Thanks to Louise we have a review of Untraceable.
Untraceable stars Diane Lane and Colin Hanks hunting down a serial killer who kills his victims live on the internet. The more people that visit his site to watch the victim in peril the quicker the victim dies. Lane is a cyber crime specialist who is part of a team tracing him, and soon the hunt for the killer gets personal. With the killer covering his tracks, they have to find out what made him turn to sadistically killing people in the first place.
We begin the film with the killer's first victim, an unsuspecting cat. Yes a cat. This peaks some suspicion but everyone figures it's a one off. However the killer eventually turns to human victims, leaving Lane and Hanks to figure out what the link between them is.
That all sounds fairly good right? A bit murder by numbers but hey that's the kind of film it is. Unfortunately it isn't the best film of it's genre, no where near. This film has a preaching quality to it that really did irritate me. We all know that some stuff makes it on to the internet that shouldn't, and a lot of people view it, and we all know that some people download music etc for free when they shouldn't. This film seems to forget who it's audience is, we don't need to be told stuff we already know, as if it were new news.
There was also a particularly laughable part early on in the film, where some guy who is offering free music downloads, and stealing bank details is caught, and then 5 minutes later receives a visit from a non too friendly FBI SWAT team. Yes I'm sure that's what really happens... Could they be trying to send us a message here? It's so subtle I can't tell.
Also you should take along your suspension of disbelief. True you need it for almost any film, but this one demands more than a whole series of CSI.
I'm not totally adept at the in depth technical workings of the internet and I struggled to go along with it. They also failed to develop the characters properly, I found myself not actually caring what happened to any of them. Whilst this was down to the lack of any real character development, it also had a lot to do with the plot and editing.
There were times that they tried to generate some tension by editing sequences a particular way and they failed miserably. I could see what they were trying to do, but I've also seen it done many times before, and a lot better, and if they missed one cliche out of the Horror Films for Dummies book I would be surprised. I knew exactly what was going to happen before it did, I wasn't surprised once. Throughout the film when a character would be near peril one word came into my head, whatever.
I can see why they came up with the premise for this film. The internet is awash with footage and photos which even within people's freedom of speech etc crosses a line. But this film does demonise the internet too much, it's not all bad after all. I also think that maybe this film was made ten years too late. I couldn't watch this film and think "god what if that happened for real". The truth is there are already horrific things put on the internet, this film probably covers one of the few things that isn't out there already.
In short, if they had taken the concept of a serial killer murdering people live on the internet, dropped the preaching, put in some original plot twists and some real character development, this would have been half decent, but they didn't and it wasn't.
As someone who likes scary films, I was more frightened walking to my car afterwards in the multi-story car park. I think that says it all.