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Murder by Numbers (2002)

R  |   |  Crime, Drama, Thriller  |  19 April 2002 (USA)
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Ratings: 6.1/10 from 41,534 users   Metascore: 50/100
Reviews: 300 user | 134 critic | 35 from Metacritic.com

Two gifted high school students execute a "perfect" murder - then become engaged in an intellectual contest with a seasoned homicide detective.



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Ray Feathers
Captain Rod Cody
Asst. D.A. Al Swanson
Janni Brenn ...
Ms. Elder
John Vickery ...
Restaurant Manager
Mr. Chechi
Olivia Lake, the Victim
Male Officer in Flashback
Lab Technician


Richard Haywood, a Californian high school's coolest kid, secretly teams up with another rich kid in his class, brilliant nerd Justin 'Bonaparte' Pendleton, whose erudition, specially in forensic matters, allows them to plan elaborately perfect murders, just for the kick, for which they set up Richard's marijuana supplier, their school's janitor Ray Feathers, as a psychotic serial killer. The case is assigned to detectives Cassie 'the hyena' Mayweather, who carries a sequoia-size chip on the shoulder from her previous life, and her brilliant new partner, Sam Kennedy, who just transferred from the vice squad; they can work together very well, and even fit romantically, but fall out over different professional attitudes towards the investigation, which Captain Rod Cody and her understandably vindictive abused ex, Assistant D.A. Al Swanson, soon ban her from when she disobeys instructions and hand to him. When the plotting boys both dig class-mate Lisa Mills, their unnatural bond comes ... Written by KGF Vissers

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Let The Mind Games Begin See more »


Crime | Drama | Thriller

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for violence, language, a sex scene and brief drug use | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

19 April 2002 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Foolproof  »

Box Office


$50,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$9,307,394 (USA) (19 April 2002)


$685,907 (Australia) (15 November 2002)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

| |



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


The characters Richard Haywood and Justin Pendleton are loosely based on real-life murderers, Richard Loeb and Nathan Leopold. See more »


Richard's hair goes from long to short and back to longer in a matter of days. See more »


[first lines]
Richard: Shall we say the words one last time?
Justin: One cannot live fully without embracing suicide in crime.
Richard: Say it.
Justin: A pact made with relentless fire that requires that, while some live, others die.
Richard: On three...
in unison: One, two, three
[gun shot]
See more »


Featured in Beyond Clueless (2014) See more »


Smooth Rock
Written by Chris Goulstone
Courtesy of Associated Production Music LLC
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

Murder to watch. But Sandra, I still love you!
17 July 2002 | by (Newcastle, England) – See all my reviews

This is exactly what Hollywood does badly. Very Badly. Typically awful who-dunnit featuring more bluffs and double bluffs than you could shake a stick at. This movie is up there with horrendous plotless rambles like Copycat, Along Came A Spider and even Kiss the Girls. Horrendous in that it is possible to work out just about every plot detail in the first 25 minutes. The constant "twists" and "surprises" are tedious to say the least.

Don't get me wrong I like Sandra Bullock but when is she going to get a role that truly makes her shine. She seems to manage to choose the wrong movies time after time. I think she should maybe look to more comedy roles as I feel some of her best parts have been in films like Demolision Man and even last years Miss Congeniality wasn't too bad (ok it was was that bad but not as bad as Murder By Numbers).

Michael Pitt on the other hand is awesome. I saw him in Bully not so long ago in which he was fantastic and also last years Hedwig and the Angry Inch. He does evil particularly well. I think he could be destined for very great things.

And what the hell is Chris Penn doing in this tripe?! Nice guy Eddie is far better than this!

It was worth going to see this movie just for the guys walking around in the Slipknot costumes whenever they were going to murder someone.

On the whole this film was very poor, it scores only a ** out of ***** on the Meejoir-meter. But if Sandra Bullock is reading this, I still love you!

11 of 15 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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