Twisted, directed by Philip Kaufman, is filmed in San Francisco, presumably to beguile filmviewers into believing that the plot is another Fatal Attraction (1987). Recently promoted by San Francisco Police Department supervisor John Mills (played by Samuel L. Jackson) to the position of Inspector, Jessica Shepard (played by Ashley Judd) is assigned to a partner, Mike Delmarco (played by Andy Garcia) in the Homicide Division. Mills is the onetime partner of Shepard’s father, an officer who died when she was young, reportedly after going mad and murdering her mother. Shepard, though well trained for police work, has two bad habits: She likes to pick up men at bars for one-night stands, and she drinks too much. One evening she allows herself to be picked up, but her sex partner tries to spice up the scene by putting a knife at her throat, whereupon she uses her fighting skills to overpower him, and he is badly mauled. After his arrest for assault, her overreaction is vindicated when police discover that he has a long rap sheet. Meanwhile, Jessica is referred to a police psychiatrist to deal with the experience, a trauma that might affect her work. On two later occasions, she is picked up for sex, only to learn later that her sex partners turn up dead. As the movie progresses, two of her longtime friends (and former sex partners) are also dead. All four murders were professionally executed, with not even one hair left on the dead body; forensics in one case finds blood but reports no DNA match on hand to identify the killer. Of course, Jessica is the prime suspect, though in all four cases she has no recollection of where she was at the time of the murders, evidently having drunk enough wine to put her to sleep. The psychiatric sessions continue, delving into her feelings about her parents more than about her drinking problem, though the psychiatrist warns her about sleeping around too much. A clue about a possible alternative suspect is that she feels that she is being followed; while sitting on a park bench one day, she hears the sound of a cigarette lighter opening and closing, but she cannot chase down the owner of the lighter. At the suggestion of Mills, she concludes that the suspect is her partner, Mike Delmarco, apparently the only one who knows her whereabouts at the times of the murders. However, there is another suspect, who has been planting the “date rape” drug in her wine while trademarking the murders with a burnt cigarette mark in the hand of the victims. In the end, the real murderer reveals himself, confessing as well that he is responsible for the fate of her parents. MH

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