Cut to the Chase
NOTE: This fantastic spoiler was sent in by William
The movie begins in a dark basement where you see the killer setting up a big old sticky trap in front of a cage. He pours out a bowl of milk and sets it in front of the cage. He opens the cage, and a little kitten comes and gets stuck on the sticky trap.
The scene changes to Jennifer Marsh (Diane Lane) getting out of her car on a rainy night and going inside of the FBI building that she works at. She shows her id card to the person at the front desk and uses it to get past a door that leads to everyone's desks. She sits down at her computer and turns it on just about the same time that her co-worker, Griffin Dowd (Colin Hanks) arrives. He turns on his monitor, and it's some cute little mammal. Then you see him instant messaging multiple people. He makes a comment about the latest girl he met over the web, and Jennifer says she'll never see him again because he looks nothing like his photograph. Jennifer then gets a bunch of pop-ups on her screen, and closes a few but then clicks on one that offers free music downloads. Griffin comes over, and she's explaining how she's been trying to catch this guy, but he keeps on changing his name. When she accepts the offer, the thief steals all of the financial statements that she was keeping on a dummy machine. Turns out the thief has been scamming a lot of people and has racked up a lot of money. She placed a Trojan in the folder so that she could monitor his online spending. The thief spends the money he has just stolen on an expensive watch.
While Griffin and Jennifer are watching the thief's activities, another co-worker comes by and gives Jennifer the killwithme.com website on a post it note, and he says that someone else didn't know what to do with it. Back with the thief, the two are able to track down his signal and find out where he lives. Jennifer calls up some guys ,and they go arrest the guy at his home.
Griffin makes a comment that tells us that he tracks down online pedophiles, and then goes on a little break. Jennifer then takes the post it note and goes to the killwithme.com website where she sees an x-ray of a broken skull. Just as she presses the 'enter' button, the scene switches to some FBI guys entering the thief's house. Then it switches back to Jennifer as she sees the helpless cat, and she notices a television with an infomercial playing in the background. She does some digging and when Griffin comes back, she tells him that it's some site that's streaming live. Then some words stream across the bottom of the computer, and it's some netspeak from the host of the website. Jennifer then gets a phone call from the FBI guys that raided the house, and they tell her that they've got the thief. Then Jennifer correctly guesses that his son was in on it as well, and they both hang up.
We then see that it's morning and that Jennifer is driving home. She gets caught in traffic, and uses On-Star to know when she can get past the traffic-jam. She arrives home, says hello to her mother (Mary Beth Hurt), goes to her room, and puts her gun away. Then she goes to her daughter's room, helps her get ready for school, and walks her to the bus. Jennifer's about to get ready for bed, when her cat jumps on, and it reminds her of killwithme. She logs on, sees the cat is still trapped, and notices the online conversation that is taking place (it's in actual weblingo and goes by pretty fast. some are calling the guy a sicko).
Back at work her boss (Peter Lewis) comes in to check out the kitty, and Jennifer informs him that the cat is now dead. Griffin then tells him that the who the cat's owner is, where he lives, and that the cat was snatched a while back in broad daylight at a yard sale. The boss realizes that he's basically telling him that this kitty killer is local. Jennifer mentions that they only know about the site because some anonymous caller informed the police of it. When the boss simply suggest that they just shut the site down, Jennifer shows him that they can't because there are a bunch of servers being exploited to mirror the site. She explains (in some fancy computer lingo) that they keep trying to shut it down, but the host of the website quickly keeps finding another server to use. The boss doesn't think it's too much of a big deal, since it's just a cat, and it doesn't fall under their jurisdiction (one of the mirrors is in Russian). He basically tells them to move on to something else. The camera moves on to the computer where you can see all the people blogging about how sick this guy is until the conversation is locked along with the name, birthdate, and deathdate of the cat.
The scene then switches to nighttime at the parking lot of a stadium where a hockey game is taking place. You see some guy getting out of his car and walking over to some beat up looking car with a hooded figure in it. He starts to ask the hooded figure if he's the dude with the extra ticket for the game, when the figure grabs him, tases him, and throws him into the car.
We then go back to Jennifer and her daughter at their home (daytime), when Jennifer gets a phone call most likely from work. As she races to her room computer, the scene also shows us the abducted guy bound and gagged to some sort of device being raised in front of the camera. Jennifer logs into the site, and sees the guy along with the message "KILL WITH ME" etched into his chest. There is also a picture of some sort of IV on the screen. The daughter walks in ,and Jennifer tries to hide the screen, while grandma takes the daughter out of the room. Back at work, Jennifer shows her boss how the kitty killer has moved up to human prey. Griffin explains that it's still in the same basement, it's still streaming live, points out some numbers that show how many people are watching, and that the killer is threatening to bleed the abducted man. The boss doesn't think so since the cuts appear to be shallow, but Jennifer and Griffin explain that the IV thing is attached to the victim and the computer. The IV is essentially making the man a hemophiliac, and the more people that tune into the site (which is in the millions at this point), the faster the man bleeds. Even the words, "The more that watch, that faster he dies" is streaming across the bottom of the killwithme website. Jennifer remarks on how many people are tuning in at a fast rate, and Griffin tells the boss that the man is Herbert Miller, a pilot, who was last heard of going to a hockey game because he got an e-mail from a friend of a friend who said he had tickets to the game. The boss actually thinks that the whole thing is a stunt even as more of the IV drips into the man, and he writhes in pain.
We then see the abducted man's house, where reporters have stormed the front lawn and some federal agents have appeared. One of the cops, Detective Box (Billy Burke), questions the wife about the last time she heard from her husband. He tells her not to talk to the press and to stay off the computer. Back at Jennifer's office, she has discovered that the killer is blocking all foreign sites so that only Americans can tune in. Griffin tells her that some kid named Andrew Kilbourne was the first one to ever advertise killwithme, and that his review was then spread across the globe. He then explains that the killer had hacked into Kilbourne's account and posted the review. The two go back to her computer to try to isolate the original IP address and see that Miller is still suffering. Griffin then remarks when seeing that he's still gagged (very important to remember this), "It's too bad this guy wasn't a boy scout. He could just blink Morse Code and tell us where he is." They find the IP address and find that it's from some restaurant that most of the agents eat at, which means that the killer wanted them to find the IP thing. Their boss then motions Jennifer over and introduces her to Detective Box. Jennifer is a little mad that this is her case, and then she gets a bit more frustrated when her boss still doesn't believe that Miller is really being tortured. Box tells Jennifer that they really haven't been able to come up with anything, and that there doesn't seem to be a reason for why he was taken. Box had also interviewed the dead kitty's owner, a waiter at some restaurant under a bridge, but there seems to be no reason for why the cat was taken either. Jennifer says that she hasn't come up with much either since the site is "Untraceable". They both look over to Griffin and see that he is very somber looking. Jennifer goes over to him, and she sees that the abducted man is now dead. The words streaming across the computer are ROFL (roll on floor laughing), MTC (more to come), and TYFAYS (thank you for all your support). Jennifer is now even more determined to catch the guy. The camera then goes over to the basement of the killer where he is typing in the man's name (Herbert Miller), his occupation (Pilot), and his birth and deathdates. When he enters it in, the blog session is once again locked.
The camera then pans over the neighborhood where you can hear a bunch of new broadcasters and people talking about Miller's death. We then come to some guy walking out to his car and discovering Miller's body. Then there's some press conference where it's announced that the FBI will be in charge of this case. Jennifer and Box then talk about how there doesn't appear to be a connection between Miller and the man who discovered the body (some congressman who's for Internet neutrality), but that the killer just wanted more recognition by dumping the body on a congressman's property. Box then gets a message telling him that someone named Arthur Elmer, who was fired from some technology place for putting cameras in the men's room, has been raving about killwithme since the kitty died. Box goes over to Arthur's place, and Arthur is a bit of a prick. The police check out his basement and just find pictures of dudes lining the wall and illegally downloaded movies. We go back to Jennifer who tells Box that Arthur couldn't of done it since he was logged into a chatroom for twelve straight hours.
We then see Jennifer at home (nighttime), where she is looking up Andrew Kilbourne on some message board. She calls up Griffin, who is about to head out on a date, and she's wondering why the killer would use Kilbourne's account. After thinking that Kilbourne and the killer might know each other, she mentions that she'll just see Griffin on Sunday. He asks why, and she reminds him that he's supposed to come to her daughter, Annie's, birthday. He admits that he forgot and asks if he can bring a date to the party (probably some girl he met online). Jennifer is reluctant, but then says that it's alright. Griffin jokingly asks if she has a date, and she just says goodnight, and they hang up. It's morning again, when we see Jennifer bring Annie a snack. Annie's playing some lame computer game that one of her friends gave her.
Now we're at a roller rink where Annie's birthday is taking place. The kids are having fun, and Griffin's brought a few pizzas. Jennifer tells him that she's been looking up Kilbourne, and he uploaded a lot of things, but that he's dead since he didn't take his insulin shots. She basically thinks that killwithme guy killed Kilbourne since the review went up an hour after Kilbourne died. While this stuff at the roller rink is happening, the scene changes to some guy driving up to a house where our killer's face is finally revealed to us (Joseph Cross). The killer invites the guy into the house, and the scene switches back to the roller rink. Box shows up but only because Grifin had tricked him into thinking it was his own birthday party. Box wants to leave ,but Jennifer insists that he stays. The scene switches back to our next victim, a David Williams, who is commenting on all the Korean stuff at the killer's house. Williams goes into the kitchen, and we discover that he thinks he's going to get some boxcar because the killer offered it to him through an e-mail. The killer comments on how he and his dad built stuff, but his dad died last year. Williams makes his way over to some stairs, when the killer tases him into unconsciousness causing him to fall down the stairs. The scene goes back to the roller rink where Jennifer introduces Annie to Box. Then we see the killer setting up the next trap which involves concrete. Back at the roller rink, Griffin has just given Annie his gift, which is a punching bag where she can release all her anger. Almost simultaneously, Jennifer, Box, and Griffin's phones start ringing. Of course it's work related, and they have to go. Jennifer apologizes to her daughter, and just as they are leaving, Melanie (Griffin's date) arrives and introduces herself to Griffin just to be left at the roller rink since he has to leave.
We see that Williams arms and legs have been trapped in the concrete, and that he has also been gagged. At some skate park, one kid logs on to the site only to recognize the man as one of his friend's father (the kid is there, and he's pretty stunned to see his dad on the site). Back at the FBI building all the agents are watching it on one screen, and Griffin identifies him as a former television reporter. Jennifer's boss wants to set up a press conference telling people to stay away from the site. Jennifer wants to use the NSA's computers ,since they are much more capable of tracking people, but the boss still wants to set up the conference so it will look like the FBI tried to reach out and prevent the man's death. Jennifer warns him that Williams will just die faster, but the boss disregards her opinion. We go back to where ever Williams is, and a bunch of heat lamps keep on turning on or intensifying. At the press conference, the boss is just telling everyone to stay away from the site or else Williams will die faster. Of course more people seem to be tuning in while he is telling them to stay away, and Williams has started to develop very large blisters as a result of the heat lamps. Somehow the heat has made the gag fall off, and Williams is mouthing the address of the house where he was when he was tased. The FBI get the address and rush off to the house. You think that it's the same house since it flashes between Williams being tortured, and the feds arriving at the house, but in Silence of the Lambs fashion it's the wrong house. All they find is a laptop with the killwithme website, and the boss saying "Any American who visits the site is an accomplice to murder. We are the murder weapon." in a continous loop. Jennifer remarks to Box how the lastest victim died twice as fast because people didn't think they were doing anything wrong by checking out the site (she makes a Daniel Pearl reference). She goes outside and notices a crowd of people, and a beat up looking car (yes, it is the killer's car). Box joins her and tells her what probably lured Williams to the house and that the house is owned by some man who is on vacation. We see that the killer is amongst the crowd, and he's watching the entrance to the house (Griffin comes out, and I'm not sure if the killer is looking at him or vice versa). Jennifer turns around, but the beat up looking car (along with the killer) is gone.
Jennifer returns home (at night), and her daughter is asleep. The next morning Box goes over to Jennifer's desk, and he tells her how he remembers her husband. Turns out her husband died in the line of duty, and Box saw Jennifer at the funeral. At some sort of work meeting, they are basically still trying to figure out the connection between the victims (including the kitty). Then we see Griffin bring Jennifer a bunch of stuff that the Kilbourne kid had done online. Kilbourne especially liked uploading shocking videos and putting them online. Griffin and Jennifer then split the load.
The scene now goes to the killer in his basement, where it appears that he has been able to hack his way into Jennifer's computer. The next morning Annie wakes up and tries to watch t.v. but can't. She tells her mother, who's in the shower, and then turns to leave when she sees a video of their house on the computer (when she was telling her mom, you can see the computer going to the killwithme website, telling us that this video is on the Internet). She tells her mom, but Jennifer can't hear her, and the she goes downstairs and outside to do something in front of the camera since it's streaming live. When Jennifer gets out, she gets a call from Griffin who tells her that her house is on killwithme. Jennifer runs to the computer, grabs her gun, and rushes outside to where Annie wanted to ride her bike for the camera. Jennifer then approaches a car that's parked across from her house and knocks off the camera just as the police arrive. Jennifer opens the trunk ,and Williams' dead body is inside. The killer then locks the blog session (some people actually seem to like the killer now, judging from their comments) with a comment that says, "Did you really think I would let you people hurt that little girl?" It goes back to Jennifer in her house, where she tells Box that the game Annie downloaded (the lame one from her friend) actually had a Trojan virus, and that's how the killer got into Jennifer's network. Annie and Jennifer's mother then leave to somewhere that's presumably safer. Box wants Jennifer to go with them, but Jennifer doesn't want to. Box then goes to Jennifer's garage/basement (I couldn't tell which it was) where other officers are and takes note of the things there. Jennifer goes back into her house and gets a call from Griffin who is just checking to make sure that she and her family are alright. He then tells her that the killer knows that Jennifer is trying to find out the connection between him and Kilbourne, and that there is a connection. Griffin thinks that he has found that connection, but he still wants to check out a few things first. They say goodbye, and that they'll see each other at the office before hanging up. Griffin then gets a call from who he thinks is Melanie. They throw some banter around, and the camera shows us that it's actually the killer, who has somehow disguised his voice.
We see Jennifer arrive at the office, and she asks about Griffin, but it seems that he still hasn't showed up. It cuts back to the basement, where a new victim is settled in the new trap. The camera goes around the basement and also pans up the new victim, where we can see that he's tied to a chair naked in a tank of water with a badge pierced into his skin. When the camera finally shows his face (which is above the water), we see that it's Griffin with duct tape wrapped around his mouth sans glasses. Goes back to Jennifer where she's checking in with her boss who tells her that the NSA won't let them use their computers since they consider it a public affair. Jennifer objects, but their argument is cut off when they notice that killwithme has found another victim. Of course she's horrified when she sees that it's Griffin, and she's even more upset with the latest death trap. There are some tanks of sulfuric acid connected to the tank of water by some tubes. The more people that tune in, the more sulfuric acid that leaks into the tank, and the faster Griffin dies. Griffin is trying to get out of the chair as he sees the number of people tuning in grows larger (the killer put a counter in front of him), but it's useless. The killer then comments on how Griffin would just be sitting in water if no one was watching. Slowly the tank is being filled with Griffin's blood as well as the acid ,and there are some shots of his skin peeling off as he squirms in extreme pain. Jennifer leaves the conference room to take a breather by the stairs. The killer cannot stomach the smell of Griffin's flesh and leaves the room. Once he leaves the room, Griffin starts blinking Morse Code. Jennifer remembers the comment he made earlier and rushes to get a co-worker who knows Morse Code. When they get to the conference room, she tells them to focus in on his eyes, and for the co-worker to translate what Griffin is communicating to them. Griffin is practically screaming through the tape as the tank is practically crimson. Griffin dies, and so the translator guy can't translate anything else. They watch as the killer once again locks the blog session (someone even posted a critique of how he killed) with Griffin's name, occupation, birthdate, and deathdate. The translator was only able to get the words 'our suicide'.
We see Jennifer on the phone with Annie (she doesn't know that Griffin's dead since she asks her mom to say hello to him) at the motel she's staying at when Box arrives with some food. Over their dinner Box says that acid was stolen from a community college, and that they can't trace the call from the killer since he used a spoofcard (they actually exist). Jennifer says that the killer probably hacked into Griffin's network as well and found out that he was vulnerable to Internet dating. She then breaks down a little since she's bad at losing people (her words not mine). It cuts to the morning where we see that Box spent the night at Jennifer's room. She has gotten up and entered the disk that Griffin gave her about Kilbourne's video uploads. She types in the word 'suicide' and comes across the 'Rush Hour Suicide'. It's basically a video of a man who shoots himself in the head, then falls over the bridge and lands on a car that's parked underneath. Jennifer thinks that this is what Griffin was trying to tell her, and Box mentions how he was just there since that's where the dead cat's owner works. Then Box remembers that the suicide guy was a professor at the college where the acid was stolen from.
The scene cuts to Jennifer telling all the other FBI people what the connection is between all the victims. James Reilly killed himself because he was depressed over his wife's recent death. One helicopter, flown by Herbert Miller, was the only helicopter to capture the whole thing on tape. When Reilly fell, his skull and glasses fell on to the diner. The cat's owner tried to sell the glasses on-line. People were outraged by this sale, so all the television stations pulled the story except for one channel. That one channel sent reporter, David Williams to interview people, one of whom was the man who owned the car that Riley landed on. That same news channel aired the segment once again. Andrew Kilbourne pulled the clip off of TiVo and posted it on a bunch of shock video sites. Soon enough, the world wide web saw this. Reilly had a son, Owen Reilly (Joseph Cross a.k.a. our killer), who was very smart yet troubled. He had taken his father's death very hard and had to be hospitalized but was released six months ago. Griffin had discovered this connection. The x-ray on the website is James Reilly's skull, and Owen still lives at the house.
The agents then go into Owen's house only to find it empty. Griffin's decaying body is still in the tank in the basement, and it smells horrible. The rest of his body (except his head) are practically skeletal. Jennifer is once again struck by his death and takes a few moments to just breath. Back at the office Jennifer's boss expresses his condolences over Griffin's death and wants her to take some time off and join her family. Jennifer's still resilient to the day but decides she'll take one day off.
We then see Jennifer gathering her stuff at the motel and driving across the bridge. Her car stops because Owen has hacked into her car and essentially hijacked it. She tries to use her phone, but that's been hacked into as well. Owen's voice is then heard through the On-Star thing, and he tells her that she's near the spot where his father fell off the bridge. He goes on and on about how people have exploited his father's death, while Jennifer is just trying to get out of the car. Then she smashes a window, gets out, and makes a call to Box on a roadside phone that's on the bridge (funny that a piece of old technology is the only thing that works in this moment). She tells Box where he is ,and he just tells her to stay right there. She gets back into the car, which appears to be back to normal, and is about to drive off when Owen rises from the back seat and tases her. The police arrives, but Jennifer and her car are gone. The scene flashes to Owen dragging a bound and gagged Jennifer through a basement. Based on all the stuff that she sees, she realizes that she's in her own garage/basement. Owen hangs her upside down and places some sort of garden instrument with a bunch of blades underneath her. The purpose of this trap is the more people that tune in, the lower the cable she's on goes, and the garden tool with the blades will kill her. Back on the bridge Box realizes that this is where Reilly died, and he sees Owen's car underneath the bridge. At Jennifer's home, Owen is ranting about how death penalty prisoner's deaths will eventually be accessible to everyone on the web, and that people will like it, and it'll be sponsored very easily. Owen then turns on the garden thingy and turns on the site. All the FBI people are surprised to Jennifer is on it, and her boss calls Box to tell him that. Box asks that they send the image, and he realizes that she's at her own house. Meanwhile, Jennifer is trying to keep her body parts from being sawed off and then starts swinging from side to side.
Box races off with some other cops to her house, and Jennifer has caught on to a pipe. Owen goes over to make her let go, but she's able to turn some knob and release some substance in his face. She is somehow able to cut the cable ,and she lands on the floor away from the garden tool thing. She gets on her feet and starts pounding into Owen's back with her elbows, but he pushes her off of him. The cops are finally at her house and are approaching. Owen grabs the garden tool thing (which is still on) and tries to kill Jennifer with it, but she was able to grab his gun and shoots him a bunch of times. Box and some other cops arrive just as she has just killed him. For some reason Jennifer gets out her badge and puts it in front of the camera which is still streaming live. The camera pans to the computer that still has the killwithme website on, and the last few shots are of the blog session and the things that people are posting such as "a genius died today", "where can I download this video?", "a killer died today, long live the killer", and "I'm glad he's dead".
The End. Roll Credits.
*CUT TO THE CHASE*
Brought to you by
A psycho creates a website that is somehow untraceable (hence the title). It features live streaming video of his basement and his various victims. It starts off with a cat, then a helicopter pilot (by injecting anticoagulant), a newscaster (heat lamps), an FBI agent (slowly increasing concentration of acid), and finally the main character (Diane Lane), also a FBI agent, who escapes her death-by-mulcher by swinging out of the way while dangling from the ceiling. She ends up breaking free and gunning down the murderer just as the cops show up. At first it seems the victims were randomly chosen, but it turns out that there is more to the story.
Turns out, the first two victims were chosen because they were part of filming or presenting the suicide for a high school teacher. His son, who is a techno-savant, and a bit unstable, breaks down and was admitted to a psychiatric hospital. When released, he decides to prove a point (that the public is insatiable for the suffering of others roman style), as well as wreak vengeance on those he feels have exploited his father’s tragedy. The FBI agent, was killed because he came close to the truth of who the murderer was, and Diane Lane’s character because she was trying to catch him (and was able to identify and locate him ruining his fun/vengeance), as well as because he feels that the government should have done something, instead of letting the press exploit the tragedies of others.