Spreading Ground

  • 2002
  • Movie
  • Crime, Thriller

A serial slayer thriller that fails to wring maximum suspense from its crime-solving gimmick, which echoes the classic M (1931) by pitting both gangsters and cops against a DERANGED child killer. When the bodies of young girls start turning up in their city's basin, detectives Ed DeLongpre (Dennis Hopper) and Michael McGivern (Frederic Forrest) hustle to...read more

Where to Watch

Available to Stream

Reviewed by Robert Pardi
Rating:

A serial slayer thriller that fails to wring maximum suspense from its crime-solving gimmick, which echoes the classic M (1931) by pitting both gangsters and cops against a DERANGED child killer. When the bodies of young girls start turning up in their city's basin, detectives Ed DeLongpre (Dennis Hopper) and Michael McGivern (Frederic Forrest) hustle to make a quick arrest, driven by visceral horror of child murder. By contrast, their boss, Captain Neiman (Chuck Shamata), and Mayor Hackett (Elizabeth Shephard) react pragmatically: A crime is no good for property values, and the crime scene abuts property the Mayor has designated for the proposed Falconetti Stadium. While Delongpre looks into recidivists, Mayor Hackett pulls strings behind the scenes and, figuring the local branch of the Irish Mafia could expedite justice without a trial, offers Johnny Galt (Tom McCamus) a hefty stadium kickback if he locates the kid-killer before the cops do. Galt first obtains security videos from abduction sites, and discovers that that two purse-snatchers accidentally grabbed the killer's valise. Galt appropriates the case, rubs out the minor-league thieves starts working on the clues in contains. Delongpre isn't privy to the inside info Galt's team has uncovered — killer's modus operandi includes asking his young victims to help find a fictitious lost puppy — but he and McGivern eventually reach the same conclusions, additionally deducing that the psychopath's killing field is the reservoir where he works. In a fight to the finish, Delongpre and Galt seek out the pitiable madman in the city's underground tunnels with both the psychopath's destiny and the fate of the mayoral administration hanging in the balance. Melding police procedural drama and underworld crime conventions, this multi-leveled screenplay doesn't connect the parallel investigations with enough urgency. Viewers, encouraged to feel some sympathy for the pathetic maniac, will find it hard to cheer either the beleaguered policemen or the brutal gangsters.

Cast & Details See all »

  • Released: 2002
  • Review: A serial slayer thriller that fails to wring maximum suspense from its crime-solving gimmick, which echoes the classic M (1931) by pitting both gangsters and cops against a DERANGED child killer. When the bodies of young girls start turning up in their cit… (more)

Show More »

Trending TonightSee all »