`Perfect' exploits JonBenet story

February 26, 2000|By David Zurawik | David Zurawik,SUN TELEVISION CRITIC

Does America need another TV film about the death of JonBenet Ramsey? No. In fact, America doesn't need another word about it.

Two weeks ago, we had the sleazy movie treatment of the 1996 murder of the 6-year-old Boulder, Colo., girl by the Fox network. And, now comes a four-hour CBS miniseries, "Perfect Murder, Perfect Town," starring Marg Helgenberger, Ronnie Cox, Ken Howard, Ann-Margret and Kris Kristofferson.

Outside of Helgenberger's performance, there is nothing to recommend this film. But there are lots of reasons to warn against it. The main warning goes to parents: Don't let your children anywhere near the screen. The filmmakers use a mannequin for the dead body of JonBenet Ramsey, but the way the camera keeps returning to it is exploitative and even perverse.

There is a shot of the dead body on the coroner's table where the camera starts at the feet and slowly moves up the legs to the underwear.

There's no reason for it, and you wonder what in the world CBS and the filmmakers were thinking.

"Perfect Murder" was produced and directed by Lawrence Schiller.

`Perfect Murder, Perfect Town'

When: Tomorrow and Wednesday night 9 to 11

Where: WJZ (Channel 13)

In brief: Nothing perfect about this exercise in exploitation

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