ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Untraceable (2008)

Updated on August 26, 2010

You're driving along the road and there's been an accident, police are there and you can't but help slow down to look, it's an almost primal instinct to rubber neck. What about if someone sent you a link to a website where they show people dieing, would you still look, would curiosity get the better of you? It's a rather harsh question but "Untraceable" starring Diane Lane and Colin Hanks throws up a similar question as it combines elements of "The Net" and "Saw" to deliver a modern thriller around dodgy websites and online murder.

Whilst working as a cyber crimes agent Jennifer March (Diane Lane - Unfaithful) finds herself tackling a murderer who streams violent deaths across the internet, with the more people viewing their website the more excruciating the deaths become. Despite her best efforts, Jennifer struggles to bring the website down and finds herself in a very personal battle when the website killer starts to target the cyber crimes agency.

From the opening scenes where we are introduced the website which broadcasts these grizzly deaths "Untraceable" sets the mood of what is to follow. The first online victim maybe just a cute kitten but the whole way this defenceless creature is killed, trapped makes for uneasy viewing playing on your mind despite never seeing anything particularly nasty.  But things quickly move on as we are introduced to Jennifer and her set up working as a cyber crimes officer who discovers the website which having tested the water with a kitten moves on to human victims. The whole set up is done quickly but it is also effective because we nowhere we are as we are thrown into the world of dodgy websites and cyber crimes.

Thankfully being a movie which revolves around the internet the techno speak is kept to a minimum. There are scenes when something techie like is said, such as when they are discussing the multiple server configuration and IP ghosting, but its non critical information, just aiding to set the scene of these hi-tech internet cops.

One of the interesting aspects of "Untraceable" is that it poses a question surrounding people's inquisitive nature. Would they be tempted to visit a site if they knew what they would witness is a gruesome death and be contributing to it by doing so. It is similar to the morbid obsession with slowing down as you pass a car crash. As such "Untraceable" is surprisingly intelligent as it taps into that gruesome side of people's inquisitive nature and works it quite brilliantly especially when during critical scenes it displays a visitor counter showing how many people visited the sites to watch people die. Tied in to the exploration of the power and viral ability of the internet and "Untraceable" has a surprising amount of truth in the concepts it explores.

The trouble is that whilst all this build up work, the gruesomeness of the website, the disgusting and intriguing killings makes for quite fascinating viewing the final part of "Untraceable" fails to match it. It resorts to going back to stereotypical cop/agent scenes which you get in any number of thrillers and almost rushes to deliver an ending once all the pieces have been put into place. It makes it seem like it's running to a set formula which having been enticed by the cleverness of the first half is somewhat disappointing.

Whilst there are a few good performances and recognisable faces in "Untraceable" such as Colin Hanks as Griffin a cyber crime agent, it is very much a movie which revolves around Diane Lane as Jennifer March. As such it does feel a little one sided but Diane Lane does a pretty impressive job of not only being believable as a cyber crime agent with advanced internet skills but also as a single mum who ends up working nights. It's by no means Diane Lane's greatest performance but it works and she leads the movie in a more than adequate manner.

What this all means is that "Untraceable" is both an intelligent and thought provoking thriller. It manages to combine the viral capability of the internet into a storyline with touches of "Saw" about it. It does suffer during the second half when it resorts to stereotypical scenes but the first half is very clever and Diane Lane does a decent job of leading it.


Title: Untraceable
Year: 2008
Length: 101 mins
Certificate: 18
Genre: Crime, Drama, Thriller
Director: Gregory Hoblit
Cast: Diane Lane, Billy Burke, Colin Hanks, Joseph Cross, Mary Beth Hurt, Peter Lewis, Tyrone Giordano, Perla Haney-Jardine


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)