Review: Untraceable

I’m tired of these sadistic horror movies. I just don’t enjoy sitting in a cinema watching people burn to death, get hacked to pieces, or have their eyeballs melted with a blowtorch.

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 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.