When you think of Huey Lewis and Roger Daltrey being involved in a movie, you should probably be picturing a pretty rocking soundtrack. Huey Lewis and The News are famously intertwined in the soundtracks of “Back to the Future” and “American Psycho”, and The Who are rightfully regarded as one of the best rock bands of all time. Daltrey was even pretty good in the cult classic theatrical release of “Tommy”, but that was a musical. “.com For Murder”, among its many flaws, features both Daltrey and Lewis as primary characters. They don’t a horrible job, but their presence is a little distracting, and I couldn’t help but expect that they would share screen time at some point (they don’t). They were just very peculiar casting choices that didn’t ultimately contribute to the movie in any way, and are two among a number of curious choices made while creating this film.
The entire premise of the film relies on the evil magic that is computers, something that the creators clearly knew/know absolutely nothing about. It is akin to someone making a movie about mountain climbing who has never seen a hill. The misunderstanding and vilifying of both the internet and technology in this movie is so over the top that any scenes involving either the internet dating site or the super-intelligent house (yeah, really) wind up being either cringe- or laugh-worthy, to the detriment of the movie. There is actually the nugget of interesting plot buried in this thing, but the execution is just inexcusable.
The idea of a web-based dating site killer who broadcasts his murders via a portable webcam is remotely interesting, and seems like the sort of thing that might get a mediocre October release in theaters nowadays. Somehow, this film manages to turn that semi-promising plot into something astoundingly boring with a mixture of bad cinematography, a neo-luddite screenplay without any believable dialogue, and incredibly slow pacing. The acting is pretty mediocre, but it seemed to be that both Nastassja Kinski and Nicollette Sheridan (the actual leads of the movie) were being directed strangely. Both are familiar faces in bad movies (the “Cat People” remake and “Beverly Hills Ninja” respectively, for example), but I can’t help but think that they were capable of better here. The fact that writer / director Nico Mastorakis sort of dropped off the face of the earth after this film might support that theory. He certainly hasn’t been able to find any work since this film, anyway.
In general, “.com For Murder” didn’t have the knowledge, financial capability, or talent to be quite what it needed to be. I think that with a serious (second?) re-write, a larger budget, and a more competent director this could have been a half-decent thriller movie. Of course, it would absolutely need a better title. “.com For Murder” sort of implies that this movie would be about a killer-for-hire if you ask me. Nowadays, you could more easily use internet dating and streaming webcams as the framing of the movie, as I’m sure that wasn’t nearly as common or in the public knowledge back in 2002. I would think a title like “The Match-Maker” or “Kill Stream” might work better for this kind of flick today, and the audience would be far more familiar with the premise and the terminologies.
I think that this movie can be easily compared to the Sandra Bullock movie “The Net”, which, despite being made a number of years before this flick, had a better grasp on technology. It still used plenty of “computer magic” and was certainly far from good, but it clearly did at least enough preliminary homework to make the computers quasi-believable to the casual observer of the time. I highly recommend checking out the We Hate Movies episode on “The Net” by the way, it is a pretty good listen.
In any case, this is far from the worst movie in the Bottom 100. I’m tempted to say that this has been one of the best foreign films in the ranking so far, and I was generally pretty pleased with how ridiculous and dated it was. The pacing is a bit slow for it to be a great watch, but I can still generally recommend it to B-movie fans. There are enough highlights to justify it, such as the lethal electric back door on the genius computer house and the effortless rip-offs from “Silence of the Lambs” and “Rear Window”.