Untraceable Gregory Hoblit

Untraceable Gregory Hoblit
I guess Ashley Judd had her cell set to "silent” because Untraceable is a movie with her name written all over it. A wise oversight on Judd’s part, for instead of the ’90s thriller queen Gregory Hoblit decided on the Oscar-nominated Diane Lane to play a cop tracking down an internet killer. Taking the sadistic psychopathic killer genre into cyberspace, Untraceable plays up viral video’s popularity, as a killer begins hosting live streams of tortures that escalate with increased hits — yes, the argument is that we, the viewing public, who can’t turn away from a train wreck, are accomplices. Or so Lane’s FBI agent Jennifer Marsh says while she struggles to locate the victims before people watch them to death. Trying to be tech savvy, Hoblit and his screenwriters weigh in on illegal downloading, online dating, immoral Russian host sites and the YouTube phenomenon, of course, but like any movie with such a specific technological target, it will date immediately (see cell phones in any 20-year-old film to catch my drift) and without grace. Four months after its theatrical release, it’s already pretty ugly. While it tries to lure you into thinking that this is a clever, hi-tech thriller, come the second murder, Untraceable merely exposes itself as yet another hapless entry into the torture porn canon. One victim is subjected to a set of heat lamps, which scorch his skin like cheese on toast in a toaster oven, and one of the main characters (it’ll be obvious from the start if you’re familiar with the formula of these types of movies) is given a seat in a glass case of sulphuric acid. Ouch. But it’s all for the viewer’s pleasure, because obviously if we’re watching a film like this we want to see a man slowly get eaten away by acid. In a featurette, screenwriter Mark R. Brinker points out that as an orthopaedic surgeon, this was "one opportunity for a physician to use his knowledge for evil instead of good,” and I must admit there’s no argument here. Three more avoidable "behind the scenes” featurettes are included, focusing on the cast and crew, make-up and special effects, and writing. But be sure to miss the tedious commentary by Hoblit, a producer and the production designer because somehow it makes Untraceable even more unbearable. (Sony)