Film / The Killer Inside Me

Sheriff Bob Maples: Name of Joyce Lakeland. Lives about four or five miles out on Derrick Road past the old Branch place.
Lou Ford: Oh, I know the old Branch place. She a hustling lady, Bob?
Sheriff Bob Maples: Well, I guess so, but she's - she's been pretty decent about it.

The Killer Inside Me is a 2010 psychological horror film by Michael Winterbottom based on the novel by Jim Thompson. It stars Casey Affleck (Lou), Jessica Alba (Joyce) and Kate Hudson (Amy).

This film is unflinchingly violent and deliberately disturbing. It begins when the polite, seemingly normal Lou Ford is sent to encourage local prostitute Joyce Lakeland to leave town. The confrontation leads to him beating her with a belt, and their romance begins. Together they concoct a plan to scam money from the wealthy Chester Conway. But Lou secretly had an even darker plan for Joyce. He beats Joyce unconcious and shoots Chester's son, making it appear as if the two of them got into a fight. From there he must keep commiting more murders to cover up his crimes, and also, because he enjoys it.

Not to be confused with The Killer in Me.

This film provides examples of:

  • Asshole Victim: Chester Conway is an overbearing jerk and his son is wildly irresponsible but damn, they did not deserve what happened.
  • Beauty Is Never Tarnished: Averted. Joyce's beauty is mostly destroyed after Lou is done with her. When she reappears at the end of the film, her entire face is covered in scars.
  • Bondage Is Bad: Averted, despite Lou being a sociopathic and sadistic killer, having sadomasochistic fantasies is in no way described as wrong. The only times it is is when Lou spank Joyce without her consent and during a sequence showing an underage Lou as an underage kid beating his babysitter. Otherwise, Lou BDSM relationships with Joyce and Amy are shown as loving and perfectly sane.
  • Domestic Abuser: Lou has to be one of the worst in cinema history.
  • Evil Is Petty: Lou sets up Elmer and hopes that Chester will live a long life of shame about what happened.
  • Fake Pregnancy: Amy attempts this in an effort to get Lou to hurry up and marry her already, only for him to drily inform her that he's infertile.
  • Faux Affably Evil: Lou Ford never loses his puppy dog eyes, southern drawl and gentlemanly ways, even when he's beating someone to death.
  • For the Evulz: Why Lou does most of what he does.
  • Freudian Excuse: The camera pans over the main character's bookshelf, lingering prominently on a volume of Freud. He immediately takes a Bible off the same shelf, opens it, and finds forgotten photographs of his father's sadomasochistic relationship with the housekeeper, Helene. She sexually abused Lou when he was young as well, instructing him to hit and spank her, telling him that she "likes it when he hurts her", likely planting the seeds of hs.
  • The Killer in Me: Interestingly, averted. Despite the name, it isn't an example of this trope, as it's told from the first-person perspective of a character who knowingly and admittedly is committing the murders in the story, and isn't hallucinating or hiding anything. Or is he?
  • No Dead Body Poops: Averted. If you kill someone, and they needed to go to the bathroom at the time you brutally beat them to death, guess what happens?
  • No-Holds-Barred Beatdown: Lou gives one of these to both Joyce and Amy in graphic, prolonged, horrific scenes. And they both die. Except not really, because Joyce is revealed to be alive at the end, although disfigured—and then he immediately kills her for real.
  • "Not If They Enjoyed It" Rationalization: Joyce starts hitting Lou, Lou hits her back, and then shoves her down on the bed and starts beating her with his belt, which she shows signs of beginning to enjoy mid-way through. He apologizes, looking shocked at himself, and she tells him it's okay and kisses him before they have consensual sex. They then begin an S&M relationship.
  • Rape as Backstory: Lou's backstory is that he was the victim of sexual abuse and a sexual abuser
  • Sadist: Lou.
  • The Sociopath: Lou, all the way.
  • Villain Protagonist: Lou Ford is an accomplished serial killer and domestic abuser masquerading as an honest cop, and genuinely enjoys all the murders he commits.
  • Violence Is Disturbing: There's a notorious scene where the Villain Protagonist graphically beats a woman to death for five whole minutes. Her face is mangled beyond belief when he's done.
  • Your Cheating Heart: Lou, two times to Amy and Joyce.