The Cell

The Cell


Reviewed by: Angus Wolfe Murray

The look of sick thrillers changed with Seven. Suddenly there was an artistry to mutilated bodies.

The Cell borrows from that, as well as using the hot, dusty colours of Seven's finale to contrast with the dirty grey light in the killer's lair.

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This is two films stuck together. The first involves a scientific experiment on trauma victims. The second is an FBI investigation into a serial killer who drowns young women.

Tarsem Singh is an award winning pop video and commercials director, known for his visual imagery, who uses the science project scenario to indulge dream sequences. Jennifer Lopez is tailormade for these, being a Madonna-style diva, with a pretty face and big hair.

She plays a psychologist who likes to wander around the house in tee shirt and thong, wearing lip gloss and no shoes. She is used in brain-to-brain experiments on an autistic boy because "she has a gift for it", which means she looks better in fantasy frocks than the other boffins and can handle induced nightmares without pressing the panic button before the horror of a Francis Bacon Meets Child's Play montage has been fully appreciated.

The voyeuristic element is contentious because this is so obviously a movie and not real life. The twists in the plot that bring Lopez inside the loony's head would be laughable if torture and murder was not at the front of it. As well as weird sex, Mr Sicko likes to hang naked from hooks above the bodies of his victims, screaming with pain and ecstasy.

Vince Vaughn is no ordinary FBI agent. He's a lawyer who switched professions when a paedophile he was prosecuting went free and immediately disembowelled a child on the sofa in his home. Now, he wants to rid the world of such monsters. Joining the FBI seems an odd choice, but there you go.

Vincent D'Onofrio is unrecognisable as the man who had such an abused childhood all he wants to do is put sexy women in a glass cage and turn the taps on. After reinventing grotesquery as the rogue alien in Men In Black, he does so again here, with chilling effect.

Reviewed on: 19 Jan 2001
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Jennifer Lopez enters the mind of a serial killer in scary scientific experiment.
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Director: Tarsem Singh

Writer: Mark Protosevich

Starring: Jennifer Lopez, Vince Vaughn, Vincent D'Onofrio, Jake Weber, Dylan Baker, Marianne Jean-Baptiste, Patrick Bauchau, Gerry Becker, Tara Subkoff, Catherine Sutherland, Jake Thomas

Year: 2000

Runtime: 109 minutes

BBFC: 18 - Age Restricted

Country: US


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