Clumsily written and unimaginatively directed, PROFILE FOR MURDER appears to have been conceived by gremlin cinephiles with a vendetta against crime thrillers.
DA Michael Weinberg (Jeff Wincott) faces pressure to nab the serial killer who has been gruesomely murdering young women. Although they are ex-lovers, he assigns the case to Detective Andy Sachs (Ryan Michael) and criminal profiler Hanna Carras (Joan Severance). Weinberg instructs them to focus on
Adrian Cross (Lance Henriksen), a wealthy investment banker who had slept with all of the victims. From their first meeting, Cross gets inside the repressed Carras's mind, and soon she is fighting off sexual fantasies about him.
By the time Cross's lawyer gets the charges against him dismissed, both Sachs and Carras have begun to doubt Cross's guilt. Risking her life, Carras begins a torrid affair with Cross; when he's otherwise engaged, Carras's urge to ascertain the truth forces her to snoop through his private
journals; she finds no conclusive evidence.
Weinberg confronts Cross on his boat; in this encounter, Weinberg reveals that that he's the real serial killer. He has been framing Cross, his former law-school rival in revenge for Cross stealing his fiancee years earlier. Weinberg beats Cross viciously and leaves him for dead after igniting the
yacht. Sachs's investigation points to Weinberg, whom he finds at Cross's apartment. Weinberg attacks the detective, but is killed by Carras. With the case solved, Sachs and Carras resume their affair while Cross, having survived the boat fire, returns to prowling nightclubs for one-night stands.
A tepid amalgam of plot devices stolen from JAGGED EDGE (1985), FATAL ATTRACTION (1987), and THE SILENCE OF THE LAMBS (1991), PROFILE FOR MURDER is so insubstantial that it resorts to a HALLOWEEN-ish coda which seems to imply that Cross is stalking Sachs and Carras, thus confusingly casting doubt
on the obviously established guilt of DA Weinberg. Alert crime buffs will have suspected the identity of the killer from the outset, largely because Jeff Wincott is too big a direct-to-video star to take a thankless white-collar role unless there's some dramatic payoff down the pike. Because the
screenplay is so derivative and unsurprising, the filmmakers take the low artistic road and simply focus on the thrill killings, making this yet another sexist celebration of the contemporary cinema sport of murdering bar pickups. Equally lacking in chills and suspense, PROFILE FOR MURDER sinks
into a morass of criminal psychologist Carras's sexual fantasies. Despite the potent friction of Henriksen and Severance trading top and bottom positions in and out of bed, the film itself rubs the audience the wrong way. (Graphic violence, extensive nudity, extreme profanity, substance abuse,sexual situations.)
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- Released: 1997
- Rating: R
- Review: Clumsily written and unimaginatively directed, PROFILE FOR MURDER appears to have been conceived by gremlin cinephiles with a vendetta against crime thrillers. DA Michael Weinberg (Jeff Wincott) faces pressure to nab the serial killer who has been gruesom… (more)