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Untraceable (2008)

Sony

Cast: Diane Lane, Billy Burke, Colin Hanks, Mary Beth Hurt.

Rating: R.

Run time: 101 mins

Genre: Crime.

Verdict: Beautiful (see rating system)

Here's a compact and efficient thriller for fans of movies like The Net and Silence of the Lambs.

The marriage of the two genres - horror and high tech - results in a fast moving, tense story about a serial killer who murders his vicitms live on the Internet. There's a twist - the more people that log on, the faster the victim dies.

Diane Lane is Jennifer Marsh, the cyber crime FBI specialist leading the investigation and closely assisted by agent Griffin Dowd (Colin Hanks) and a streetwise detective, Eric Box (Billy Burke). They quickly realize they're dealing with a real computer geek who knows how to assume other people's identities and cover his tracks - hence the "Untraceable" of the title.

While the killings at first seem random, when the police are themselves targeted it becomes apparent there is a method to the killer's evil madness - what they used to call "motive" in Perry Mason's day.

OK, it doesn't have the stature of a classic like Silence of the Lambs, but this movie does manage to pitch the story as frighteningly believable in an age in which terrorists post footage of kidnap victims being killed. And the ease with which the killer manages to lure people into vulnerable situations is also plausible.

The acting is solid and while most of the computer babblespeak went right over my head, I'm sure the younger crowd will get all the tech references.

The movie looks and sounds great and there are four behind-the-scenes featurettes included.

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