Last week San Francisco Web Analytics Wednesday took a trip to the movies. Just how often do we get to see a blockbuster film about web analytics? Well, if Untraceable is the best Hollywood can do, let's hope it never happens again.
Fact: 60% of all Untraceable audience members were Web Analytics Wednesday attendees, but only because our theater was nearly empty. At least this made it easier for us to heckle without worrying that we were disrupting anyone else's experience.
Setting: Scenic Portland, Oregon. Familiar territory for me because I grew up there, it's also the noted home base of WebTrends and Web Analytics Demystified. The only office shown in the movie, however, was the FBI's cybercrime unit. In terms of product placement, the good guys were using Windows, the bad guy didn't use any recognizable software. FBI bookshelves contained only plain white binders, none of the web analytics books we know and love.
Gore: A sick and twisted individual builds torture contraptions to kill his victims by way of a web site. The more viewers he gets watching the live webcam, the faster his victims die. He's even thoughtful enough to install an LCD readout in the torture chamber in order to track real-time viewership. As news spreads, the killer's site grows in popularity and the carnage accelerates; it's word-of-mouth marketing gone very, very wrong. Nasty bloody scenes feature high-wattage light bulbs, battery acid and one very sharp rototiller. I hid behind my popcorn bag the whole time.
Plot: Completely transparent! One astute viewer among us correctly guessed the whole plot halfway through the movie. A title like "Untraceable" would suggest the bad guy had a knack for covering his tracks, which he did, but there were still some major holes in the plot. We spent the entire show devising ways to isolate the perp based on his actions.
Bottom line: Worth Netflixing, I suppose, if you can tolerate a serious bloodbath. But honestly, get The Silence of the Lambs instead. Untraceable stole everything from Lambs, right down to the movie poster. Granted the original doesn't have anything to do with web analytics, but as far as the genre goes it's light-years better.