The Cell

(444 votes, average 4.57 out of 5)
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Comments (334)
  • stargate12
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    Yeah, I saw this when I was way too young for it and all the torture and gender-bending stuff freaked me the hell out. I agree that some of the imagery was good, especially where the horse is split between the glass panels. I thought it was really cool how the organs were still functioning in the cross-section; kind of like that Bodies: The Exhibit show that uses preserved human remains.
    I love your analysis of how they didn’t flesh out the killer before trying to make us care about him, these more serious moments show you really know what you’re talking about when pointing to the vital flaws these films have, and how the creators should have known better.
    I hate to admit it, but I didn’t know who the guy at the end was, I’ll definitely look him up now. Man, in the early days I could keep up with every reviewer on the site, now I just try to catch as many new movie reviews as I can. Having dozens of talented producers to choose from is an awesome problem to have.

    Great review, Doug.
  • Drain
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    I thought this shit was too new for you to review. Wasn't it like year 2000?

    But ya... this movie was stupid and completely illogical. It's like it's trying to tell a story, but not only does it fail at that attempt... but it didn't even need to be told.

    If they did want to do this, they should have done it RIGHT. Just have the inside of his mind have only the evil him, no pointless kid, and have going there be dangerous for you. At some point they could have beaten him and found out where the girl was. IT WOULDNT HAVE BEEN THAT HARD TO DO CORRECTLY. But instead they splice in unwanted scenes of a kid to try to make it more dramatic. They probably got to the end of filming too and went, "Oh, wait... we didn't actually write how the girl is found... well let's just splice in this memory scene, problem solved!"
  • Futago
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    I think I read somewhere that the requirement for a movie to be reviewed by him is that it has to be at least 10 years old. So it fits.
  • Dracowrath
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    Yeah but I thought the cut-off was 2000, then again he found away around that with The Room.
  • Schizoid
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    Actually, in the "The Room" video, he even says that's beyond his cut-off date. The cut-off date has been bumped up to 2001, according to Film Brain in the forums ("Doug has ammended his rules to allow movies from 2000-2001."). "The Room" was 2003 if I'm remembering right and indeed beyond the cut-off but, like "Doug's First Movie", the inundation of requests made him review it. Well worth it I say. So, next year we might be able to start requesting movies from within the year 2002 if the 10 year rule is the case.
  • BooRat
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    Same here man!
  • ultramanmattia
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    LOL! One of the victims has a anime girl mask.
  • Drain
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    STUPID MOVIE.
  • ladydiskette
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    I admit I was really courious to see this movie and wanted to. But I was unsure if this was going to be my money's worth.


    Even with NC's nitpick of the movie it still baits my couriousity. The wierd imagery really does pull you in I think. Especially the scene with the tortured dolli-fied women it reminds me of something out of the Silent Hill games. In fact, I am surprised they didn't make this movie into a survival horror game since it seems to me that is what it mostly reminds me of to be honest.


    Also, with NC's talk of explotiation, I am surprised he didn't cameo the hell out of Cinema Snob.
  • doctortanksano  - a few more problems
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    theres a couple more problems i nitoced with the movie
    like how the music sounds like a group of bag pippers having a heart attack
    and two when mark got jenifer onto his side, he decides to dress her up as.......Karin from Chibi Vampire....What the hell?
  • Drex
    I think there will be a Tarsem fanboy uprising this week.
  • Taufiq91
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    As a Tarsem fanboy, i'd say that NC is kinda right about The Cell.

    It is visually spectacular, but it is pretty weak in story. I love The Fall but i always think that The Cell would have been as great as The Fall if it didn't have a serial killer plot in it.

    Speaking of which, please watch The Fall. It is amazing, and it shows Tarsem's true strengths as a visual filmaker. Also check out Oancitizen's review of the Fall which is also amazing.
  • Sewblon
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    In The Fall, the visuals do make sense in context of the story, they are excellent in and of themselves, and the acting is above average, but the actual story is still pretty simplistic and emotionally manipulative. I liked it at the time, but I will probably never see it again.
  • LikaLaruku  - This movie is awesomesauce.
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    Well, out of all the comments left for this video on blip.TV, everyone said they liked this movie despite it's pretentiousness. I'm also pretty sure Oancitizen said he likes this movie too.

    Me, I freaking love this movie, but NC is a scripted & acted character, so I don't take his judgments to heart & get mad at him when he hates on something I like.
  • JunkWatcher
    Actually, The NC's opinion is pretty much the same as Doug's opinion. The difference between the two is the way they express it. The NC has his over-the-topness, while Doug uses a much more serious tone, but they still share the same view on the movie. They are the same person, after all, just different personalities.
    Same thing with his Bum reviews: same opinion, told by different personalities.

    Nonetheless, there is still no reason to get mad at him when he hates something you like. After all, that's the beauty of life: we are all different, with different opinions and different views.
  • Drex
    Yeah, but I found Doug was bizarrely petulant towards this movie, nit-picking the most insignificant things.

    Wait, is this review a self-parody? Genius!
  • dennett316
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    Funny how people claim "nit-picking" if they happen to like what's being criticised, and "analysis" if they don't....the connotations really make a difference, even though it's the exact same process.
  • LikaLaruku
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    Naturally, there's nothing more human than hypocrisy & double standards.
  • JunkWatcher
    Although I haven't seen this movie myself, I think I can tell what you mean. But note that he doesn't keep hanging with the small stuff, like the pointless dream sequence at 3:40 or the bored acting at 7:50.
    He mentions them, that's what a critic does, but he only goes into detail with the major problems, like the non-existing connection with Karl or the bad police work or the painfully obvious/silly symbolism throughout the movie.
  • LikaLaruku
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    Yeah, I guess it was like watching an Episode where Doug was possessed by either Phelous or Todd. Ohohoho.

    Meanwhile Brad & Kyle would have made this movie out to be some fantastic masterpiece, because they love pretentious movies.

    This movie isn't that stylistically different from The Fall. If you like or hate one, same goes for the other.
  • The_Awesometeer
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    he does the same thing with all movies....
  • Da Erkka
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    Sadly, not every person on the internet has human level intelligence like you
  • DangerousLoki
    Personally I hate this movie. It's a subject matter that's been handled better elsewhere. Even the movie Identity which was pretty low fare told the story better. I actually am a fan of Identity despite it's lackluster execution and obvious red herring/killer. The story is kind of interesting.
  • Minion of Yahtzee  - Oh dear
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    What a weird screwball movie. I was almost expecting a cameo from Oancitizen or even the Cinema Snob. As for the movie itself, if I wanted to hear a story that involves delving into the mind of a serial killer with almost all the things in this movie done right, I'll stick to "Silent Hill 4 The room" thank you very much. Anyway good job Critic and be sure to give Mike J a call. Why, because there was a direct to DVD sequel and it is even more stupid then this one even though the same guy directed it. Have fun Critic.
  • DarkBee  - A sequel?
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    There... is actually a sequel to this? Huh.

    Film Brain would've made the perfect cameo (SYMBOLISM!).

    I saw this movie on my first (and only, so far...) date. It was not the best choice of movies.
  • LikaLaruku
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    A direct-to-DVD sequel that few have heard of? Now that one I can see fans agreeing might suck.
  • BurningBusch86
    almost thought there would be no NC this week since the link wasn't on the main page, I was worried for a bit there.

    also, If I could've remembered my password I would've been first :P
  • DemonSlayer
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    Only a minute in and it already looks like one of the strangest movies.
  • keniakittykat
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    If this was just a silent movie with just the impressive random images and music thrown at you, it would've been kinda cool.
  • darkness shade sonata
    is it me? or does edward in this movie look closer to a vampire than edward from twilight?
  • BooRat
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    It's the armor from Bram Stoker's Dracula!
  • SpeedyEric
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    My thoughts exactly
  • ActionHero
    Apparently this movie is so fucking bad that just trying to watch this review caused my computer to crash.
  • PhoCarrot
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    What's the point of putting Vincent D'Onofrio in something if you're not even going to use him to his full extent?! They should have at least given him SOME sort of character development to work with.
  • Knifewounds
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    Lol, anyone else notice Dean Norris around 5 minutes in?
  • gak29
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    I got that J-Lo car ad before the video started. The coincidence amuses me.
  • doggie015
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    Wow... I am glad I never even heard of this PoS!

    Looking forward to the next one.

    Also: This one was a day late... why?
  • mbeeston
    i liked the the movie >.>

    though ya, it's more creepy visuals then story
  • Shane_LaFleur
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    I think this makers of this movie should've spent a little more money on story and less on the creepy visuals. I most definitely agree with your analysis about the movie's flaws.

    As for the review itself, I found it quite funny. The parts that really made me laugh out loud were the dancing animated director and the cam (the 'Chicken Dance' music put it over the top)

    All in all a great review and a pretty messed up movie ('Be disturbed' Indeed)

    Can hardly wait for next week's review :)
  • lidoeg
    what no Filmbrain Symbolism moment? not even a token mention? Come on this movie is just begging for him to burst out of knowhere and scream SYMBOLISM!!!!!!!!! &IYU@#@&*#V@YV#GEN!US@ Also now Oan Citizen has to review this movie, it seems only right
  • mehja  - Symbogasm
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    Poor FilmBrain would have died a horrible death of perpetual SYMBOGASM around halftime of the movie.
    One has to keep such movies far, far away from him.
  • weckar
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    Actually, FB is just on his yearly break right now. And I think he already ran with the 'too much symbolism' joke once before.
  • BooRat
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    I TOTaLly AGREE! I FEEL RIPPED OFF!
  • lady_entropy
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    Thanks for taking a sequence that was never really very scary or interesting and make it creep me the fuck out by adding Peewee music...God dammit
  • Meltingpenguin  - Best review yeT? Although you left out....
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    One of your funniest, most scathing reviews yet critic.

    And, while you mentioned that this movie has unoriginal imagery, you didn't mention that this movies imagery is actually directly lifted from other art pieces.

    Look at the the painting "Dawn" by Odd Nerdrum. Look familiar? This painting was recreated exactly in the movie.

    Now look at Damien Hirst's "sliced cow" look familiar? Another rip off. Some might call this a homage, but as you mentioned, this movie is already unoriginal, as it turns out, this guy can't even think of his own meaningless symbolism, he has to LIFT it from other artists. What a hack.

    This is a cover band equivalent of a movie.
  • BooRat
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    Look at HR Giger his works look a lot like this movie!
  • BooRat
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    Some of the scenes in The Cell are inspired by works of art. A scene in which a horse is split into sections by falling glass panels was inspired by the works of British artist Damien Hirst. The film also includes scenes based on the work of other late 20th century artists, including Odd Nerdrum, H. R. Giger, and the Brothers Quay. Tarsem — who began his career directing music videos such as En Vogue's "Hold On" and R.E.M.'s "Losing My Religion" — drew upon such imagery for Stargher's dream sequences. In particular, he was influenced by videos directed by Mark Romanek, such as "Closer" and "The Perfect Drug" by Nine Inch Nails, "Bedtime Story" by Madonna, and the many videos that Floria Sigismondi directed for Marilyn Manson. During a scene, Jennifer Lopez falls asleep watching a film, the film is Fantastic Planet. In the scene where Catherine talks with Carl while he is "cleaning" his first victim, the scenery resembles the music video "Losing My Religion" by R.E.M.; that video was directed by this film's director, Tarsem Singh.

    The scene where Peter Novak first enters the mind of Carl Stargher, and is confronted by three females with open mouths to the sky is based on the painting "Dawn" by Norwegian painter Odd Nerdrum. The scene in which the horse is cut into segments suspended in glass cases is inspired by the work of British artist Damien Hirst (e.g., the installation "Some Comfort Gained from the Acceptance of the Inherent Lies in Everything"). Director Tarsem Singh asked Tara Subkoff during her interview if she could swim, to which she responded that she could and that she had been a lifeguard. It turned out that she could not go under water without holding her nose. Singh would have switched her role with Catherine Sutherland, but it was too late and there was not enough money or time to re-shoot. The scene when Catherine Deane is chasing Carl through a stone hallway, right before she enters the room with the horse, is based on a painting by Swiss surrealist H.R. Giger called "Schacht".
  • Supermutant2099
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    WTF is this movie? This disturbing and just weird in all wrong ways.
  • mehja
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    3:15 Man, those are some rigor mortis nipples!

    All I remembered from this movie was: PRETTY PICTURES! ...and something about a serial killer.
    Now, after watching this great review, I know it is truely about: PRETTY PICTURES!... and something about a serial killer.
  • GUK77
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    It's like Inception if Christopher Nolan was high on acid and stuck in Salvador Dali's funhouse
  • PurpleTiger
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    ...that was the most beautiful thing I've ever heard in my life.
  • NeuroManson
    Clown cats with 6 breasts from outer space? Star Trek V The Final Frontier gotcha there! http://images.wikia.com/ memoryalpha/en/images/7/ 7b/Cat_Woman.jpg
  • zipperintheback  - On the topic of [insert Film Brain meme here]
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    It's entirely possible that I have no idea what I'm talking about when I say this, but from where I'm sitting it seems like you can kind of separate attempting symbolism in your movie film for theaters into two styles of approach. The first is an art-house, highly interpretive style of storytelling where there is not only a constant clusterfuck of strange imagery, but in order for the audience to even comprehend the events in a cohesive three-act structure, they have to decode the symbols into intelligible pieces of the story (you know, the kind of thing Oancitizen goes after). The second is where a seemingly normal set of events is presented on-screen, such that the audience can understand the proceedings without having to interpret anything, and has an emphasis on subtlety, with the symbols and analogies downplayed to an extreme (like To Kill A Mockingbird). Again, non-film major speaking, so please forgive me if I'm actually revealing my ignorance to the world, but it appears as though if you keep to the extremes with symbolism, you get two styles of film making which each find their own niche to be appreciated in: one where the symbolism is explored in order to obtain the story, and one where the story takes precedence and the symbolism is icing on the cake that the story can be complete without. If you go more the middle ground, I think you wind up in a situation like this: you have a complete story in of itself, but the symbolism is so center-stage that it actually impedes the momentum of the film. I don't know what the shroud of turin is doing in this film, and I don't care to find out, because it's not important to the proceedings and it takes me out of the story momentarily, and thus bores me. I can face-lift the virgin Lopez from the script and you don't really need to change anything plot-wise. Therein, I think, the problem may lie.
  • JaiCSC
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    Film Brain cameo here would have been brilliant.

    I don't think much of this film either.

    Although it's funny while not as extreme some of the comments Critic makes about this film at the end are precisely why I don't like Black Swan
  • dennett316
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    Huh? That entire movie was about watching Natalie Portman's character crack under pressure, it was pure character study and we got indepth looks at just why it was happening and her reactions to it all.

    In short, Black Swan had plenty of substance to go with the flash and the intense/disturbing moments fit within the context of the film and the ballet rather than being style for style's sake...the two v=can't really be compared.
  • YouAskedForIt
    yeah! a movie I remember,,, for how bad it is.
  • SixSeven83
    I definitely think Tarsem's best work is R.E.M.'s Losing My Religion video.

    Not to be a Douchey McNitpick, but Vincent D'Onofrio's character in Full Metal Jacket was in the Marines, not the Army.
  • dennett316
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    And also, that scene where he snapped was more disturbing and outright scary than anything in The Cell.
    D'Onofrio was excellent in Full Metal Jacket.
  • BooRat
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    About timeI've been waiting for this review all day since I saw the Titlecard art on DA! I recall seeing this movie only once years ago on VHS tape and I hated it then and still hate it now! This movie was just so boring and confusing! The concept of it is a great idea and the art style in it is beatiful but the story is just complete WTFery! I'm glad you bashed this thing for all it was worth crittic!
    I do like the actor though who played the Psycho here he's awesome!
    Oh, to answer the one question the reason the kid died is because he and the evil him are the same person you know the same soul same body thing they can't live without the other blah blah!
    I do agree this movie does look like someone stretched out a Marlyne Manson video into a full length film.
    Is it just me or does the Matrix suits they wear look like the armor from Bram Stroker's Dracula?
    Also, why does the killer's mental world look like a Middle Eastren/Mid-Eval fantacy world!? He didn't look Middle Eastren or like he was really learned so why would his mind be so involved in those cultures and designs!?
    This movie does make me wish stuff like this was real I'd love to see the inside of other people's minds!
    That fat dude playing the doctor in that one scene has an eye condition! That the reason he's so reconizable! He played Ottis in Walking Dead recently!
    The best way t watch this film is high off your ass! This would be a trip to remember!

    Aslo You should've have Film Brain cameo he was perfect for this!!!
  • SpeedyEric
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    The closest I ever got to seeing exploitation films was watching both films of “Grindhouse” on Spike last week, and it kicks @$$.

    I heard of The Cell, but I only saw little of it. The only things I know from this film is that it’s styled up the wazoo. And it stars J. Lo.

    2:25- So his name is Mr. E. Nigma?

    I love the Spider-Man joke. Also, it’s really been 7 years since Spider-Man 2 was released.

    4:58- Fun Fact: The corpse is played by Kat from Power Rangers. …Let that cover your nightmares for the rest of the week, folks.

    The mind dungeon scene is like a Lady Gaga/Rhianna crossover music video if it were directed by the jag-off who gave us The Human Centipede films.

    20:57- BULL$H!T!!!!!

    This is one of those movies that when I heard it was being released, I would let everyone else see it for themselves, because of how disturbingly weird it looks.
  • BooRat
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    Well, watch Drive Angry from what the Cinema Snob said it's a great modern exploitation movie. You should watch some of the old exsploitation horror films from the 70s and 80s!

    I actually forgot all about J-Lo being in it but I recalled the dude playing the killer. Edgar from MiB.

    2:25-So, that's how the Riddler went insane! Also, how come arkham has NEVEr reabilitated a single patent!

    Well, Spider-Man part 1 came out in 2002 so yeah!

    4:58-Well, we got something new to bring up next History of the Power Rangers review by Linkara!

    I thought of it more a Disneyland if biult by Manson with an Eastern remodeling agentcy!

    20:57-What I can believe she's a virgin if and when pigs fly and gold bricks fall from the sky!

    It was one of those ones I didn't get the trailer and was like I'll wait to see what my friends think and no one I knew was stupid enough to go see it in the theater so I had to see it on rented VHS tape! And that was the last time I ever saw it! And I'm sticking to that statemrnt!
  • EpicFish
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    Great review Doug! You pretty much hit the nail on the head with this movie. Stunning visuals, whole lotta pretentiousness with the plot! Just who the heck is Jim Troken (aka Carl) though?
  • BooRat
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    The guy from Fullmetal Jacket, Edgar from Men in Black, he played a lead character on Law and Order Crimminal Intent, and he played a drug dealer called Pooh Bear in an awesome movie with Val Kilmer!
  • dennett316
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    That's Vincent D'Onofrio, EpicFish was referring to Doug's friend from the ending skit.
  • FullofQuestions
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    He was the idiot who got shot in Suburban Knights.
  • Eddie The Lightbringer
    Anyone else hoping for a Cinema Snob crossover when you heard the word "exploitation" only to be severely disappointed?
  • EpicFish  - ^
    avatar
    Yes. :(
  • therooster
    avatar
    should have been told from the perspective of the killer
  • GoldenChile  - I agree.
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    The normalcy of the police procedural dilutes the movie instead of providing a graphic contrast with the dream world, I thought. It felt like Seven fucked the Matrix and had this. But, I still enjoyed this movie more than the Fall.
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