Kate Hudson and Casey Affleck in 'The Killer Inside Me'
"How dare you?" That's what one appalled movie buff asked director Michael Winterbottom when 'The Killer Inside Me' premiered at Sundance in January. She wasn't alone; many critics have condemned the film, which is based on the celebrated Jim Thompson novel about a small-town sheriff's deputy who's also a cold-blooded serial killer.

At a time when mainstream action and horror movies routinely show plenty of gore, Winterbottom has seen his little art-house movie (which opens in limited release on June 18) become the year's most controversial film to date. It has only a couple of unflinchingly violent sequences, but in those scenes (spoiler alert), the targets of the violence are played by two of Hollywood's most in-demand young actresses, Kate Hudson and Jessica Alba. Winterbottom's camera lingers on their suffering as protagonist Lou Ford (Casey Affleck) pummels the life out of them with his fists.