The Cell 2
Directed by Tim Iacofano
New Line Cinema, 2009
By Miles Baker
While watching The Cell 2, I had a feeling that this wasn’t originally meant to be a Cell movie. Watching the “making-of” feature after the movie confirmed that. There is no relationship between either of these films. The filmmakers try to make a connection, but it’s wrong. They try to establish that Jennifer Lopez’s character was a psychic when she actually had a virtual reality thingamajig that got her into the killer’s head. So, this movie, which relies on psychic powers, is not even in the same genre as the original. Why would they lie like this?
I was surprised at how much I liked The Cell when it came out almost 10 years ago. I liked it enough to watch it a few times. So when I found out about The Cell 2 I thought, “Yeah, I’d watch that. See what it’s like.” — and so their nefarious plan totally worked. They suckered me into this by dressing up their bad movie in sequel’s clothing.
The Cell 2 focuses on psychic FBI agent Maya Casteneda (Tessie Santiago) as she and her team try to track down The Cusp, a serial killer who cuts out his victims’ heart only after killing them and bringing them back to life seven times. Maya uses her bizarre and fickle ability to touch an object and read the memories of its owner. But she also enters their mind. A big deal is made of this, because if she’s in someone’s head when they die, then she dies. The Cusp is revealed half-way through the movie for no good reason whatsoever, except that it seems like the writers were bored with writing a mystery thriller and thought it best to mixed it up a little. The colours are drab and it’s clear that the director has a history in television, filming many scenes as if he only has two walls (to be fair, an 18-day shooting schedule may have a lot to do with this).
Cell 2 is nothing like the carefully plotted and exquisitely-made original, which is a shame but not entirely regrettable. It’s bad. Don’t get me wrong, this is a bad movie. But it does, for a large chunk of the film, cross over into the enjoyably-bad category.
It doesn’t start off that way. Early on, Cell 2 wants to be a legit scary movie and uses scene after scene of torture porn try to create a false sense of tension. Midway through, it’s like the film realizes it’s done with that and decides to get fun, with some detours back into torture porn for good measure. Those parts are tedious. I think if you like torture porn they’d be too tame, but I can’t really say. I decided to go get a drink during those parts.
The fun parts come in the end half as they embrace the cheese: terrible acting, silly plot twists, amazingly lame chase sequences, bad jokes, and the best closing credits of all time. The two chase sequences are the best. The low-speed foot race, where the protagonists escape by hiding under some blankets is a gem. It got me laughing a few times and you can’t fault any movie that does that.
The Cell 2 was sent to MONDOmagazine as a review copy. It is currently on sale on DVD, Blu-Ray (the version Miles reviewed), and via download services.