The internet is a scary place: There's free nudity, that ominous Jeeves chap, one-night stands tracking you down on MySpace, and—according to the shrill hysteria of Untraceable—there's also a maniacal, kitten-killing computer hacker who uses the web to murder people! Looks like it's a case of murder.com!
Actually, the killer names his "untraceable" website (eh? eh?) "kill-withme.com," but hey, close enough. The more people visit his site, the quicker he tortures and kills whatever victim he's rounded up (sometimes it's an adorable kitty, sometimes it's a boring person). Sadly, the site's hits don't correlate into a shorter film, as Untraceable slowwwwly annoys the audience with heavy-handed messages about downloading (it's bad!), and entirely too many scenes of people being tortured (a fate that's just as horrific as what you'll get if you illegally download MP3s—which, in case you weren't paying attention, is wrong).
Untraceable stars Diane Lane as Special Agent Jennifer Marsh from the Federal Cyber Crimes Task Force (AKA Nerds with Guns). Marsh is a gritty detective who puts away more geeky bad guys than To Catch a Predator's Chris Hansen, but she meets her match when the murderous hacker targets her family, coworkers, and eventually... hacks her car! (This occurs on Portland's very own Broadway Bridge, no less—thus showing that the killer is clearly taking advantage of Portland's free Metro-Fi service.)
Listen, we all have problems with Diane Lane, but leave her Saab alone.
Not since The Net has a film about the internet been this unintentionally hilarious. Too bad the humor's lost in Untraceable's steadfast desire to become another unnecessary entry in the stale genre of torture porn. Much like Hostel or any number of Saws, the level of violence is used to mask a shamefully weak script, a complete lack of character development, and some painfully obvious foreshadowing. (Why, is that a sharpened gardening tool? I sure hope that isn't used for a purpose other than gardening!)
Filmed and based in Portland, Untraceable manages to easily surpass both Feast of Love and The Hunted as the single worst movie to ever take place in our fair city. What the hell did Portland ever do to deserve becoming the dumping ground for Hollywood's crappiest movies?