Ever been drawn to the bad news stories on the internet? FBI agent Jennifer Marsh (Diane Lane) knows just how you feel. She is tasked with hunting down a seemingly untraceable serial killer who posts live videos of his victims on the world-wide web. The method of murder depends on how many people log on to view the killing. As time runs out, the cat and mouse chase becomes more personal.
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BY Andrew Hedley Flicks Writer
There are, however, many wackjobs who just lap this stuff up. Good for them. Their fascination with violence at a distance is what the writers of this latest slice of vapid torture-porn drew inspiration from when they created this story of online hysteria.
The premise goes that some loony has set up an untraceable website (there’s some techno-jargon explanation about registering the IP address in Russia) which has a webcam that displays a victim being tortured to death. The more ‘hits’ the website gets, the faster the victim dies - a marketing strategy that Flicks.co.nz might pass on for the moment.
The task for FBI agent Jennifer Marsh (a strong-given-the-material Diane Lane) and her team is then to keep the public largely unaware of the site (which they can’t shut down – again, there’s a techno-jargon reason for this) until they’ve located the killer.
Cashing in on a net phenomenon about the curiousity for the macabre (just recently was there a video circulating on Facebook featuring a cyclist being squashed to death by a truck) the film certainly reflects a dark trend. It’s just too bad that the issue is in the hands of yet another self-righteous killer (reminiscent of Saw’s Jigsaw) who wants to teach our immoral society a lesson for reasons that aren’t entirely believable and are certainly hypocritical.
The acting is decent, with Colin Hanks providing a likeable presence as Marsh’s FBI partner. The film is good-looking and there’s some reasonable gore for those so inclined. But the sudden ending leaves us unsatisfied, and the unpleasant and uninspiring Untraceable feels like a wasted opportunity.