Directed by Michael Winterbottom (who I looked up and frankly, I have never heard of him nor have I seen any of his movies) this is a movie adaptation of Jim Thompson’s story The Killer Inside Me.
Set in the 1950s, Lou Ford (Casey Affleck) is a Deputy Sheriff who is…not well. He is asked by his boss to go talk to a lady that is taking gentlemen customers for pleasure activities through her motel room. This, of course, looks bad for Central City and he wants her run out of town.
The woman in question, Joyce Lakeland (played by Jessica Alba) is a very beautiful but, hardened prostitute with a smart mouth and a taste for the gamier side of sex. We discover just how gamey when Ford goes to talk to her and they have an argument, which escalates into a physical fight and then into a literal ass whooping for Joyce, and somehow into a sexual encounter. An encounter that repeats itself multiple times over the next few days.
Now that they are totally into each other (and have been having at each other for some time), Ford and Joyce cook up a plan to scam Elmer Conway out of $10,000, who also happens to be the son of the richest man in town, Chester Conway. The plan is that Elmer is going to bring the money to Joyce’s room at ten o’clock the following night. Elmer (the poor dope) thinks that he and Joyce are running away together. Joyce thinks that she and Ford are going to kill Elmer and take the money and run away together.
Now, Ford has been in communication with all of them plus, Chester Conway, who is not happy about his son skipping town with a prostitute. So, Chester enlists Ford to make sure that Elmer delivers the money and leaves Joyce and that Joyce then, leaves town. So, he thinks that the chick and the money will be gone and his son will come home and everything will blow over.
They are ALL wrong.
Ford has a different plan entirely. But first, he gets caught sleeping around by his girlfriend Amy Stanton, played by Kate Hudson. In order to convince her he’s not cheating and loves her only, he proposes and she accepts (this is just one of the many twisted love exchanges that happen in this movie).
So now, Ford is engaged to Amy but still sleeping with Joyce. Joyce is sleeping with Ford and leading Elmer on to get the money. Elmer’s father is all up in his son’s business and wants Joyce run out of town. Plus, Daddy-O is counting on Ford to tie up any and all loose ends regarding the whole exchange. And Elmer is hoping to run away into the sunset with Joyce forever and is counting on Lou Ford to help him make that happen.
So, the night of the meet up at the motel, Ford arrives at Joyce’s room about an hour before Elmer is supposed to arrive with the money. Joyce suggests they get down for a quickie but, Lou decides that something else needs to happen instead.
He beats her, with his fists, until she’s hanging on to life by a very slender thread. He leaves her slumped over, sitting on the floor and fallen against the wall of the motel room. And he goes outside to wait for Elmer.
When Elmer arrives and enters the room, seeing Joyce in that horrible condition (and I promise you, the scene where Joyce gets beaten is very graphic), he completely freaks out. Lou enters the room behind Elmer and shoots him multiple times. He then wipes his prints off of the gun and puts it in one of Joyce’s hands, making it look like Elmer beat the hell out of her and she shot him in self-defense.
On his way home from the scene, he almost crashes into Chester Conway, who is now on his way to the motel to check on his son, who hasn’t come home after dropping off the $10,000. When they get to the room, Joyce is not dead, like Lou planned. Chester makes sure she is whisked away to get the best medical care possible so he can make sure she gets prosecuted for the murder of his son. While they await word on her surgery, Ford and his boss hang out in a hotel room. They are soon phoned and his boss reveals that Joyce is dead and didn’t make it.
Meanwhile, confident he has gotten away with his crimes, Lou is out walking one night and when a man down on his luck asks Lou for money, Lou burns the palm of his outstretched hand with his cigar. The man is shocked and walks away clutching his hand, warning Lou he should watch it with that kind of stuff.
In light of these horrific murders, Howard Hendricks, a county attorney (Simon Baker) shows up to investigate. He starts to suspect Lou for the crimes but, is having a hard time getting any evidence and getting Lou to talk, of course.
In the meantime, he arrests a young man who is a friend of Ford’s. A boy by the name of Johnnie, who he has been keeping an eye on and helping out when needed for Johnnie’s dad. It’s just a friendly favor kind of thing. But, Ford quickly uses it to his advantage. Johnnie is found with a marked twenty-dollar bill. A bill that came from the money that was supposed to be given to Joyce. However, Ford is the one that gave Johnnie the money. It was a tip while he was gassing up Ford’s car. But, Hendricks doesn’t know that. And he actually, while trying to manipulate Ford, asks Lou to talk to Johnnie while he’s in jail, try to get him to confess to the murders.
Instead, while talking to Johnnie, Ford tells him that HE was the one that killed Joyce and Elmer and while they are left alone, just the two of them, Lou hangs Johnnie in his cell and then leaves. He is later discovered and it is thought to be suicide from guilt over committing the murders.
Later, Ford is visited at his home by the man that asked him for money, the one he burned. Apparently, this man has been following Ford and knows everything about everything. He wants money. He tells Lou to get him $5,000 and he will disappear forever and the topic is closed for good. Ford agrees. They decide to meet at Ford’s house later to complete the transaction.
As this is all going on, Ford is trying to maintain a regular life with Amy. They plan to elope and on the day Amy comes to the house to do so, Ford kills her too. Then, our beggar shows up at Ford’s house, sees Amy dead on the floor and loses it, running from the house, screaming. Ford chases this man down the street with a knife in his hand, as he is yelling out that THIS MAN killed his fiancé Amy Stanton. The police end up shooting him dead in the street.
As the case closes in on Ford, his boss and friend, commits suicide. Hendricks is convinced he did this once he realized that Ford was guilty.
Lost in his own demons and feeling the pressure, Ford dowses his house in gasoline and alcohol, arms himself with a knife and waits for the police and investigators to show up.
When they do, they have a little surprise for Lou. Joyce. She didn’t die and although they tried to get her to cooperate with the investigation, she refused. She steps towards Lou to tell him this and he walks to her, says he loves her and then stabs her in the stomach. While they are chest to chest, the police open fire and shoot through Joyce, hitting Ford on the other side of her body, killing them both and igniting the gasoline, blowing up the house in a catastrophic explosion. Ford, Joyce, Hendricks, Chester Conway and a couple of police officers all die in the fire.
This is truly one movie where there are shocks and surprises at every turn. The violence is very graphic and amazingly disturbing, as this stuff doesn’t usually get me. But watching Casey Affleck beat in Jessica Alba’s face as if I had ringside seats at a heavy weight boxing match was wicked. There are things that happen in this movie that I didn’t even cover. There’s just no way to get into every little thing. This movie is definitely worth watching and I would recommend it to anyone who digs a good psychological thriller with some good old-fashioned violence.
However, if watching a movie where women are treated badly is something that makes your stomach turn, this is not the movie for you. While Ford seems to feel something for these women, he is definitely very into abusive, violent behavior not to mention he too has a propensity for, shall we say, very aggressive sex.
The scenes where he beats these women are very violent and very up close and personal. Because of this, I feel that the special effects make up that turns Alba into a human hamburger is right on.
Only one thing struck me as off enough to say something. And it is something that is relatively minor and I know can’t be controlled. But, it’s Affleck’s voice. For a cold-blooded killer, he sure has a strange voice. It sounds so soft and sweet and boy like. I just thought it was weird. Maybe that was part of why they chose him, because by the way he sounds, he seems so unassuming and unimposing. But WATCH him talk and you get a whole new picture of Lou Ford.
I do feel this was a successful movie and although it moved a tiny bit on the slow side, I still would watch it again. It was certainly worth watching the first time.
As a fan of Stephen King, I was naturally going to grab this movie when I saw it. This is another movie based on a King novel. Directed by Tod Williams, this film stars John Cusack and Samuel L. Jackson, two actors that I found to have a unique on-screen chemistry in 1408, the movie adaptation of King’s short story of the same name. (My review of 1408 can be read HERE.)
John Cusack plays a man named Clay. He’s a middle-aged man who has essentially abandoned his family. Although he calls, he has not been home in quite some time and it is seemingly on purpose. Clay is a graphic novelist. He’s been travelling nonstop for months, flying from airport to airport.
Upon his arrival in Boston, Clay goes to call his family on his cell phone but, his phone is out of juice. In true modern fashion, there’s not an available outlet to charge his phone to be found. So, he chooses to go old school and use a payphone to make his call.
During this phone call, Clay witnesses something awful happen to those around him using their cell phones. They start to scream and shake violently, foam runs from their mouths and everyone seems to be overcome by some sort of homicidal rage, causing them to kill each other in a multitude of ways. Anyone who is on a cell phone is affected. Those NOT on cells remain normal. The affected people have now become some sort of zombie, infected with a mysterious signal from their phones.
Clay flees the airport. Outside the city looks like a war zone. There are damaged buildings, crashed cars, fires, dead bodies, just everything you can imagine in an apocalypse. He decides to take refuge in the city’s subway, where he finds some other survivors.
Amongst these non-infected people, called “normals”, he meets Tommy (Samuel L. Jackson). Tommy is a motorman on the subway and in charge of the train they all now find themselves on. Although they can’t take the train to leave the area, all electronics are shut down, they can WALK to safety. This is what Tommy suggests. While there are numerous people that think this to be a horrible idea, there are a few that go along with Tommy and Clay.
They head out to go to Clay’s apartment. Clay wants Along the way they have to fight their way through a “zombie riot” of sorts in which everybody in the group gets killed except Clay and Tommy.
Once they get to Clay’s apartment they meet Alice, one of Clay’s upstairs neighbors. Alice is in a small state of shock, she had to kill her mother when the cell phone virus swept across everything and infected her while she was on her phone. Clay lets her in and offers her the use of his shower, some clean clothes and food.
While holed up in Clay’s apartment they discuss their plan. Clay wants to get to his family to see if they are okay. Even though it’s unlikely that his family has not been infected (at least his wife), they still decide that’s the best idea and all three take off on the journey.
During this hike they come upon a prep school that has fallen victim to the same virus infection. The Headmaster of the school has taken charge and he has one of the students with him. This kid is very knowledgeable and interested in computers and robots, etc.
The Headmaster gives the group some very useful information. He has figured out that, at night, the zombies are in a sleep mode and are actually recharging like batteries. As they do this, nothing can wake them, they don’t feel anything, they don’t react to anything. Oh, and while they are “charging”, music is playing from their mouths, all the same music, all in sync, at the same time.
Now, the Headmaster has come up with a plan. There are hundreds of zombies gathered at the football stadium for the school. They are all lying on the ground “charging” for the night. The Headmaster wants to use the watering truck (the truck with the big sprayers for the field) to douse all of the zombies in gasoline and set them on fire to kill them. Unfortunately, the fire does actually wake some of the zombies and a battle at the stadium ensues. We lose the Headmaster but, the kid joins the group.
They move on, still on their way to Clay’s family and they meet a couple living in the woods. Ray and Denise are a little crazed. They are sleep deprived and both really on edge. After talking to Clay for a while, Ray decides to give Clay a cell phone. He tells him when the time is right, to call the number that he has attached to it. Clay doesn’t understand but, he doesn’t get a chance to try to clarify. Ray blows himself up.
Finally, once at Clay’s house, Clay finds a message on the fridge in children’s alphabet magnets. It says that the mom is gone, having become one of the zombies, and his son is headed for Kashwak, a supposed safe zone that they have been hearing about. However, there is some disagreement as to whether this will really be a safe NO PHONE area or if it’s some sort of a trick to get the rest of the survivors all in one place.
Now, during this whole ordeal, these survivors have all been dreaming about the same person when they sleep. A man in a red hoodie. Ray informed them that he was The President of the Internet. The man in charge of everything that is happening.
Clay decides he must go to Kashwak and leaves the others behind. When he gets there, he sees all the zombies herding mindlessly towards a huge cell phone tower. Clay then finds his son, who seems to have already been infected himself. In his despair of having lost his wife and son to the virus, he remembers the cell phone he was given. He gets close to the tower and holding his son in his arms, he dials the number. The tower explodes in a massive BOOM! and all seems right again.
Until you see Clay, mindlessly bobbing along, with the rest of the zombie herd.
Well, had this movie come out at the height of the cell phone craze, it would have been more effective. However, this was an okay film to watch. The idea that some sort of electronic pulse can nab us through the use of our cell phones and make us killing zombie machines isn’t an entirely unique idea. The thought is that we should stop using our cell phones so much, unplug and get back to living life. This is portrayed by the premise that our cell phones make us sick, an idea that is overly exaggerated in this story.
The fact that the plot isn’t one of King’s best doesn’t take away from the effort made on the part of both Cusack and Jackson, who still work very well together on screen.
It does need to be clarified that it can be, in my opinion, extremely difficult to adapt a King story to a movie. Stephen King is notorious for his attention to detail and in his books, while at the time you read a particular detail, it may seem insignificant, many of these small details are what truly makes the story a Stephen King story. A lot of that detail gets lost when translating it to film. So, I ty to go into these adaptations with an open mind.
Still, I thought this movie was worth watching at least once. I, personally, will be watching it again because it has a lot of little things that happen, many of which I did not cover here. I could recommend it to just about anyone, as I think it covers more genres than just horror. However, it wouldn’t be at the top of my list and I would probably emphasize that it is a Stephen King story, so again, there can be an open mind.
I chose this movie because it had C. Thomas Howell in it. He starred in The Hitcher (1986) with Rutger Hauer and he was a serial killer that taunted the BAU in Criminal Minds over a number of episodes. He’s been in other things that I liked but those are the first two that come to mind. Ever since I saw The Hitcher I was a fan of both actors. That being the case I was really looking forward to this movie.
Unfortunately, C. Thomas Howell was the only good thing about this film and he didn’t show up until the last, oh, seven minutes of the movie.
This UNRATED movie is about two newlyweds that are anxious to make their new house a home, start a family and begin their new life chapter together. Megan (Kat Steffans) and Andrew (Bug Hall) (yes, his name is Bug, no, it’s not a typo, I promise) are two hardcore lovebirds.
We start the movie seeing the two lovers riding in their car after a carnival/fair type event that they attended. Andrew is constantly looking at his loving wife and not keeping his eyes on the road, almost causing them to wreck. However, they make it home no problem.
As they adjust to life in their new home, Megan starts to see things that aren’t really there. She is seeing strange shadowy figures and begins to hear peculiar sounds around the house.
Little by little, Andrew starts to question his own mental stability as his concern for his wife grows deeper and deeper.
The spirits in the house that she seems to be haunted by are having a horrible effect on Megan and this, in turn, begins to interfere with the marriage itself.
Megan becomes overwhelmed by the negativity lurking in the house. So much so that her husband tries multiple times to get her to leave the house but, he is met with stronger opposition each time.
Then Kaine, a Reverend (C. Thomas Howell) appears. He blasts through the door preaching. A giant storm has begun and rain is pouring down. Andrew grabs Megan and runs out of the house with her in his arms.
Then a bunch of flashback type images come on screen, intermixed with current images of Andrew and Megan trying to escape their house. These pictures are of a car accident…THEIR car accident. Instead of making it home the night of the carnival, instead of NEARLY getting into an accident while ogling his girl, they did, in fact, get into a horrible accident.
The strange faces and ghost like images Megan was seeing throughout the house are actually bystanders and emergency service workers at the scene of the accident. The Reverend shows up to give a final prayer as Megan dies from her injuries. Andrew doesn’t make it either.
So, okay, I waited the whole movie for Howell and got a total of about five minutes of him…yet he is the top billed actor on the box cover. The movie moved slow and there wasn’t NEAR enough of the ghosts and whatnot.
Plus, as you can tell from my summary, there is not a lot of substance to this film. This movie focused SO MUCH on this couple and how much they make out and have sex. I’d say about 90% of the scenes where both Andrew and Megan are in the shot, they are getting it on. And it’s not like the traditional sex scenes in horror movies. They are, shall we say, blatantly bashful about it. You know what they are going to do and you can so tell that’s the final result of their flirtatious behavior but, it’s almost like PG-13 rating kind of scenarios. And yet, they are trying to make it soooo risqué without getting an R rating…or more. But because of their shyness, this movie is NOT RATED at all. By the third time you see this couple together you start asking yourself if “having sex” is all these two ever do.
I seriously doubt I will be watching this again or recommending it to anyone. Ever.