MPA Rating: R-Rating (MPA) for grisly violence and torture, and some language.

Reviewed by: Thaisha Geiger

Moral Rating: Extremely Offensive
Moviemaking Quality:
Primary Audience: Adults
Genre: Horror Crime Torture-Porn
Length: 1 hr. 41 min.
Year of Release: 2008
USA Release: January 25, 2008 (wide); DVD release: May 13, 2008
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Relevant Issues
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About murder in the Bible

Is Satan a real person that influences our world today? Is he affecting you? Answer

Paradise or Pain? Why is the world the way it is?
Why is the world the way it is? If God is all-knowing, all-powerful, and loving, would He really create a world like this? (filled with oppression, suffering, death and cruelty) Answer
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Affects of movie viewing

How does viewing violence in movies affect the family? Answer

Every time you buy a movie ticket or rent a video you are casting a vote telling Hollywood “That’s what I want.” Why does Hollywood continue to promote immoral programming? Are YOU part of the problem?

Featuring Diane Lane, Colin Hanks, Billy Burke, Joseph Cross, Mary Beth Hurt, Tim De Zarn, Daniel Liu, Tyrone Giordano, Perla Haney-Jardine, Katie O'Grady, Gregory Paul Smith, Dan Callahan, Erica Jones, Erin Carufel, Peter Lewis, Ryan Deal, Brynn Baron, Joseph Cross, Betty Moyer, Todd Robinson, John Breen, Gunter Simon, Steve Kaminsky, Ryan Hopkins, Brian Benjamin, Gray Eubank, Mitch Urban, Jodi Altendorf, Jamal N. Qutub
Director Gregory Hoblit
Producer Andy Cohen, Hawk Koch, Gary Lucchesi, Steven Pearl, Sarah Platt, Tom Rosenberg, Richard S. Wright
Screen Gems
Screen Gems
, a division of Columbia TriStar Motion Picture Group, owned by Sony Pictures Entertainment

“A cyber killer has finally found the perfect accomplice: You.”

Being a fan of Diane Lane, I was looking forward to watching “Untraceable.” Appearing as an edge-of-the seat-thriller, I was hoping for a suspenseful ride that would keep me guessing until the end. Instead, “Untraceable” reveals its secret all too early and just leaves the audience bored with underdeveloped characters and disturbed with its “Saw”-like gore.

Widowed FBI Agent Jennifer Marsh (Diane Lane) hunts down criminals in cyberspace. She spends most of her night shifts tracking down hackers and identity thieves with her good friend and fellow agent Griffin Dowd (Colin Hanks). After a long night, she goes home, helps her daughter get ready for school, and goes to bed.

Her seemingly endless routine is interrupted when she receives a Web site to investigate: When she logs on to it, she sees a kitten cruelly stuck on glue paper. She then realizes the Web site is all live-stream. The more people who visit the Web site, the faster its victims die. The serial killer soon turns to human victims, and Agent Jennifer Marsh works against the clock in tracking down a killer who is virtually untraceable, since he uses advanced technology to hide in vast cyberspace.

The cast was well-chosen. Diane Lane is believable as an agent and delivers her cyber-jargon dialogue with believability. Colin Hanks brings on a strong, refreshing performance and precisely delivers his witty lines. In the movie, we see Agent Marsh is living with her mother and has a daughter of her own. Although they are all living in the same house, their relationships are never explored. Stella Marsh (Mary Beth Hurt) appears simply as a babysitter, and Annie (Perla Haney-Jardine) seems to have been only inserted to make Agent Marsh more vulnerable to the serial killer. This movie could have shown a strong mother-daughter bond. Since time was never taken in making their relationships believable, when Annie is in danger, I just sighed that another subplot was added in lengthening the movie.

My favorite character in the movie is Detective Eric Box (Billy Burke). He begins as an obnoxious, hard cop who called the suspect and even one of the victims a POS. Throughout the film, his character softens. He becomes thoughtful toward Agent Marsh and sympathetic when the killer kills one of her loved ones. I enjoyed how they developed a friendly relationship without the obligatory sex scene. At one point in the movie, he goes over to Agent Marsh’s motel room and brings her dinner. He spends the night, but they never sleep together. It felt nice that a male character could be thoughtful without wanting something in return.

I believe the biggest damage to this film was revealing of the killer all too early. The film was slow from the beginning, the only suspense left was the identity of the killer. As soon as the camera focuses on him and zooms in on his bright, blue eyes, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to guess he’s the murderer. I rolled my eyes on several occasions. This was one of the most unoriginal and unbelievable killers I have seen in a long time. He’s basically just a kid who had all kinds of the latest technology, yet drove an ancient van. He had a near omniscient knowledge of the other actors and even outwitted the police and FBI.

For an R-rated movie, “Untraceable” had only moderate profanity. I counted 5 f-words, 6, sh*t,, 2 a-holes, and one GD. Besides this one misuse, I never heard any other misuses of the Lord’s name in vain.

“Untraceable”’s main offensiveness came from its gore. I felt like I was watching a repeat of “Saw.” The amount of blood and torture in this film is enormous. This movie is definitely not suited for children of any age. Since the amount of Web site viewers had a direct effect on the speed of the murder, all deaths were slow, brutal, and agonizing. One victim was slowly soaked in sulfuric acid; it showed his flesh slowly peeling off and dissolving. One victim had the Web site address cut into his skin and slowly bled to death as the result of anticoagulants. It was a bloody mess. Another victim was burned alive with heating lamps. On multiple occasions, it showed his flesh bubbling and being charred. If you didn’t like the “Saw” movies, please do not see this movie.

After a murder had taken place, the director would zoom in on the Web viewers’ comments. The comments were evil and sadistic, urging the murderer to find more victims. “Untraceable” shows the real danger of the Internet and how it has become Satan’s playground.

With the invention of the Internet, double lives have formed. People have found that they can have anonymity and hide their sins. Without their loved ones knowing, humans often believe they can fool those around them. However, God knows about every single sin in a person’s heart and nothing remains hidden from him. In Hebrews 4:13 it says:

Nothing in all creation is hidden from God's sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account (NIV).

Agent Marsh warned her supervisor not to have a press conference about the Web site; she knew people would become curious and log on to the site. He felt obligated, and warned any American who went on the site that they would be an accomplice to murder. Not surprisingly, the Web site got flooded with viewers and the subsequent victims died more quickly.

The viewers probably truly believed they were not the murderers, since their own hands were not bloody. Jesus, however, said that if you think of murder in your heart, you have already committed it.

[Are you good enough to get to Heaven? Answer]

The anonymity of the Internet has allowed sin to become an even bigger snare trap than previous times. It is now even more important that we obey God and “avoid every kind of evil” (1 Thessalonians 5:22).

Right before Cain murdered Abel, God wisely warned him about mastering sin. In Genesis 4:7, God tells Cain,

“…But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must master it.”

By avoiding all kinds of evil and having the Holy Spirit live inside us, sin cannot take over our lives.

This movie could have been so much more. The concept was a thought-provoking one. The cast was perfect. The missing ingredients was a better script and better directing. Sadly, they just left us with a gory path that led to a boring and predictable ending. I do not recommend this film. It isn’t worth the torture and bore.

Violence: Extreme / Profanity: Heavy to Extreme / Sex/Nudity: Moderate

Viewer CommentsSend your comments


Neutral—If you are into suspenseful/creepy type films (which I am), this was a really good one. Diane Lane did a really good job in this film, along with her co-stars. There were definitely some gruesome scenes (people were shown being tortured). Also, the *f* word was used about 4 or 5 times and *gd* once or twice. Aside from those two [awful] words, there was really no more foul language. Overall, I would recommend this movie to ADULTS! I was pleased with this one and its ability to keep me intrigued.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 4½
Amanda, age 23
Negative—What can I say, this movie is largely about human depravity and how sick and twisted people can be. My husband and I thought this movie was going to be a suspense thriller, not a gruesome horror film. Obviously, we need to review our movies better! Considering the fact that there is very little redeeming value in this movie and nothing God-honoring, it definitely doesn't deserve our hard earned dollars!
My Ratings: Moral rating: Extremely Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 3½
Rachelle Smotherman, age 35
Negative—The beginning scene grabs you from the get-go. Right away, you know this is going to be a disturbing film. It opens with a poor, defenseless kitty, and seeing it in distress tugs at your heart. What happens is mercilessly cruel and certainly effective to that end. I hated it.

Surprisingly, there are only two F-bombs, one GD, and a few other swear words. A man and a woman are eating, and in the next scene, it’s morning; they wake up in the same bed, with the same sets of clothes on they had at dinner. Take it for what you will, but I’m assuming it was a clean act of sharing the bed (given everything that leads up to this point).

This movie starts strong, and the premise for the film is solid. However, everything else that holds a movie together fails to gel in this flick. The dialogue is intensely technical or hurried a number of times. In a thriller movie, it’s sort of expected, but in a film that crosses genres, you have to lighten the complicated rhetoric. …The bad guy just doesn’t cut it for me. First of all, they reveal him halfway through the film. Bad choice monsieurs. Secondly, he’s a kid! The prodigy-turned-murderer has been done before, in a much more successful adaptation at that—“Murder by Numbers.” In this movie, the villain is the freshman from Smallville High who had visions of peoples’ deaths; he’s the baby-faced Marine in “Flags of our Fathers.” He’s hardly the evil mastermind type. This guy looks like the gangly teenager at a youth group, not the demented genius who outsmarts both the cops and the FBI.

Aside from being too predictable and a tad slow in the beginning, this movie is a slight “Saw” rip-off. In this modern day of the torture subgenre of horror, what movie isn’t? However, all is not for naught in this made-for-tv movie. “Untraceable” raises an awareness to how vulnerable we are in cyberspace and this movie does address the world’s ever-growing need for violence, and in that regard, the killer was right. People are so desensitized (myself included), they could watch the violent filth depicted in this movie streaming live and walk away, only to utter “Whoa.” Needless to say, I’m increasingly sensitive to these vile things seen onscreen (thank you Holy Spirit). You should be, too.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Very Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 3
Jacob Keenum, age 21
Negative—This film is nothing that will make you feel better, except at the end. It is gory and gross. It was filmed well, but the content could do nothing for people except make them sick to their stomachs. I had no idea that the film was going to be so nasty, and that we, the audience, were going view the torture that these people went through, who were being killed in a most grotesque way. It was a dark movie, and I cannot recommend it to anyone. Biblically, there was nothing biblical about it, other than darkness. You really cannot trust previews, and I wish I had read the …Christian Spotlight reviews that had been posted before I went to see it for I wouldn't have gone.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Extremely Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 3
Donnam, age 52
Negative—“Untraceable” has some interesting moments, and the motivation behind the murders and how everything ties together is quite entertaining. Unfortunately, “Untraceable” doesn't work, despite an interesting beginning and some interesting ideas. I enjoyed the first scene as Diane Lane’s character skillfully traps an online thief. But shortly after that, the film goes downhill. The acting is less than impressive (even the very talented Lane has seen better days). The identity of the killer is revealed way too early, and every early scene of him could have been shot differently so that his identity is concealed and the film would've have still brought the point home, while being way more suspenseful. The elements involving his scheme is interesting, and the point that people's attraction to violence can lead to tragedy and that the Internet is enabling this is valid and connects brilliantly with the killer's motivation. But Why was it necessary for the killer to kill an FBI agent? Surely, there are people he believes deserve death more than him. I understand why the killer wanted to punish the owner of the cat, but why waste time killing an innocent animal and not kill the cat's owner? The climax is routine, and predictable and the scary scene involving the killer hacking into a car's computer is given away by the ads. “Untraceable” is often slow moving and contains no character that could sustain my interest. The violent scenes are gruesome, but not as bad as I expected, and the scene where a man is boiled in acid looks completely fake. I was never convinced he was in pain, and the whole scene looked like he was sitting in a hot tub with red water. The dialogue is often badly written, with characters forcing the swear words as if to call attention to them. “Untraceable” contains interesting ideas, but they didn't insert them into an interesting film.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 2
Andrew, age 31
Comments from young people
Neutral—I was excited for this film for two reasons. 1) I like thrillers, and 2) the film was shot in Portland, Oregon—the state I live in. Though the film itself is moderatley entertaining, the content is very offensive. I can't imagine if someone really tried to do what the killer did in the movie.

“Saw”—which has the same tone as this film—had a purpose for the violence and diabolical traps it set up. “Untraceable” did not. The killer killed because he knew he could get away with it. The traps in this film really weren't too creative—which could be looked upon as positive, because creative death is extremely offensive. Just watch “Hostel”—a prime example of that.

The overall feel and film was disappointing. I don't ever want to watch it again, not just because of the depraved killer, but because the film gave me a feeling of depression. There was no hope for any of the victims, and the bad guy was insanely cruel—for no apparent reason.

I give this film a 2½ in quality, and offensiveness in morality—which the film lacked as a whole. Don't watch it because of the content, and because it just isn't a very good movie.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Very Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 2½
Ben Badger, age 17 (USA)