Review: UNTRACEABLE

Posted by Peter Hall - July 21st 2008 @ 6:23 pm

Directed by Gregory Hoblit, 2008
Written by Robert Fyvolent, Mark Brinker, Allison Burnett

UNTRACEABLE is 4th rate direction scattered with 2nd rate actors giving 3rd rate performances of a 5th rate script.  But until BRAINSCAN comes in from Netflix, I suppose it will suffice as something to review.

A horror movie in the most watered down, procedural sense, UNTRACEABLE is an illogical and impossible yarn about a killer who streams his victim’s trapped predicament on the web.  The traps are tied to viewer traffic; the more people ‘tune in’ the faster the schmoe bites it.  Diane Lane plays an FBI cyber-crime crusader trying to track down the website, which just so happens to be, well, you know the name of the movie.

I know there is a market out there for people who buy into the simplicity and ignorance of a technothrillers like this, but for people like me the thing is a barrel of nonsense.  This is the kind of movie born of a studio executive who barely knows how to check his email, who thinks this figment of crap is either possible or scary.  It is neither.  The only thing UNTRACEABLE qualifies as is a challenge to people like me.  People who know how the Internet works, who know how ISPs work, who know what bandwidth and computing limitations are, who know that nothing is as the title suggests and that every line of technobabble may as well reside in a land of fairies and elves.

I won’t go deep into the whys and hows of the inaccuracy of the film’s whole hook.  I’ll laugh it off, concede that Hollywood will never bother to get tech right.  Suspend my disbelief beyond reasonable doubt.  Doesn’t change how safe this movie is, how linear its path is and how bored everyone involved seems to be.  Principal cast may include Diane Lane and Colin Hanks, but their material is strictly Lifetime Channel.  In hindsight, this is perhaps the biggest production the Lifetime Channel never made.

The only thing UNTRACEABLE has going for it is its killer’s gig.  The writers are clearly ape’ing SAW and adding in audience participation as an accomplice, but that’s fine because the implications of audience assisted murder are profound.  Granted, the screenwriters behind this mess have no clue how to make their take profound, but you can still watch UNTRACEABLE and pretend the script is better.  The movie is so lost in itself that it can’t be loud enough to distract a viewer from imagining how it could have all been done better.  Nor can it interrupt the basic observation that all its victims could have been saved if the police bothered to just turn off power to the city one grid at a time.  Or you could learn a less from me and just press the power button on your TV when UNTRACEABLE pops up.


rss 3 comments
  1. July 21st, 2008 | 6:43 pm | #1

    this movie is complete garbage. As a tech worker, I found the “tech” speak to be completely wasted. Why didn’t anyone consult any real tech worker to verify the things they were saying?

    Lame.

  2. July 22nd, 2008 | 8:05 am | #2

    The only reason I’d *want* to see this movie is for the technical inaccuracies.

  3. July 22nd, 2008 | 10:48 am | #3

    I actually watched it as a double bill with LIVE FREE OR DIE HARD for that very reason.

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