Last night after the premiere of Michael Winterbottom‘s film, The Killer Inside Me starring Casey Affleck, Kate Hudson and Jessica Alba, the director, producers and some of the actors walked out onto the stage and before anyone could ask a question an angry audience member decided to tell them “the film was so violent that she couldn’t believe it was accepted into Sundance.” Then she kept going on about how “it was just horrible.” The majority of the crowed booed her out of the room, while the director tried to move on. She wouldn’t be the last audience member to bring up the film’s violence, others asked “how do you expect something like this to sell?” “Do you support violence against women?” Scroll down if you want to hear the audio for yourself…

The Killer Inside Me was pretty violent and at times I could have done without some of the more graphic scenes, but it was not nearly as extreme as other films that have screened at festivals like Antichrist. I’m hearing equally strong reactions to Splice and 7 Days and in the end, the film is based off a book which is equally as violent. It’s more upsetting because some of the violence like in Lust, Caution is at times sexual and one could argue rape a number of times over. The violence being done towards women also has no consequences and the women seem to be okay with the way they are being treated.

BUT! And this is a big but, they are by no means depicted as sane or rational themselves. Alba’s character is a whore and deeply disturbed. Anyone who even thinks that the actions taking place in the movie are in any way acceptable needs to be locked up. This is not an example of how one should treat other people, but rather the portrait of an insane man.

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For those of you who are having trouble with the audio (it’s not great) here are some of the highlights:

Angry Lady: I just don’t understand how Sundance showed this movie.

Michael Winterbottom: It’s based on a novel by Jim Thomson. I read the book and I find it very powerful. I find myself thinking about it afterwards and thinking about the picture of the world that he gave, the picture the character gave, but also the way it makes you feel about yourself and feel about other things that you feel in the world. He’s a very powerful writer and for me the story is really powerful.

I haven’t seen the version before this, but I know this was adapted once before. How do you approach material that had already been adapted?

MW: To be honest, when I read the book I didn’t know this was a film. I decided not to watch the film also. I haven’t seen the other film. The idea was to stay as close as possible to the book. A lot of the dialogue is from the book, the story is the same. It’s a very fictional world, so what I tried to do was a simple adaptation of the book as possible. The other film didn’t play a part. I haven’t seen that film.

Another question on the message of him showing so much violence:

MW: I didn’t think it was about a message. For me, when I read the book I was moved by his pictures. There’s a lot of parts in the book that are shocking, the things that he does are shocking, but I think also there’s a lot of tenderness in a way that people he destroys, the people he kills. It’s a sense of the destruction of people. The way people mess up what they have. The way people destroy the things the have. That was the emotion for me sort of what I thought out to be in the book and what made me want to make the film.

Question on what’s real and what’s not….

It’s a very fictional book. It’s a story being told by someone who is, himself, crazy. He’s trying to look back to it. By the time we get to the asylum, he is hallucinating. For me it’s the official words, not that this character is real dumb. The way he tells it, the way he sees it.

Another angry lady about violence against women…

Elias Koteas: I have a different reason for thinking this film and other films like this are important. Some of us only need entertainment, escapism. While we get off on fake vampires or comic book characters (claps). Movies like In Cold Blood, Half-Nelson, Henry Parker the Serial Killer; this movie causes you to face things the way they are. How do you feel about it. It’s how you feel about it. And where do you go with it? What made you sit here and watch it? But to make it real or really real, or maybe a fantasy that someday is having within the movie, and what is your experience about that. I think it means looking at the truth about what happens in this society and what do we want to do about it. Different way of looking at these kinds of films (claps).

MW follow-up: For me it’s not really about merit, it’s about walking can do when you go away. The way that people can destroy themselves and other people. There’s a little story in the book that’s not in the film Lou tells the story of how he met the newspaper about a father who had a child and a wife. And he falls in love with the girl and they go into the house, and the child’s killed the girlfriend, the wife, he’s killed himself. It’s a very fictional world. Why do we do sort of things that we do? Why do we destroy the things that we love?

It’s obvious that the violence will be what either makes or breaks this film. If it’s picked up, it’s likely that a studio will cut down some of the more graphic scenes before distributing it. Or they could market it as the violent film from the start and use it as a hook to get people to see it. Or maybe some mixture of both of those things. I’m not sure, but I wasn’t alone in my views of liking the movie but not necessarily all of the violence.

Here’s what the wonderful world of Twitter had to say about the film:

  • rizmc ..2nd film was Michael Winterbottom’s brutal + relentless THE KILLER INSIDE ME – brilliant + profoundly disturbing…some ppl kicked off!!!
  • THE KILLER INSIDE ME is pretty damn good. Irreversible levels of violence. Some slightly sluggish scenes. Almost as if they were rehearsal.
  • mcgregorcasting The Killer Inside Me. Ill from the shocking violence about 15 mins in & didn’t recover.Good performances but it’s a Winterbottom miss for me
  • bryceclark the killer inside me was too violent frozen was pretty good
  • rabiahc oscillating between shock and awe after The Killer Inside Me. Q&A started with a roar. @SundanceFest #Sundance
  • Paul_Gandersman Just saw THE KILLER INSIDE ME. Loved it!!! #sundance
  • BlackHoleDVDs @screencrave Was THE KILLER INSIDE ME a horror? Doesn’t Sundance do horror?
  • ChicEventsThe Killer Inside Me” is literally the most disturbing, disgusting movie ever! We left mid way through. Such a hateful movie.
  • jambox The Killer Inside Me is without a doubt the most despicable film you’ll see at #Sundance.

Do you want to see the movie after all of this?