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Murder by Numbers is a 2002 psychological thriller film directed by Barbet Schroeder. It is quite loosely based on the Leopold and Loeb case.

The film was screened out of competition at the 2002 Cannes Film Festival.



When a dead woman (Jane Doe) is found in the woods near the river, homicide detectives Cassie Mayweather and Sam Kennedy are assigned to the case. Mayweather's investigation leads her to Justin Pendleton and Richard Haywood, two teenagers who want to commit the perfect murder. Haywood happens to have a strong alibi, however; Mayweather suspects that there is more to Haywood's perfect story.

She digs in her own haunted past to find something that helps her solve this crime. She breaks away from her partner and the other detectives to work on her own theories, which jeopardizes her job.

Critical reception

The film received mixed reviews from critics. The review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes reported that 30% of critics gave the film positive reviews, based on 121 reviews. Metacritic reported the film had an average score of 50 out of 100, based on 35 reviews.

Box office performance

The film was released April 19, 2002 in the United Statesmarker and Canadamarker and grossed $9.3 million in 2,663 theaters its opening weekend, ranking #3 at the box office. The film grossed a total of $56,714,147 worldwide — $31,945,749 in the United States and Canada and $24,768,398 in other territories.


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