The Killer Inside Me is unrelentingly intense, guided by a menacingly bizarre performance from Casey Affleck, and may go down in history as the worst date film ever made. Here's how you'd pitch it to your girl: "Honey, wanna see this new movie called The Killer Inside Me?" "What's it about?" "Oh, you know, it's kind of like Antichrist meets Precious meets No Country for Old Men." Sound weird? Here, let's break it down.
Like No Country for Old Men, the adaptation of the Jim Thompson novel is set in Texas, where very bad things happen, and follows the blank-faced homicidal sociopath (Casey Affleck) who perpetrates all these very bad things. Only, it's less sentimental and more graphic, with scenes of nastily intense violence — particularly against Kate Hudson and Jessica Alba. At one point, you see Jessica Alba's face pounded into a pulp, with her flesh splitting away from her cheekbones to reveal her jaw, as she slumps down onto the floor. The S&M sequences begin hot and get progressively more devastating — and really the only recent point of comparison will be Lars von Trier's Antichrist. Like Antichrist, the film explores violent sex as a struggle between lovers, and will doubtless trigger another round of debates over the merits of presenting misogyny. Expected questions: Is the film misogynistic? A realistic depiction of misogyny? A vicious critique? Or just highbrow torture porn? (To be fair, he does kill or molest several men, a teenage boy, and a child, as well.)
But how is it like Precious? Like Gabourey Sidibe's character in Precious, the murderer was molested by his own family — his mother, in this case — and the film isn't just a killer thriller, it's a grisly exploration of the aftereffects of sexual abuse. Only, instead of surviving the abuse and emerging on the other side, you know, he goes fucking crazy.