Untraceable (2008)
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Review Date: June 03, 2008
Director: Gregory Hoblit
Writer: Robert Fyvolent, Mark Brinker, Allison Burnett
Producers: Andy Cohen, Hawk Koch, Gary Lucchesi...
Diane Lane as Jennifer
Colin Hanks as Griffin
Billy Burke as Eric
An FBI agent, who looks an awful lot like the lovely Diane Lane from UNFAITHFUL, stumbles upon a website that kills human beings on video. The more people that visit the site, the faster the person dies for all to see. Lane and her cohorts try their best to find the killer behind the website, but he’s a techno-wizard (and a nutjob!), so mostly they’re left holding their sacks on the sidelines. A lot of torture, web-surfing and bags under Lane’s eyes, ensue!
Bah! What a lame-o thriller. I would have expected a lot better from director Gregory Hoblit and actress Diane Lane, but all we get here is a low-rent version of SILENCE OF THE LAMBS, combined with some FEAR DOT COM (yeah, there’s a movie you want to be compared to!) and a little bit of the torture-horror genre. What’s even sadder is that this is actually a well-paced thriller that starts off strong, looks as dark and gritty as it should, but ultimately turns into a film that centers its attention around the torture of its victims (can we move past this “genre” already, it’s pretty disgusting), presents us with the “killer” about halfway through the movie – hence removing much of the mystery that had developed to that point – and doesn’t really provide the murderer with much rhyme/reason for his crazy behavior, other than the fact that…oh yeah, he’s a fuckin’ nutjob!! Serial killer thrillers usually go one of two ways: either they present us with the killer early on, or they keep tossing clues our way until the end. This film starts off one way, providing us with the clues, but about halfway through, it switches gears and decides to tell us who the kook is. I didn’t mind that so much, but if you’re gonna tell us who it is, for fuck’s sakes, make the killer’s reasoning or personality somewhat engaging, so that we can remain tuned in to the movie after that.

For me, as soon as they presented this nutjob, I was bored and “out of the movie”, as I’m just sick of one-dimensional crazies anchoring films like this. Diane Lane was good, but she looked ragged and old. I assume this was for her “character” in the movie, as she’s still one damn hottie in real life. The rest of the cast was passable, but nobody really stood out, other than the killer, who played his part really well, but again…was pretty one-dimensional. And as if I needed any more reason to hate the killer in this movie, he seems to have the step up on every single person in the world in this film (mostly the very incompetent FBI, who can’t even not find the guy, but end up having two of their own case-agents kidnapped by the punk…wow!!), but he’s one of those crazies who (and this is an analogy, so that I don’t ruin it for anyone) apparently “hates loud music”, so instead of focusing on how to reduce the volume of the music in the world or help others understand that the music is too loud, he decides to turn the music up even louder, just to show people what he believes to be the problem in our “society”. Gimme a fuckin’ break, douchebag! And if anyone can explain to me how he was able to plan/coordinate his “final torture session” in of all places, the basement in which it took place…I’ll send you a 5-dollar bill from my very own wallet.

“Stupid genius killer” aside, the film also attempts to toss a couple of “points” about society in there, which are about as subtle as a kick in the groin, closing with an existential final shot in which we, the audience, appear to be a part of the problem? But then the filmmakers would also be a part of the problem, no…since they created a film touting this shite? Bugh. All in all, I can’t say that this film wouldn’t entertain some, especially on home-video, as the visuals, pacing and moments of suspense, do work on some levels, but in the end, it’s really all about a “crazy guy” who seems to be smarter than everyone else in the world, and with the mystery of the killer’s ID resolved halfway through the film, there isn’t really much else that made it very engaging for me to watch. Also, maybe I’m naïve but would people REALLY visit a website knowing that their “hits” would help in killing another human being? Maybe I’m not cynical enough for this world, but I certainly wouldn’t.
(c) 2018 Berge Garabedian

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