the actual story might take away some of the twists and surprises that often accentuate the movies I recommend to you. I will tell you this, The Killer Inside Me has some of the most honest ans realistic violence I have ever seen against a woman on film, and it is not easy to take. It may not quite be to Irreversible levels, but it’s pretty gut-wrenching. Two scenes in particular, so be prepared to wince and look away. Sadly, the reason I brought up houses in the intro was because, somewhere, just a few houses down from you right now, this shit is going on. You may not know it now, and you may not ever know it, but that is what struck me so much about The Killer Inside Me. It is a completely believable story about how the quiet facade of life is just a mask. A demeanor. It also shows us how a man with a badge is the last person anyone questions, even when all signs point to him.
Also, and a side few will tlak about for how taboo it may be, The Killer Inside Me is about how some people WANT to find themselves in the victim role, but just don’t know when to draw the line. Pay special attention to that thought as you watch this movie. Also, though I rarely point out specific scenes to people, please keep a special eye out for the on-foot chase scene in the last two thirds of the movie. You will know it when you get to it. There is a dynamic change that happens in that chase that makes it one of the most unforgettable scenes I have seen in a very long time, and marks a tonal shift in the film as well.
When you are BOTH too stubborn to ask for directions, everyone loses.
Also, just a heads up: there is some heavy S&M in the film. So if that kind of thing (paired up with unflinching violence that the camera doesn’t shy away from) makes you uncomfortable, this may not be a ride you want to take. I like me some S&M so I was all about it, though even for me, it is pretty hardcore at times. But above all else, The Killer Inside Me is about a very sick man. A man with a sort of disease that makes him do reprehensible things, and how we allow people like that to get away with it. Hell, we may not have a killer inside us that is quite on Lou Ford’s level, but we all have a killer inside us.
Few can argue that.
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