ARROW IN THE HEAD REVIEWS

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The Cell (2000)
Written by: The Arrow
Director: Tarsem

Starring:
Jennifer Lopez/Catherine
Vincent D’Onofrio/Carl
Vince Vaughn/Peter
PLOT-CRUNCH
Psychologist Catherine Deane (Lopez) is taking part in a radical new kind of treatment. She enters the minds of her patients in order to heal them. When she accepts to enter the brain of a comatose serial killer (D’Onofrio) in order to locate his last victim who is slowly drowning, she never expected to find such craziness inside of that world. Luckily for her, super cool Vince Vaughn is around…
THE LOWDOWN
Did someone slip a mickey in my coffee? The Cell is by far the most mind-bending flick of the decade and a wonderful celluloid substitute to mind altering substances. Wow…what a trip! This effortless offering manages to sustain a credible story while filling the viewers' mind with hallucinogenic images, crazy costumes and brain blasting sets. What’s its secret? Easy, the film keeps everything simple. The story presents us with a reality and doesn’t try to explain it or give us a choice about it…we have to believe it. The main characters are developed enough for us to care (it also helps that they’re played by very likeable actors) and my fear that they would wind up being props in a land of visuals was quickly cast away. Don’t get me wrong, the dream-like images are the main reason to see this film but the principle characters are always prominent.

Hardcore horror fans will notice familiar elements from other movies, namely "Nightmare On Elm Street" and "Silence Of The Lambs". The story is not very original but it’s interpreted in a unique way. This film is similar to a painting come to life, it pulls you in a limitless world and brings you on a wild ride that will astound you.

On the negative vibe: I did expect to see Michael Stipe (singer of REM) hopping in at a certain point. One of the film’s set pieces is identical to the Tarsem-directed music video "Losing My Religion". Fortunately, Stipes never shows up.

Some of the side characters are barely touched upon (Jack Weber and Marianne Jean-Batiste are kind of wasted here). I hear a scene with Weber’s character talking about his wife was cut out to keep the movie flowing. For some reason their lack of dimension didn’t bother me one bit. Tarsem hasn’t got his actor’s directing down pat yet. Some scenes between Lopez and Vaughn felt a bit clumsy. The film has very little tension (it would have been nice) and I wonder if suspense was ever an issue. If it was, they failed. The film is not particularly scary but it is very eerie.

On a whole, this mind-ripping flick is a treat. It moves fast and has enough symbolism to give Freud headaches. Ever wanted to know what it would feel like to be Alice in "Alice In Wonderland"? The Cell is your chance. This is one of the easiest viewings I ever had to sit through. Enter The Cell with me.
GORE
Yep, got that too. My fav being Vaughn’s inside being rolled out on a stick and D’Onofrio hanging from the ceiling, attached to hooks chained inside his flesh. The makeup handled by horror favs KNB is awesome!
ACTING
Jennifer Lopez is strikingly beautiful in this one, she doesn’t have much to do and her chemistry with Vaughn is off but she sure looks good! Vincent D’Onofrio is very effective in all his forms and delivers another kickarse show. I was convinced! I love Vince Vaughn, I will admit that his performance felt a bit off in the beginning but I quickly warmed up to it…you’re still the money, baby!
T & A
Some victim’s breasts. The nudity is never used in an exploitative way.
DIRECTING
What were you smoking, Tarsem? The man goes all out with crazy camera shots (loved the upside down stuff), slick style, slow motion and grandiose images.
SOUNDTRACK
An effective score but I especially appreciated the way Tarsem used long silences, making the scenes more powerful.
BOTTOM LINE
Does The Cell mark a new era in horror filmmaking? In my book it does. This flick is more than eye candy, the images have a purpose: to tell a tale. When JoBlo and I walked out of the theater we both felt hazy. It doesn’t help that we don’t get much sleep, but watching The Cell is a similar experience to tripping out or having a whacked out dream. Once the film is over, you might just question the path to your journey...and then ask to go there again!
BULL'S EYE
Tarsem’s commercials (Levis, Coke, Lee Jeans) have elevated the art form and are a permanent part of the Museum Of Modern Art.
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