Diane Lane, Colin Hanks, Billy Burke
Jennifer: So, why did the subject pick him?
Det. Box: Subject? Are we in science class?
Jennifer: What would you prefer?
Det. Box: How about “piece of s***”?
FBI agent Jennifer Marsh (Lane) spends her days tracking down criminals on the internet. One day a new site shows up which displays a cat being gradually killed. The more viewers that hit the site, the faster the cat dies. While the FBI races to find the person responsible, the site escalates the stakes by going from cats to humans.
I believe it was Walt Kelly who said, “We have met the enemy, and he is us.” That’s pretty much what this movie is saying. It’s pointing a big finger right back at the viewer who gets a kick out of seeing death, torture, and human tragedy every day in movies and on the internet. Yes, it is preachy.
It’s also a bunch of stuff we’ve seen before. Many times. The FBI agent, Marsh, with a troubled past, her goofy partner, Griffin (Hanks), and the gruff detective who kinda sorta maybe has a romantic bond with the female lead. Then there’s the intricate killing devices straight out of the Saw movies, and a villain with an important moral message he wants everyone to hear.
As preachy as it is, there probably is an interesting point here about how easily people can remove themselves from violence and tragedy when it’s just a video on a computer screen. I have no doubt that if a website like that really appeared, it would quickly get enough hits to kill off the unfortunate victim. That’s not to say the visitors would be guilty of murder exactly, as the killer in the movie implies. Just a bad case of morbidity really.
Anyway, back to the movie. It’s not that dull, but it’s not that exciting either. The acting is okay, and it has a decent look to it. It’s just so by the numbers that there’s nothing to get enthused about. Unless you like seeing people killed in unusual ways. In which case, I’m sure you can find better examples of that on the internet.
Don’t let your 8 year old use the same computer you use for your secret FBI work.
10 – 3 for overall unoriginality – .6 for being preachy – .4 for predictability – .4 for boring characters = 5.6