There are people in this world that seem perfectly normal on the outside. They are polite, friendly, helpful, but what we don’t know is that some of these people maybe hiding a dark side that is just waiting to come out.

This is the backdrop for the film The Killer Inside Me directed by Michael Winterbottom (A Mighty Heart), written by John Curran and staring Casey Affleck, Jessica Alba and Kate Hudson.

The Killer Inside Me is based on a book, with the same title, written by Jim Thompson in 1952. This is the second film based on Thompson’s crime novel, in 1976 a film with the same title was released with Stacy Keach in the lead role.

Lou Ford (Affleck) is a deputy sheriff in a small west Texas town during the 1950’s. He was born and raised there and people have always felt he is a good, dependable person.

One day, Lou is sent out to run a prostitute, Joyce Lakeland (Alba), out of town. When she slaps him across the face, it is like a switch is flipped on and nice, ol’ Lou starts to change. Even though Lou has a steady girlfriend, town sweetheart Amy Staton (Hudson), he starts a hot and heavy romance with Joyce.

This intense relationship begins to bring back horrible memories of Lou’s abusive childhood. When this happens, it is not long before people start turning up dead around this sleepy, little crimeless town.

If you thought Casey Affleck was great in The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford, he was nominated for an Oscar (Best Supporting Actor) for this role, he does an equally outstanding job in this role. His voice and eyes send chills down your spine almost everytime he appears on screen. Even though Lou is the prime suspect in all of these unsolved homicides, he stays as cool as a cucumber as he calmly explains how he had nothing to do with any of the deaths.  

Jessica Alba and Kate Hudson both give fine performances, but nothing spectacular. Jessica definitely has the sex appeal for her role, while Kate has plenty of talent to play a down-home type, but they’re both outshined by Casey Affleck.

The production design by Mark Tildesley along with the music of Joel Cadbury and Melissa Parmenter combine wonderfully to give you that small town Texas feel during the 1950’s.

John Curran’s screenplay sticks pretty closely to Jim Thompson’s novel and Michael Winterbottom keeps the intensity high as Lou begins to lose control. In fact, there are two scenes where the violence gets so graphic that it is a bite difficult to watch. 

The Killer Inside Me maybe a movie you did not hear about when it was out in the theaters as a limited release, but now that it is available on DVD, it is without question worthy of your attention.