Midway through this gimmicky, derivative serial killer thriller, the murderer sends a message to his pursuers, a line from a song by The Police, promising he'll 'turn a murder into Art'. 'Very witty, this guy,' mutters agoraphobic psychologist Sigourney Weaver. 'He wants to dazzle us.' That goes for the film-makers too, of course, who've come up with this peculiarly tasteless, opportunistic conceit: a serial killer who reproduces the murders of notorious serial killers (Bundy, Dahmer, et al). With even less scruple, the screenwriters proceed to replicate the 'feminist' structure from Silence of the Lambs, with Weaver and cop Holly Hunter splintering the Clarice Starling role, consulting convicted psycho Harry Connick Jr for the inside dope, and finally coming face to face with their fears in a scary/silly climax. There are flashes of interest between the intriguingly matched stars, and Amiel keeps the tension high, but the film's imagination is circumscribed by the clichés of the genre, so that the name of that Police tune seems relevant: it's 'Murder by Numbers'. It leaves a nasty taste in the mouth.
Cast and crew
Ann Biderman, David Madsen
Sigourney Weaver Holly Hunter Harry Connick Jr Dermot Mulroney William McNamara JE Freeman Will Patton John Rothman Shannon O'Hurley