Untraceable


Directed by: Gregory Hoblit
Written by:Robert Fyvolent, Mark Brinker, Allison Burnett
Starring: Diane Lane, Billy Burke, Colin Hanks, Joseph Cross, Mary Beth Hurt, Peter Lewis
Released: April 24, 2008
Grade: C

A creative serial killer is on the loose.  He kidnaps people, ties them up and then shows them live on a website called killwithme.com.  The “mechanism” that will ultimately kill the victim is linked to the webpage counter.  In other words, the more people that visit the website, the quicker the poor person will die.  It’s all very nasty.

Would you visit the website if it happened in real life?  The writers of the film think that a lot of people would.  More kidnappings take place and the killings start getting faster and faster.  He is preying on the curiosity of the general public.  He knows they can’t help themselves and in a way, they are all accomplices and witnesses to each death.

Helping investigate the case is FBI Agent Jennifer Marsh (Lane).  She’s part of their cyber division and her usual day job is to investigate fraudsters who are trying to rip people off over the internet.  She’s never come anything like killwithme.com before.  All her usual tricks to try to shut down the website don’t work.  The guy who came up with this knows what he’s doing and is always one step ahead of the authorities.

I won’t talk too much more about the plot.  I’d hate to give anything away before you’ve had the chance to see it.  It may sound interesting but for the most part, it’s very disappointing.  Nothing happens at all in the opening half hour – there’s too much time wasted on character development and pointless scenes.  When the serial killer enters the picture, the film makes the strange decision to show who he is.  That took out a lot of the intrigue as far as I was concerned.

With each passing minute, the movie becomes less believable.  There are some perplexing twists that are too silly to believe.  It made me realise that this isn’t an intelligent thriller but rather a dumb popcorn movie where you have to leave your brain at home.  Further, what’s up the quasi-romance element with Diane Lane and Billy Burke (who plays a fellow detective)?  Did we really need this?  What point did it serve?

If you still want to see this film, I’ll throw it one final warning – it is quite gruesome in places.  Watching the victims get killed in bizarre fashion reminded me a lot of the Saw movies.  It’s rated MA in Australia for its strong violence and themes.  Give it a miss.