“The Killer Inside: The Ruth Finley Story” is a 2024 film written by Katie Gruel and directed by Greg Beeman. It features a talented cast, including Teri Hatcher as Ruth Finley, Tahmoh Penikett as Ed Finley, Eduard Witzke as Bernie Drowatzky, Eric Breker as Captain Price, Victoria Bidewell as Susan, and more. The plot revolves around Ruth Finley, a middle-aged woman who claims that she is being tormented and stalked by the infamous serial killer known as the “BTK Killer.” However, a thorough investigation reveals an entirely different truth.

Dennis Rader, also known as the BTK killer, was a notorious serial murderer who operated in Kansas from 1974 until 1991. Ruth Finley made an unfounded assertion that she knew Rader’s identity and had been in touch with him. She threw the inquiry into disarray by making false claims that led officials astray. A major part of the case’s history was Finley’s misdirection, although Rader was finally found and booked in 2005.

The Killer Inside: The Ruth Finley Story (2024) Plot Summary & Movie Synopsis:

“The Killer Inside: The Ruth Finley Story” takes inspiration from true events, but the filmmakers have taken some creative liberties for dramatic flair. It loosely centers around the infamous BTK killer, who wreaked havoc on Wichita’s citizens. Six women and children were found brutally murdered in their homes, seemingly chosen at random.  With barely any solid evidence, the police were still grappling to crack the case and unmask the killer. Despite the chilling fear that’s gripped the community, the investigation felt like it was going in circles, leaving everyone desperate for answers and justice.

The film kicks off with a strange man casually strolling into a house. He’s greeted by a kid at the door, who, without a second thought, lets him in when the man says he’s there to see his mother. What unfolds next is a nightmare the kid could never have imagined. The man is none other than the BTK killer. After locking the kid in a closet, the killer takes the woman’s life. She becomes the BTK killer’s seventh victim in his long killing spree. The fear is so palpable that sales of home alarms and guns have skyrocketed. The truly disturbing part is that the cops are nowhere near catching the killer.

The protagonist of the story is Ruth Finley, a middle-aged woman happily married to Ed. They love each other deeply. But Ed feels they’ve fallen into a monotonous routine involving gardening and eating turkey sandwiches for lunch every day. To shake things up, Ed suggests they take a week-long vacation to Europe. But then, things take a dramatic turn, and Ed is rushed to the hospital after suffering a heart attack. That same night, Ruth receives a phone call where the caller brings up a horrific night she endured sixteen years ago, a memory she’d hoped to leave buried in the past.

How does Ruth’s past catch up to her?

One unsettling night, as Ruth lies in her bathtub, worrying about Ed’s condition, her phone rings. The voice on the other end chills her to the bone. The caller dredges up a night from her teenage years, a night Ruth wishes she could forget. When Ruth was sixteen, she was kidnapped by a dangerous individual who locked her in a basement and branded her thigh with a hot iron. The scar, still visible, is a permanent reminder of that traumatic and horrific night.

Things quickly go from bad to worse. Ruth starts receiving letters from the strange man, reminding her that he’ll never forget that fateful night. Days later, she’s grabbed by a man on the street, but she manages to escape. When Ruth tells the cops about this, they get a hunch that the man terrorizing her might be the BTK killer. The BTK killer also has the same MO, where he often sends letters to his victims or soon-to-be victims.

Ruth also reveals to the police her terrifying encounter sixteen years ago when someone burned her with a flat iron. They had a suspect back then. However, the investigation hit a dead end, and the guy walked free. Now, the letters keep coming, and it’s driving Ruth up the wall. She feels unsafe everywhere—whether she’s at the supermarket, her office, or even her own home.

The Killer Inside: The Ruth Finley Story (2024) Movie
A still from “The Killer Inside: The Ruth Finley Story” (2024)

The town gets another shock when the BTK killer strikes again, this time taking the life of Nancy Fox. He slipped into her house at night through the back door after sabotaging the phone lines so she couldn’t call for her help, and then he ended her life. As a precaution, the cops show up at Ruth’s place and advise her to stay vigilant and make sure to lock her doors every night.

Tragedy strikes when Ruth, on her way to lunch, is kidnapped by the same creep she encountered weeks ago on the street. Word of Ruth’s abduction reaches Bernie’s ears. They issue an APB to find her before it’s too late. Luckily, Ruth manages to escape her captors and makes her way back to town. At the station, Ruth learns that Captain Price will be teaming up with Bernie to lead the investigation. Given the recent attempts on her life, she’s also assigned a protective detail that shadows her 24/7. Ruth also works with a sketch artist to create a rough drawing of her attacker, hoping it’ll lead to his capture. However, all of this still couldn’t protect Ruth, as a few weeks later, she is attacked again in a parking lot while shopping for Ed’s birthday gift:

The Killer Inside: The Ruth Finley Story (2024) Movie Ending Explained:

Is the BTK killer really terrorizing Ruth Finley?

From the start of the film, Ruth Finley is bombarded with creepy calls and letters from a stranger she believes could be the infamous BTK killer. The letters contain explicit details of an attack Ruth suffered as a teenager—details only she or her attacker would know. Ruth has been attacked multiple times. But no one has ever witnessed it. She and Ed live in a bustling part of town, yet none of their neighbors have spotted anyone suspicious lurking around their house. Adding to the mystery, Detective Price receives a threatening letter addressed to his wife. This is particularly odd since Price’s involvement in the case was top secret, known only to a select few.

Price and Bernie begin to suspect that Ed might be the stalker and attacker. However, Ed clears his name by willingly taking a polygraph test. With Ed off the hook, the police start to zero in on one person: Ruth. They entertain the idea that everything Ruth has been saying could be a fabrication, a carefully woven lie.  With Ed’s help, the cops stage a way to get Ruth out of the house, giving them the chance to search for any evidence that might support their theory.

Fortunately, the search uncovers multiple pieces of evidence that prove Ruth has been lying from the start. Security footage reveals Ruth stabbing herself in an empty parking lot. The BTK killer wasn’t stalking Ruth—it was all her. The letters, the attacks, the kidnapping attempts—they were all fabrications. The mysterious man Ruth claimed to see is just a figment of her imagination. In short, Ruth played the police department like a fiddle, robbing them of valuable time that could have been used to catch the real killer.

Despite everything, Ruth stubbornly maintains her innocence, insisting she can’t confess to crimes she didn’t commit. Eventually, the doctors placed her under psychiatric watch at a local hospital. After a thorough examination, it’s determined that Ruth’s psychological issues are deeply rooted in the abuse she suffered at sixteen. In a nutshell, the BTK killer wasn’t stalking or threatening Ruth. She fabricated the entire story due to her dissociative identity disorder, a condition that was triggered by the traumatic abuse she endured as a child. Ruth’s mother, who was somewhat aware of the abuse, chose to ignore it, claiming she “didn’t know what to do at the time.”

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The Killer Inside: The Ruth Finley Story (2024) Movie Links: IMDb, Rotten Tomatoes
Cast of The Killer Inside: The Ruth Finley Story (2024) Movie: Teri Hatcher, Tahmoh Penikett, Eduard Witzke
The Killer Inside: The Ruth Finley Story (2024) Movie Runtime: 1h 30m, Genre: Drama

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