Review written on: May 20th, 2008

Untraceable Review

One minute and thirty seconds into the movie, I thought I knew who the bad guy was. I was wrong, but I actually think I would have liked the movie more had I been right. I’ll tell you who I thought it was at the end of my review (hidden behind spoiler hiders, of course), but first here’s what I thought of the movie.

First of all, I love Diane Lane. She has such an everywoman vibe about her. In this role she plays an FBI agent working in the cyber crimes unit named Jennifer Marsh. She’s handed a Post-it with the web address written on it (which is actually a working web address promoting the movie). She investigates and sees a kitten stuck to flypaper while trying to reach a bowl of milk. While this is hardly a terrorist activity, Marsh is concerned this could turn into more. The site is highly sophisticated – the real site is hidden behind piles of mirror sites in all different countries with all different IP addresses (internet-speak for the guy knows how to evade the cyber crimes people).

The next day the kitten is dead, and Jennifer’s boss isn’t all that concerned. After all, it’s out of their jurisdiction, and it’s just a kitten. (Side note: I think it was a genius move by the writers to start a thriller this way. Many times in horror or thriller movies the first victim is a character who has barely been introduced to us. We’re not very sympathetic when they get killed. Often, we’re even rooting for the bad guy because we’re sick, twisted horror fans. However, by starting with the torture and murder of a kitten, the filmmakers instantly had us on the side of the FBI agents. Even if you’re a dog person, there’s no denying that the kitten pulls at your heartstrings.)

Later that day the site updates with a new victim – a human this time. Once the FBI traces who the victim is, they realize he’s a local and that puts this squarely back in their jurisdiction. The message of the site changes to “the more who watch, the faster he dies.” The killer has scratched the name of the site into the victim’s chest and attached a drip of heparin (a blood thinner) to the victim. It’s also somehow attached to the number of visitors on the site. The more people on the site, the faster the heparin drips, and the faster the victim bleeds to death.

The premise of the movie was interesting. In fact, I remarked to my husband while watching that I’m glad some crazy screenwriter thought of this before some real person did. The fact that the cops and the FBI were at a loss on how to trace this guy showed us that the killer was highly intelligent as well as severely twisted. An intelligent killer always makes for a more interesting thriller.

My problem with the movie comes in who the killer turns out to be. I mentioned at the beginning of my review that I thought I knew who it was barely two minutes into the movie. Show Spoilers

Unfortunately, I was wrong. Show Spoilers

It’s an entertaining thriller, and a good way to spend an afternoon. I’d definitely recommend Netflixing it, or even buying it if you’re a Diane Lane fan. It’s not the best thriller I’ve ever seen but it’s definitely a good one.


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