By Lawrence O'Toole
July 16, 1993 at 04:00 AM EDT

”Inspired by true events,” writer-director William Friedkin’s chronicle of a serial killer (McArthur) who cuts his victims’ bodies open and drinks their blood makes the hair stand on end — sometimes. But as the prosecuting attorney (Biehn) becomes a zealous crusader, the film transforms into a polemic about the death penalty. Although it provokes thoughts about the legal system, it’s like two movies rolled uncomfortably into one — a bloody near-documentary and a bloodless courtroom melodrama.