I thought the overall concept for the movie's plot sounded pretty good during previews. Having captured more than the two-minute viewpoint now, while I won't say it was a let-down, it was not the same film I thought I was going to when I walked into "Untraceable."
Diane Lane steps out of her "Must Love Dogs," "Under the Tuscan Sun" sort of romantic comedy genre and becomes Jennifer, an internet crimes investigator in Portland, Oregon. Her team gets a tip about a web site, killwithme.com, and they watch a video of a cat being killed. Her boss dismisses it, but she's concerned it's not just a one-time torture event.
Naturally, the quick-to-dismiss boss is wrong and our fearless investigator Clarice Starling, er, Jennifer, is correct. The third victim is shown live on the web site, and as the web site's visitor "hit" counter increases, the means of killing is accelerated (whether it be acid, poison, whatever); the first two victims were the cat Jennifer saw early on and a kid that was loosely tied into the whole motive for revenge.
And you're thinking, hmmm, torture, a variety of means to kill, is this another "Saw" movie, do I want to play a game? It's no "Saw," of course. They took great care to explain, in almost painful detail, the motivation behind the killings; in "Saw," now dead John are vaguely described on the best of days.
There were at least a few folks in the audience that seems far more expecting Diane Lane in a light-hearted whodunit sort of film (and didn't necessarily catch the details in reviews and previews). While I figured it was going to be a bit more intense than a crime drama with John Cusack doing a walk-on as a carpenter, I admit being a bit ill-prepared for it being more "Saw" like.
Which worked out fine (for me). It wasn't a bad film by any means, but the gore of "Saw" was lacking if that's what they were going for; the drama of "Silence of the Lambs" wasn't there, and the ending just sort of, well, ended.
No surprise of who the killer is -- we learn that early on -- and the fate of all involved is pretty much sealed with this being a Hollywood production, and the journey is about as neatly planned as a family vacation to the Grand Canyon. And about as exciting as sitting in the minivan with your kid brother and parents, just with more blood and gore.