Have you ever seen The Cell? Starring Jennifer Lopez as a detective who uses a (skin-tight) suit attached to a lot of computer equipment to see into a serial killer’s head? Iit can only be described as seriously, seriously messed up. I don’t know who wrote it, but I would be avoiding meeting them down a dark alley. Or a light one. Or in a busy public place of any description.
Now you would rightly come to the conclusion that the sequel of a film which centres around the use of a skin-tight suit which allows you to see into serial killers’ heads might just need the appearance of a skin-tight suit which allows you to see into serial killers’ heads. Apparently not. Maya Casteneda (Tessie Santiago) can go one better than Catherine Deane and do it without the suit. A survivor of ‘The Cusp’, a man who spends his time killing women and then resurrecting them so that he can kill them again, Maya has developed psychic powers, which she must use to save the next intended victim.
It does seem somewhat mysterious that the FBI couldn’t just do some old-fashioned detective work and find the killer themselves. Then again, if they had, we wouldn’t have been treated to the melodramatic hand-wringing of the lead character, the baffling CGI sequences, or the fact that this has nothing to do with The Cell at all except one of the sound guys coincidentally worked on both films.
This will prove a massive disappointment to anybody who is expecting the same mind-blowing visuals and bad-trip-type effect of the first. While there’s a nod towards needing some kind of weird-out moments, they’re done so badly and pointlessly that they make The Lawnmower Man look like a good idea. The disgusting but arresting murders of the original are replaced with some unconvincing (multiple) deaths which aren’t even remotely scary – Frank Whaley does a great job as the bad guy, but he’s wasted playing opposite victims who don’t seem affected by their near-death experiences and being chased by police who are, simply, rubbish.
Worse still are the agonisingly stupid pseudo-references to the ‘greats’ of the horror and thriller genres, the most irritating of which is that the victims have their heads kept in a rusty-looking box before they’re killed. Saw has done ‘people with their heads in rusty things’ many, many, many times and it is not getting any more interesting.
Even the soundtrack can’t save this. In fact, it uses what I believe are Muslim prayer calls as the killer’s motif – this was either done by somebody with a secret political agenda (extremely unlikely) or by somebody with no brain who heard the music and thought, “That sounds kind of spooky and mysterious, I’ll use that!” (extremely likely). Whatever the case, it stands out for all the wrong reasons and is completely misguided here.
The DVD comes with a 30-minute making-of documentary, which this film does not deserve. If you’re even given this as a present, watch the baffling eight-minute credits with the nice views of Utah and forget about the film altogether.
The Cell 2 is out now.