THE CELL 2
Still, one reasoned, even if someone were setting out to copy Tarsems visuals even on a B-budget, they couldnt go too far wrong could they? Wrong! It becomes increasingly apparent that the director and scriptwriters of The Cell 2 may not have even seen the original film, so little do they attempt to copy either Tarsems visual style or follow on from the plot of the therapist entering into dream terrain. In the opening scenes, we are introduced to Tessie Santiago as replacement for the first films heroine Jennifer Lopez. With thorough and utter disappointment, she is no longer a therapist entering into dreams but simply a run of the mill psychic following psychometric clues to lead the FBI to the killers lair.
Even on its own terms, The Cell 2 has some interesting ideas that could have worked the killer being aware of the heroine inside his head and taunting her, even being able to destroy her memories and blank out his own face. The killer is given the interesting m.o. of taking delight in killing his victims and then bringing them back to life and how the heroine is someone who underwent this six times, the trauma of which caused her to develop psychic powers. However, Tim Iocafanos utterly routine handling and Frank Whaleys silly and over-the-top performance as the killer ruin all possibilities. It makes The Cell 2 go from a potentially interesting dream terrain film to a run of the mill variant on the psychic with a link to the head of a serial killer plot that we have seen in films such as Eyes of Laura Mars (1978), Double Exposure (1981), Fear (1990), Hideaway (1995), A Deadly Vision (1997), After Alice (1999) and In Dreams (1999).
The original The Cell was a B movie plot that had been transformed into an art film; by contrast, The Cell 2 is an utterly routine B movie that lacks even artistic pretensions. At most, Tim Iocafanos ventures into the dreamscape consist of the heroine wandering through what looks like a cheap futuristic nightclub and picking up video screens that contain memories, which is pitiful in comparison to Tarsems extraordinarily arty visuals. While the original was driven by Tarsems set-pieces, this is driven by stock thriller boilerplates car chases, Chris Bruno hanging on the outside of a helicopter at the climax, the hero and heroine on the run from the authorities, a whodunnit about discovering the killers identity. (This latter is not particularly hard to work out on the reasoning of looking for the known name who is inhabiting what should otherwise be an insignificant supporting role down the cast list). The film is also filled with random plot devices like one FBI agents abrupt decision to frame Chris Bruno as the killer for no particular reason the film ever manages to offer up. Not to mention exceedingly tenuous pieces of detective work such as the duo tracking the killer by looking for someone who must have ordered a lot of surgical syringes.
Everything about The Cell 2 seems misguided. Jennifer Lopez was nothing great in the original, but here Tessie Santiago feels out of her depth, seemingly without even the slightest idea of anything to do other than turn up and look pretty, let alone give the role emotional resonance. Even worse, the film only runs for 75 minutes while the rest is padded out with some fifteen minutes of aerial shots flying through the Utah mountains and behind the scenes footage of the filming of the stunt scenes.
Film available online in several parts beginning here:-