Effective thrillers play on the sense of anticipation.  Enjoyment isn’t derived from the denouncement but from unearthing well hidden clues.  Mixing current obsessions with cyberspace celebrity, Untraceable brings a new sheen to expected plot twists. With a strong female lead, this grisly film taps into the dark recesses of people’s voyeurism.
FBI agent Jennifer Marsh (Diane Lane) investigates the murky web world of cybercrime.  Notified of a new sinister website, Jennifer is horrified to discover its’ main purpose.  With every hit the site achieves, the instruments of torture to which a victim is attached brings them closer to death.  When her colleagues and family are placed in danger, Jennifer finds that the internet’s deadly reach extends beyond its digital devices.
Delivering a message with suspense, Untraceable generally succeeds.  By putting on a unique horror show, the villain offers something new for savvy internet watchers.  In the ultimate audience participation, they make the choice between life and death with the psychopath’s hands remaining bloodless. This adds a novel angle to a sometimes predictable film perhaps lingering too long on horrific death.  Infusing ‘Saw’-like gore with routine detective work, the film tries to cater to new audiences with old fashioned scenarios.  The mixed results are a cut above other films who wear their modern contrivances with aching self consciousness. 
Diane Lane gives a very earthy performance matching her strong acting.  Lacing vulnerability with toughness, her character holds together a film occasionally straining credibility.  The other cast are somewhat peripheral, although they infuse their roles with some individuality.  Gregory Hoblit’s almost lethargic direction pads out certain scenes unnecessarily slowing pacing.  The central story provides a plausible reason for the killings effectively tying into the black maestro’s techno terror. 
Untraceable’s tense atmospherics are mostly maintained till the end.  Less following of standard formula could have given things their own identity.  With the internet’s increasing influence over our lives, the film brings new meaning to the phrase ‘I like to watch’.
Rating out of 10:  6 

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