The Killer Inside Me

Movie review by
Jeffrey M. Anderson, Common Sense Media
The Killer Inside Me Movie Poster Image
Dark thriller centers on brutal violence against women.
  • R
  • 2010
  • 108 minutes

Parents say

age 17+
Based on 3 reviews

Kids say

age 16+
Based on 3 reviews

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

The movie is told from the point of view of a sociopath who kills almost for the sport of it. He never seems to feel the slightest bit guilty about his crimes, though he does pay for them in the end.

Positive Role Models & Representations

The main character enjoys rough, violent sex and pummels women to death with his bare hands. The "good" characters play smaller roles and ironically come across as nasty and pathetic.

Violence

The main character brutally murders two women by pummelling them with his fists over a prolonged period of time. He also shoots and kills a man and indirectly causes the deaths of three other characters (one dies from gunshots). A flashback scene suggests that the main character is molesting a young girl.

Sex

The main character has rough sex with two women, slapping, mauling, and bruising them. He wraps his belt around a girl's neck and uses it to "whip" her. Flashbacks show him spanking a third woman and molesting a young girl. There's also a suggestion of oral sex performed on the male character. One of the female characters is a prostitute, though she's not seen having sex with anyone else. Nudity includes female buttocks.

Language

Language includes "bastard" and "son of a bitch" several times each, plus "hell," "damn," and at least one exclamation of "Jesus."

Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Characters drink hard alcohol and smoke cigars and cigarettes often. The main character burns a man's hand with his cigar. A secondary character drinks to excess and falls asleep.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that this moody adaptation of a classic 1950s crime novel centers on extreme violence toward women, which makes it iffy for even the most mature teens. The violence isn't constant, but a few key scenes are intensely brutal and disturbing, with the main character -- an amoral sociopath -- slowly pummeling two women to death with his bare hands. He also has sex with several women, many times, in a violent and aggressive way. Characters also drink and smoke throughout the film, though they don't swear much.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byMovieMan26 October 9, 2010

Horrid, and definitely not for kids

Gross and horrific, and that's the Bottom Line. Thanks for reading, and sorry for the negativity - Movie Man
Parent of a 14, 14, 17, and 18+ year old Written byMother of 4 Teens July 1, 2010

"There is so much in this movie"

A well-told me movie, but DEFINITELY not for children. There is so much in this movie, I would only let Trisha, who's 20 watch it.
Teen, 14 years old Written byqueenofrandom01 August 3, 2010

bad

this is bad for kids!
Teen, 15 years old Written byXXXdude January 15, 2011

no kids

Rape and stuff. no kids

What's the story?

Lou Ford (Casey Affleck) is a deputy sheriff living in a small West Texas town in the 1950s. After he's sent to investigate a girl who's thought to be a prostitute, Joyce Lakeland (Jessica Alba), he winds up beginning a sexual relationship with her ... and then plots to kill her boyfriend, the son of the town's wealthiest and most powerful citizen. This leads to a second murder, a false accusation, blackmail, and more murders. As his sociopathic side begins to manifest itself with increasing brutality, Lou has a more and more difficult time convincing his girlfriend, Amy (Kate Hudson); the district attorney (Simon Baker); and a local union leader (Elias Koteas) that he's innocent.

Is it any good?

The biggest issue with THE KILLER INSIDE ME is its controversial scenes of violence against women, which are highly disturbing and not at all easy to watch (and not for kids). But for mature viewers who can get past them, Affleck's Lou Ford is a fascinating character, and it's interesting to watch his mental and emotional journey. It's even possible to root for him to find some sort of inner peace.

Director Michael Winterbottom (A Mighty Heart, 24 Hour Party People) is known mainly for his heavy message movies, but he occasionally makes interesting, smart forays into other genres, and this is one of them. The movie is moody and stylish, and it develops a strong sense of place and tone to support the dark characters. It doesn't quite have the shocking punch that Jim Thompson's original 1952 novel had, but it's an intriguing effort.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the film's brutal violence. How did it make you feel? How does it compare to the more explosive violence seen in many action movies? Which has more impact? Why?

  • How does the movie depict sex? How is it connected to the violence in the film? What message does that send to audiences?

  • How does making the killer the main character make you feel about him? Is he the "hero"? Does the story work the same way as if a different person had been the hero?

Movie details

For kids who love thrills

Our editors recommend

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

See how we rate

About these links

Common Sense Media, a nonprofit organization, earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes when you use our links to make a purchase. Thank you for your support.

Read more

Our ratings are based on child development best practices. We display the minimum age for which content is developmentally appropriate. The star rating reflects overall quality and learning potential.

Learn how we rate