Sci-Fi / Thriller
The Cell
Dir: Tarsem Singh
Star: Jennifer Lopez, Vincent D' Onofrio, Vince Vaughn, Marianne Jean-Baptiste
Cert / Year: 18/ 2000
Format: VIDEO

After a series of gruesome murders where the female victims are drowned, bleached and then made to look like a doll. The FBI manage to track down Carl Stargher (Vincent DíOnofrio) the murderer, after he gets a bit sloppy and leaves one or two clues. Unfortunately before they can arrest him, Carl has a schizophrenic episode whilst in the bath and due to the severe nature of his schizophrenia he slips into a terminal coma. Not long before Carl went into a coma, he abducted another victim. The FBI know due to their ongoing investigations that Carl drowns his victims after 40 hours, so seeing as Carl is unable to tell them where she is (like he would anyway) things donít look too good for them.

As luck would have it a doctor friend of the FBI agent in charge Peter (Vince Vaughn) knows of an experimental procedure which is being tested at a nearby lab. The procedure involves the sub-concious installation of psychotherapist Catherine Deane (Jennifer Lopez) into the mind of a coma victim, in order to try and retrieve them from their psychological prison (very likely). Carl has a nasty little habit of video taping his victims death, in an fully automated glass cell which releases the water automatically to drown them, for his own self pleasurement purposes. (very silly for a serial killer) Peter shows these "snuff" films to Catherine who agrees to enter Carl's mind in an attempt to locate the missing girl and rescue her before the fiendish Harry Houdini prop finishes itís cycle.

The Visual effects are quite stunning and contain some fantastic and imaginative indulgences although the vibrant and garish colours although blend pretty well with the overall feel of the film are a little disturbing at times. I must say that The Cell is rather imaginatively and well shot, and Tarsem Singh even manages to incorporate elements of his only other notable work (REMís "Losing My Religion" video) into the film. Jennifer Lopez is watchable for the most part (and not just because of the "interesting" costumes) and she even manages to act in places although being fair there isnít a whole lot of dialogue involved, so it is hardly challenging even for little miss wooden. Vince Vaughn (The Lost World) is a little wooden and somewhat drab in the role of Peter, and although it was a film making travesty (trying to remake the Hitchcock classic) he is better in Psycho (which isn't saying much). Vincent Dí Onofrio is excellent as the serial killer Stargher and manages I feel to depict the afflicted weakness of the schizophrenic with the scarred and deranged methodical mind of the killer superbly (not sure the masturbation scene is a good point though). On the whole an entertaining movie, at times a little disturbing but visually stunning and garish. Unfortunately The Cell does rely upon special effects, which can be rather excessive. Some of the photography is like a bizarre combination of Dali and Gaughin with a splash of Picasso, and with a bijou influence of religious and iconic imagery you receive quite a visual assault.

I canít say that The Cell is a bad film, merely that it could have been better. I did anticipate something a lot darker and chilling and being honest a little more horrific. A film with the tagline "Enter the mind of a killer" you would expect something other than what you get. Which avtually appears to be the rather well organised and quite tidy mind of a killer. The idea is good and the story does have potential but not in this form, the film wants to be much more than it is, and deserves a rewoking with a real cast and director. This is a visually stimulating and entertaining film, the soundscape is good but some of the caucophony needs to be toned down, overrall though this is a little disappointing

Rating: 3 out of 5

Reviewed by Logan Back Top Home