I am always amazed at how inventive serial killers are in movies. In reality serial killers use fairly unimaginative methods in their crimes, and get away with them mostly through sheer luck. Even when they taunt the police with a note, they more often than not reveal a challenged level of literacy.
But in movies, the planning and engineering skills of the average serial killer are on a par with putting a man on the moon. "Untraceable" is a case in point.
Jennifer Marsh (Diane Lane), an FBI agent involved in detecting cybercrime discovers a serial killer using an Internet site to set up his victims. The film has an unpleasant premise in that the murders only happen if viewers log on, which they do despite pleas not to from the authorities. The film posits a very jaundiced view of society, becoming somewhat preachy on the subject.
Much of what happens though is straight out of the Serial Killer Movie Manual, especially the head FBI guy taking a while to get on board with Jennifer's warnings.
A single-mother back-story and a quirky offsider with victim written all over him help fill out the space between the credits. One break from the formula is that the murders all involve guys and aren't sexual in nature, a point of difference with 99 per cent of serial killer movies.
Usually the most watchable part of this kind of thing is the detection element, and in this case the tracking sequences are the highlights of the movie.
The ending is definitely drawn from the manual as the cops close in on the killer - you hardly need to watch the screen to know how it ends.
As long as you don't expect a "Se7en", or a "Silence of the Lambs", "Untraceable" is not the worst serial killer thriller, however, it does take itself just a little too seriously - no wonder the critics thought its 'message' was hypocritical.
A secret service agent, Jennifer Marsh, gets caught in a very personal and deadly cat-and-mouse game with a serial killer who knows that people (being what they are - both curious and drawn to the dark side of things) will log onto an "untraceable" website where he conducts violent and painful murders LIVE on the net. The more people who log on and enter the website, the quicker and more violently the victim dies.
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October 17, 2014 at 01:14 AM