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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 41,476 users   Metascore: 50/100
Reviews: 300 user | 134 critic | 35 from

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


The only flaw in their plan was her. 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?


Henry Bean, who also directed Ryan Gosling in The Believer (2001), did several uncredited re-writes on this film. 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 »


Features Matlock (1986) See more »


Smooth Rock
Written by Chris Goulstone
Courtesy of Associated Production Music LLC
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

Entertaining Run of the Mill Thriller
13 October 2007 | by (England) – See all my reviews

Cassie Mayweather (Sandra Bullock) is a homicide detective with a disturbing past, she and her partner Sam Kennedy (Ben Chaplin) are called in to investigate the murder of a young woman found abandoned in a ditch. When everything seems to point at the killer, Cassie's gut tells her that things are not quite as they appear, and the real killers find that they can't hide as easily as they first thought.

Murder by numbers does have some good intrigue and suspense in the plot, and yes it does try very hard to do something a fresh and different, but in the end it just seems pretty run of the mill.

6/10 It entertains and it does have a good cast, but its just not quite sharp enough on the details.

16 of 24 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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