.Com For Murder (2002) (blu-ray film review).
The film ‘.Com For Murder’ is certainly going to throw some cataloguing problems for those of you who do so. Is it crime or, because of its use of computer tech that is a little ahead even today, has a touch of SF elements.
Hard to believe the Internet was only coming into its own around 1998 and expanding by 2002 so a lot of people were recognising what was going on using it. As shown in the opening of this film, everything from streaming porn to communicating on-line. I wonder if ever that took off or gained popularity.
Interesting that they had flatscreens that far back but I doubt if they were using a pricing catalogue although it looks like Ben Michaelis’ (actor Roger Daltrey) computer is state-of-the-art as he lets his wheelchaired girl-friend Sondra Brummel (actress Nastassja Kinski) loose on it while he’s away on a trip. It also appears to have a protective AI called Hal looking after it. In a typing version chatroom/game, ‘American Love On-Line’, she suspects Ben has been playing around but gets an intercept as she masquerades as her boyfriend to have a look. Her sister, Misty (actress Nicollette Sheridan), comes over and they decide to play against this guy, who definitely knows how to hack and locates them but also blocks them and goes after the girl they were talking to instead.
They end up witnessing a murder on screen but, as they are also illegally using her boyfriend’s internet access, not sure what to do or even if it really happened. The girl, Lynn (actress Kim Valentine) decides to invite the man, Werther (actor Jeffrey Dean) over. He gets there but says he can’t stay. Instead he hangs around until Lynn has gone to bed, emails ‘Ben’ and the two girls watch him commit murder although they think its fake. Misty talks to the police on the phone and although he doesn’t think it happens, gives her the number of an FBI agent, Matheson (actor Huey Lewis), to contact.
When they transfer the file to him, they find its encoded and needs a hack to open it. Werther is still watching and finds that Matheson, ignores him and hacks their computer. Meanwhile, the girls hire someone from PC Brainiacs to clone their hard drive except the person who arrives but a phone call shows its not the real guy or is he.
Matheson chats over the situation with another agent, Williams (actress Melinda Clarke), but not prepared to do anything just yet. Another man from PC Brainiacs arrived but he is…well, y’know. Then things start to happen in all directions when Lynne’s body is found by her friend. Oh, did I say the FBI and police are directed to the wrong address?
Of course, with 2023 knowledge, I know what to call some of the things we’re being shown in this film. Some things, like hacking into someone else’s computer can’t really happen these days, at least not without some elements of permission. The bigger puzzle is why doesn’t the FBI ask for a nearer police unit to go to the right address while racing there themselves?
Without giving too much away, although Werther’s high-tech glasses are supposed to be both infra-red and image enhancer, its actually showing the former inlay when doing the latter.
You have to take into account the age of the film when watching it but it is at least watchable and stays mostly with what is capable of high tech that some of us take for granted today. If nothing else, it re-enforces the image that you shouldn’t give your address to strangers and be suspicious of anyone trying to hack into your computer.
Now, the extras. ‘The Making Of-‘ runs at 38 minutes and was filmed while in production. Much of it is Greek director Nico Mastorakin discussing the film that he wrote, cast, directed and edited. His love of Hitchcock and thriller films plus short interviews with Roger Daltrey and Huey Lewis.
‘.Com For Murder -The Inside Story’, at 28 minutes, has director Nico Mastorakin looking over the footage he made for the murder in the opening scene, taking three different versions, using the last. As he was his own cameraman, he shows all the footage made of the strippers and verbal direction to get what he needed. There’s also an piece about his films getting 1 star votes on IMdB and how someone is paying to do it. Considering its for all his films, I’d be inclined to think someone in production than an actor. I have to confess when I look at IMdB, it is cast and review far more than the star system. We don’t use it on SFC for a similar reason because it says nothing about what we actually thought or how the evaluation works.
The 20 minute interview with singer/actor Roger Daltrey extends a lot further than the piece in the opening extra and Nico Mastorakin asks about his musical career in some depth. Daltrey, back then and probably still the same way today, doesn’t like computers or mobile phones.
This is followed by the complete 10 minute interview with Huey Lewis about how he mixes his music career and acting at the time. He’s also not a great lover of computers and the Internet and likes reading.
Finally, after the 2 minute trailer, there is a photo gallery. Use your play button to work your way through the photos.
For its time, there are a lot of extras. I suspect the fans of Daltrey and Lewis are going to get this blu-ray simply for the interviews although they do well in the movie. The information on directing is useful as well.
The film holds up for its age. I think we’re just lucky that fewer Internet murders happens these days, although the way its depicted, it seems more an American problem.
(pub: Arrow Video, 2023. 97 minute film with extras. Price: £17.99 (UK). ASIN: B08R55RCFH)
cast: Nastassja Kinski, Jeffrey Dean, Nicollette Sheridan, Roger Daltry and Huey Lewis
check out website: https://www.criterionforum.org/Video/dot-com-for-murder-arrow-video-blu-ray