Murder 101 (PG-13)

Suspense/Thriller 90
By Aaron Hillis
"Murder . . . is a contradictory art form . . . like exercise and opposites," a laughably conceited voiceover rasps in the opening POV shot, as a serial killer stalks and then stabs some poor sap in a gas station restroom. A lamely convoluted Scream rip-off (minus the humor) chock-full of fratty sex drama (minus the nudity), with an unaccountably top-billed Tom Sizemore in a supporting role, director Michael Phillip Edwards's shoddy horror cheapie was released on DVD just before the theatrical run; it's the very definition of direct-to-video schlock.

As the poor man's Neve Campbell (the brunette heroine suffering a familial loss to the mass murderers — oops, spoiler alert!), Paige La Pierre stars as Fiona, a criminology student whose only class is led by a bullying professor (Randy Irwin) with an unhinged, open-mouthed stare. Everyone's a suspect and a Golden Raspberry nominee as the unintentionally self-parodic slayings escalate, with Black Dahlia smiles carved into victims by killers who whistle "Pop Goes the Weasel" in abandoned parking lots. Is it the slack-jawed prof? Fiona's cheating boyfriend? Or is it her disturbed, knife-sharpening brother, whose only scene is one of delusional, drunken despair? Sizemore's crazy-eyed FBI agent, however, gets two such scenes, both of which play frighteningly like documentary.
Michael Phillip Edwards, Sheldon Robins Tom Sizemore, Dante Basco, Sheldon Robins, Paige La Pierre, Jasmine Waltz, Cathryn de Prume, Dominica Westling, Victor Warren, Dawn Morrow, Rai Moore Sheldon Robins


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