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Film / Untraceable

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The bandwidth costs are killer.

Untraceable is a 2008 thriller movie.

Jennifer Marsh (Diane Lane) is a single mother and an agent for the FBI's cyber crime unit with her partner Griffin Dowd (Colin Hanks). Their new case is tracking down and trying to bring down a new Web site,, which consists of streaming video of a cat put in a Saw-esque death trap, a chatroom for comments and a viewing counter which, as it rises, makes the death trap more and more dangerous for the victim inside. As the webmaster, Owen Reilly (Joseph Cross), moves up to human victims, the site's popularity grows, making the deaths on screen happen faster and faster.

The film is more or less a Take That! against media sensationalization of violence and gorn.



  • Beauty Is Never Tarnished: Every male victim suffers through a slow and agonising death that even if someone managed to rescue them in time would leave lasting and obvious scarring. Jennifer is put in a death trap that will either kill her instantly or allow her to escape untouched.
  • Bookends: The movie starts with a car ride through Portland while it rains and the radio switches from the national to the local news. The same happens in the scene before the showdown.
  • Broken Aesop: Multiple critics have pointed out that the film comes across as hypocritical; its overall message condemns the public's obsession with violent media and the sensationalising of real-world violence, yet the film also indulges heavily in graphic scenes of torture and murder.
  • Cruel and Unusual Death: Pretty much every death in the movie could count as this, but special mention goes to Griffin who is dissolved in battery acid.
  • Everyone Knows Morse: Averted: Jennifer notices that Griffin's blinks look like morse code, but has to find somebody else to actually decipher it.
  • The titular untraceable website, which features live murders.
  • Real Is Brown: A lot of blues and grays, with very few vibrant colors. Then again, the movie is set in Portland, Oregon, where it's perpetually overcast.
  • Streisand Effect: In-Universe. After initially discovering, the police department issues a public service announcement warning people to stay away from it. As Jennifer predicted and feared, this only serves to increase the website's popularity.
  • Too Dumb to Live: A couple of examples in this film. Most present one is how Jennifer gets captured. Basically, her electrically run SUV stops, she gets out of the car and walks away. Then when the SUV magically starts again, sits right back down into the driver's seat without a second thought.
  • Torture Cellar: Victims are killed in the basement of Owen's family home.
  • Western Terrorist: What the head of the field agent first makes Owen out to be—including comparisons to the Unabomber and Timothy McVeigh.
  • You Bastard!: The film's message is pretty much a Take That! against society's obsession over violence and Torture Porn, lampshading the message repeatedly.