The Staircase Murders (2007)

Treat Williams, Kevin Pollak, Samaire Armstrong, Brandon Ray Olive,
The Staircase Murders is a TV movie starring Treat Williams, Kevin Pollak, and Samaire Armstrong. After calling 911 to report his wife's accident, successful novelist and aspiring politician, Michael Peterson, becomes the prime...
  • 5.6 /10.0 IMDB Rating:
  • DatePublished:
  • 2020-03-30 Added:
  • Donald Martin, Aphrodite Jones, Writer:
  • Tom McLoughlin, Director:
  • Judy Cairo, Producer:
6 / 10

Decent

I have never heard of this case, read the novel, watched the Sundance film that I understand, and believe to be, far superior to this, nor did I know of the existence of any of the aforementioned until earlier today, when I spotted this in the listings. Phew. Did you catch all that? I figured I'd give this a chance, and when the first few minutes of it revealed Treat Williams in the lead, I certainly felt confident that it would be worth the time. This deals with the case of a man who may or may not have pushed his wife down the stairs. The plot isn't bad, and it definitely develops plenty throughout. Pacing is reasonable. The mystery is genuinely interesting, and the many twists and turns kept me guessing from first to last frame. Acting varies, but I didn't find any performances to be downright poor. Cinematography and editing were surprisingly great, for a made-for-TV flick. I kind of agree with those that express the opinion that this sensationalizes something that really happened, and that that's not in good taste. There is blood, violence, disturbing content and, in the dialog, sexual material, in this. I recommend this to those that find themselves attracted to it. 6/10

4 / 10

Watch the documentary instead

This film is a run of the mill, made for TV drama, which I happened to catch in the middle of the night on a cable channel.

There's nothing exactly wrong with this movie, but the documentary "The Staircase" (Soup?ons) by Jean Xavier Lestrade is far superior. It's one of the best documentaries I've ever seen.

The documentary is extremely suspenseful with unbelievable twists and turns.

Why settle for this fictionalized version?

Maybe I'm biased. If I perhaps hadn't seen the documentary I would have enjoyed this movie more. There's certainly nothing wrong with the acting or the suspense of the subject matter.

7 / 10

Documentary is a must see!

I watched the documentary on t.v some years ago, and was just not shocked about the raw brutality of this story, but the whole circus of having a camera crew involved in a part of this families life. How can you open you life up to a circus show when you just lost a loved one? The t.v film tells the story to great detail, but having seen the documentary before hand I advice to find a copy of it, although none have been found as a torrent as yet. When I hear or see any story about a crime I tend to have an open mind if some one is guilty or not, as that is part of the justice system, but the rule that goes hand in hand for me is, where there is smoke there is fire! and this case has lost and lots of smoke around it for me to have made up my own mind about what happened. If you watch this film I urge you to try and get your hands on the documentary, it is still by far the most bone chilling story I have ever seen, not just due to the nature of the crime, but the whole camera in your face allowing circus that goes with this story,I gave the film a 7, but a 10 out of 10 for the must see documentary.

7 / 10

Staircase Murders- Watch Your Step Please ***

Treat Williams gives another excellent performance in this true story about a supposedly successful writer on trial for the murder of his second wife. Did he or didn't he kill her by the staircase and make it look like an accidental drunken fall?

Williams does best when he is the victim of accusations. His sinister performance is remarkably done.

Did anyone ever bother to question why the other woman who met her death on a staircase 18 years before looked so good when her body was dug up?

This is also a story of strong family relationships. It depicts how part of that relationship begins to break up as the evidence begins to pile up.

A footnote to all this is that one should never start rejoicing with their attorney until the verdict is announced.

8 / 10

Could have been a little more

detailed regarding the Mike Peterson case and also his interactions in the community of Durham, N.C.

This film was also shown on Sundance- The Staircase Murder, which incredibly Peterson opted to have filmed in his actual home, going about day to day affairs, crying injustice and generally expressing contempt for the legal system.

While these cases have been done to death , Williams is excellent as a manipulative sociopath. What would it take for a person to murder a spouse. Remember the Jeffrey MacDonald case? That too, encompassed the community, the sentiments of people. People who simply could not believe the man could be capable of such an act.

Is there a way to gage marital discord, rage, hatred, simmering resentment? Anyone who enjoyed this case may also enjoy Fatal Vision with Gary Cole as Jeffrey McDonald. The truth is, whether the culprit is guilty or not, it is sometimes incredible to realize what people are capable of, in extreme circumstances. 8/10.