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The Killer Within Me (2003)

A deceptively charismatic ex-convict is welcomed into a Beverly Hills family as their new houseguest. Will they grant him a second chance at redemption. Or will they realize too late that some people really are born evil?

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Danny Flanagan
William Benton ...
Steve Padevik
...
Cassandra X. Flanagan
Stacie Doss ...
Stacy Flanagan
Ruth de Sosa ...
Tina Padevik
...
Pete Padevik (as Geoff McGrail)
Joe Thomas ...
Wreak
Anthony Mascar ...
Cato
Edna Perkins ...
Madelyn Falk
Kristina Kaubryte ...
Heidi / Lithuanian newscaster
Asher Brauner ...
Vito
Patrick O'Hagan ...
Jess Montana
Jimmy Youngs ...
Haley
Calamity Kate ...
Stunning newscaster
...
Billy
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Storyline

A deceptively charismatic ex-convict is welcomed into a Beverly Hills family as their new houseguest. Will they grant him a second chance at redemption. Or will they realize too late that some people really are born evil?

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independent film | See All (1) »

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Thriller

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for violence and language
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12 August 2003 (USA)  »

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User Reviews

 
serviceable but politically motivated thriller
17 September 2003 | by See all my reviews

The film opens with a killer up for parole. His morally intense plea to the parole board that he is a redeemed man convinces the board to release him. But this guy is in fact an entirely unrepentant sociopathic killer, who quickly ingratiates himself to a well-off Beverly Hills family, headed by an over-the-top caricature of a liberal do-gooder. We first meet this man at a book-signing event.

The book is a plea against capital punishment, and represents the life work of Mr. Do-Good, a prominent author. A doubter in the crowd asks the author whether he doesn't know that some people are just born evil and beyond redemption. Do-Good responds with a canned speech to the effect that violent criminals are made by society and therefore never deserve to be put to death for their crimes. This moment is dwelt upon by the director, and Do-Good's smug earnestness is throughout the picture made to look like Newt Gingrich's version of everything that is wrong with "liberalism."

Do-Good's daughter is initially wary of dad's decision to take the sociopath in as a lodger, but she is quickly -and inexplicably- won over by what to the viewer are the transparently sham charms of the killer. The blindness of the family to what is presented as the conspicuous lunacy of the sociopath is a continuous theme of the movie. Once the daughter is attracted to the killer the plot thickens and moderately suspenseful and violent events unfold as expected. The actor playing the killer is quite convincing. Daddy Do-Good is a talented community theater performer. Still, the movie held my attention, as any competently made derivative thriller will for me.

What struck me most about this movie is its in-your-face anti-anti-capital punishment stance - a movie that tries to be simultaneously a tense violent thriller *and* an unremitting, hardly subtle political statement. Whatever your position on capital punishment, you can't help but slap your knee at that. I thought of the director -John What's-His-Name- who made a well known movie with Patrick Swayze about the Soviets attacking America by.... dropping paratroopers into the heartland!


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