The Cell

Watch The Cell

"Enter The Mind Of A Killer"
  • R
  • 2000
  • 1 hr 47 min
  • 6.4  (108,370)
  • 40

In the year 2000, Director Tarsem Singh brought to life a music video-inspired cinematic masterpiece titled "The Cell". The titular "cell" refers to a machine capable of tapping into the consciousness of comatose individuals by means of virtual reality. The story primarily follows Catherine Deane, played by Jennifer Lopez, who is a therapist who specializes in connecting with patients through advanced technology. Vincent D'Onofrio portrays Carl Stargher, a disturbed serial killer who kidnaps women, drowns them in a specially made sadistic bathtub and then proceeds to bleach their skin. Stargher is eventually caught and left comatose following an episode, requiring authorities to use the experimental virtual reality machinery to enter his mind and locate the whereabouts of his latest abducted victim before she too becomes yet another in his list of unfortunate homicides.

The movie opens with a beautiful and surreal visual sequence that immediately transports the audience into a dreamlike world. We experience the world through the eyes of Catherine, as she traverses the abstract landscape of a child's mind, fostering a unique ability to connect with individuals by delving into their subconscious. This talent is the key to unlocking the twisted psyche of Stargher, who our protagonist must navigate through a treacherous and surreal psycho-realm filled with grotesque and surreal imagery.

The visuals are the main attraction of "The Cell," and they are nothing short of breathtaking. Every frame is exquisitely composed with masterful attention given to color, lighting, and cinematography. For those familiar with the director's background in music video production, it's apparent where many of the movie's design and atmosphere for its segments were heavily inspired.

The costuming and set designs are remarkable, and the film's vision of an abstract psychoscape that feels both awe-inspiring and disturbing stays with the viewer well after the credits roll. Nothin feels formulaic, and it's straight up one of the most visually inventive films of the early 2000s.

Vince Vaughn plays the role of FBI agent Peter Novak, who oversees the virtual reality sessions with Catherine and is critical to the success of the mission at hand. Vaughn ensures that Novak isn't a typical character; he is flawed but relatable, clumsy in social interactions and with a less than perfect record, yet ultimately competent in his specialty. The relationship between Catherine and Novak provides insight into both characters and propels the story in a satisfying way.

The movies' dream-like imagery exposes us to sequences that can be considered psychological horror. Some viewers might find the surreal and startling visuals to be genuinely daunting. It's very much a bone-chilling horror film, but one that's elevated due to the creative liberties taken with its dreamlike sequences, which doesn't compromise on its nature.

However, a few areas leave much to be desired. For starters, Lopez's performance is nothing spectacular or exceptional. This is far from a terrible role, but it doesn't give her much space to showcase her range; instead, her role conveys her as a damsel-in-distress trope that gives information to the FBI to solve the case. Beyond that, Stargher's fixation on religion and Catholic iconography, could be an effort of adding another layer to his character, but it comes off as a shallow justification for his crimes.

But the movie's faults are insignificant compared to. Despite the odd character choices or mediocre performances at times, The Cell remains a stylistic and surreal feast of a feature that mixes elements from cyberpunk fiction, existential philosophy, and straight-out horror.

In conclusion, The Cell is a remarkable cinematic achievement that stands on its own as an unforgettable surrealist horror film. While the movie has its faults, the visual elements make up for them, giving the audience a tantalizing taste of art surrealism blended with psychological horror. It's a dark and abstract exploration, one that leaves a potent and everlasting impression on the viewer.

The Cell is a 2000 horror movie with a runtime of 1 hour and 47 minutes. It has received mostly poor reviews from critics and viewers, who have given it an IMDb score of 6.4 and a MetaScore of 40.

The Cell
Where to Watch The Cell
The Cell is available to watch, stream, download and buy on demand at Apple TV, Amazon, Google Play and Vudu. Some platforms allow you to rent The Cell for a limited time or purchase the movie and download it to your device.
  • Release Date
  • MPAA Rating
  • Runtime
    1 hr 47 min
  • Language
  • IMDB Rating
    6.4  (108,370)
  • Metascore