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"THE CELL"
(2000) (Jennifer Lopez, Vince Vaughn) (R)

Alcohol/
Drugs
Blood/Gore Disrespectful/
Bad Attitude
Frightening/
Tense Scenes
Guns/
Weapons
Moderate Extreme Extreme Extreme Moderate
Imitative
Behavior
Jump
Scenes
Music
(Scary/Tense)
Music
(Inappropriate)
Profanity
Mild Mild Extreme None Extreme
Sex/
Nudity
Smoking Tense Family
Scenes
Topics To
Talk About
Violence
Heavy Mild Heavy Moderate Extreme


QUICK TAKE:
Suspense/Thriller: Using an experimental and controversial synaptic connection, a therapist travels into the mind of a comatose serial killer hoping to discover the location of his latest victim.
PLOT:
Catherine Deane (JENNIFER LOPEZ) is a psychotherapist who's been experimenting with a unique way of bringing comatose patients out of their state. With the aid of fellow scientists, Dr. Miriam Kent (MARIANNE JEAN-BAPTISTE) and Henry West (DYLAN BAKER), Catherine has been making experimental journeys into the mind of Edward Baines (COLTON JAMES), a young boy who's been in a coma for the past eighteen months.

Utilizing their neurological synaptic transfer system, Catherine enters the boy's mind where, in a bizarre, dream-like world, she tries to gain his confidence and bring him back to consciousness. Knowing full well that her body will follow and react to whatever her mind experiences, the team has equipped Catherine with a transmitter chip in her hand that, when activated, aborts the latest cerebral journey.

During this time, serial killer Carl Stargher (VINCENT D'ONOFRIO) has been busy at work, abducting more victims - all pretty young women - and making them his real-life, doll-like playthings before ultimately drowning them in a large, enclosed cell. FBI Agents Peter Novak (VINCE VAUGHN) and Gordon Ramsey (JAKE WEBER) have been working the case, and eventually get their break when evidence leads them to Stargher's home.

Unfortunately, he's slipped into a viral-based coma from which doctors don't believe he'll ever recover, meaning that the FBI doesn't know the location of his latest victim, Julia Hickson (TARA SUBKOFF). Having seen videotapes of Carl's handiwork, they realize that Julia will soon drown in his hidden, but completely automated tank system if they can't locate and then rescue her.

As such, and hearing about Catherine's work, they decide to enlist her help. Although initially reluctant, she eventually agrees and soon travels into the twisted, surrealistic and definitely nightmarish world of Carl's subconscious mind. Meeting a boyish and still innocent version of the psychopath (JAKE THOMAS), Catherine does what she can to earn his trust and discover Julia's whereabouts, all before time runs out for her and while dealing with the various and dangerous adult versions of Carl who exist within his head.

WILL KIDS WANT TO SEE IT?
If they're fans of anyone in the cast (including actress turned singer Lopez), or of serial killer/suspense thriller films, they probably will (although this one seems most attractive to older teens).
WHY THE MPAA RATED IT: R
For bizarre violence and sexual images, nudity and language.
CAST AS ROLE MODELS:
  • JENNIFER LOPEZ plays a psychotherapist who's been traveling into the mind of a young comatose boy, hoping to connect with him in his state of consciousness. Enlisted to do the same with a serial killer in hopes of discovering the location of his latest victim, she shows courage, compassion, and occasional foolhardiness while doing so. She also briefly cusses.
  • VINCE VAUGHN plays an FBI agent hot on the trail of that serial killer. He uses strong profanity, smokes and eventually joins Catherine in her cerebral rescue mission.
  • VINCENT D'ONOFRIO plays a serial murderer who abducts and does other bad things to young women before and after drowning them in his hidden, homemade cell.
  • MARIANNE JEAN-BAPTISTE plays Catherine's colleague who's concerned about Catherine and briefly cusses.
  • JAKE WEBER plays Peter's FBI agent partner.
  • DYLAN BAKER plays another researcher and colleague of Catherine's.
  • TARA SUBKOFF plays the killer's latest victim who uses strong profanity while under duress and locked away in his water-filled chamber.
  • JAKE THOMAS plays the young and still innocent version of Carl who resides inside the killer's head and constantly relives his experiences with his abusive father.
  • CAST, CREW, & TECHNICAL INFO

    HOW OTHERS RATED THIS MOVIE


    Curious if this title is entertaining, any good, and/or has any artistic merit?
    Then read OUR TAKE of this film.


    (Note: The "Our Take" review of this title examines the film's artistic merits and does not take into account any of the possibly objectionable material listed below).


    OUR WORD TO PARENTS:
    The following is a brief summary of the content found in this R-rated suspense/thriller. The film deals with the actions of a serial killer and then a trip into his warped and nightmarish mind. As such, it contains various scenes and bizarre imagery that might be unsettling, suspenseful or even frightening to some viewers. Violence is consequently rated as extreme due to several graphic and extremely bloody encounters, as well as seeing the results (dead bodies) of the killer's handiwork.

    Profanity is rated as extreme due to more than 20 uses of the "f' word, while other expletives and colorful phrases also occur. Various instances of nudity are present (mostly of dead bodies), while the killer apparently masturbates near them. Other bizarre sexual imagery is also present. Several dead bodies are seen, as is other nightmarishly gory and bloody imagery. The killer obviously has extreme bad attitudes toward others and we see instances of child abuse from his past.

    Meanwhile one character smokes several times and another appears to smoke a joint. Due to the graphic and bizarre nature of much of the material contained within the film, we suggest that you take a closer look at our detailed content listings should you still be concerned about the film's appropriateness for yourself or anyone else in your home who may want to see it.


    ALCOHOL OR DRUG USE
  • Catherine smokes what looks like a joint.
  • We see some empty beer bottles next to Peter as he gets ready in the morning.
  • BLOOD/GORE
  • We a dead woman's nude body (but other than being dead it's not bloody or gory).
  • We see the skin on Carl's back being pulled up and stretched as he's lifted off the ground by a series of chains attached to rings pierced through his skin.
  • We see a dead body wrapped in plastic with bugs on the face. Once the plastic is opened, we see the face and neck of the dead woman whose skin is discolored and apparently beginning to decompose. We see this body again in a later scene on an autopsy table and see some bruises and what look like cuts on it.
  • In the background of a shot we see various, small photos of previous murder victims' bodies (but nothing that's apparently horribly graphic).
  • We see another site of those rings in the back of Carl's arms/back. Later, we see red, stitched-up incisions where those rings were (after they're removed).
  • After entering Carl's mind, Catherine sees various drops of blood splashing in water and landing on other objects. She then sees a dog shaking/twisting its body in slow motion, apparently shaking blood off its coat, while we also see blood washing out of a tub.
  • In that same dream state, Catherine sees a series of steel blades drop down and perfectly dissect a living horse into separate, but still living/functioning pieces (she sees the fluids moving, etc. against the glass that now encloses each of the separated sections).
  • We see a dead woman lying in a bathtub full of blood (there's blood on her arms and on the tub's bloody rim as well).
  • We see some weird scars/cuts on a dead woman's body.
  • It looks like some blood comes out when Carl puts a tight-fitting collar around Catherine's neck.
  • A version of Carl puts a bag over Peter's head as he tries to struggle to get free. Carl then takes a pair of scissors and cuts into Peter's stomach. He then places his hand inside that bloody incision and pulls out a bloody string of his intestine. He then ties that string to a bar above his tied down body and then starts spinning the bar, pulling out more of Peter's intestines as he goes (with Carl's hands also being bloody).
  • Catherine stabs Carl clear through his body with a sharp probe of some sort (with blood on both ends of the insertion point).
  • Catherine sees blood on her hand and then on the back of young Carl's shirt.
  • A person shoots another person repeatedly with a crossbow to impale them to the floor (during which they kick them in the face). They then lift up a bar attached to that person's nipples, pulling those nipples and connected skin up until both rip away from the body. They then take a sword, drive it into the person's chest and then rotate it around inside that wound (resulting in a very bloody scene, especially when the victim spits up blood from their mouth). We then see the victim's head and the floor beneath it being very bloody. During this, we see another person with similar, bloody wounds.
  • Peter has some bloody knuckles.
  • DISRESPECTFUL/BAD ATTITUDE
  • Carl obviously has both for abducting, torturing and then killing many innocent women.
  • We see that Carl's father was abusive (physically and verbally/mentally) to him when he was a child. He calls him a "faggot" for playing with dolls and then beats him with a spoon, belt and a hot iron (used for pressing clothes).
  • FRIGHTENING SCENES
  • Scenes listed under "Violence" and "Blood/Gore" may also be unsettling, suspenseful or frightening to some viewers.
  • The thought and sight of Carl's preoccupation with abducting, torturing and then killing women (by holding and then eventually drowning them in a water-filled tank) may be rather disturbing to viewers.
  • During a dream set in a desert, a young boy's face suddenly turns monstrous for just a moment.
  • The body of a woman floating in a water-filled tank suddenly convulses.
  • A monstrous looking boy suddenly pops up from a hole in a large, fallen tree.
  • We see a video feed showing a woman panicking in a tank that's filling with water. We see this same scene (or a similar one) several times later in the film.
  • A woman cautiously makes her way out to her car located in a parking garage. She then begins to back up, stops when she thinks she hits a dog, and gets out, only to have Carl grab and abduct her (we briefly see a partially obscured view of him struggling with her).
  • Catherine's bizarre trip into Carl's mind (filled with unusual and bizarre imagery) may be unsettling/disturbing to some viewers (including plenty of bloody images, shots of what look like partially rotted women dressed up like dolls and manipulated by crude mechanical devises, a menacing-looking Carl who approaches Catherine, etc.).
  • Catherine reenters Carl's mind only to find herself trapped in a small glass box. Once she gets out, she then falls for quite some distance (but then ends up floating and is okay).
  • We see that Carl's father was abusive (physically and mentally) to him when he was a child. As such, we see him verbally accosting the boy, then taking his belt to him (we see the action but don't see the impact) and then taking a hot iron (used for ironing clothes) to him (we only hear the boy screaming from that -- although we later see the scar on his adult body).
  • We see a dead woman lying in a bathtub full of blood.
  • In a devilish form, Carl pins Catherine to the floor in one of her trips into his mind.
  • A version of Carl puts a bag over Peter's head as he tries to struggle to get free. Carl then takes a pair of scissors and cuts into Peter's stomach. He then places his hand inside that bloody incision and pulls out a bloody string of his intestine. He then ties that string to a bar above his tied down body and then starts spinning the bar, pulling out more of Peter's intestines as he goes.
  • The ending sequence where Catherine confronts Carl and Peter tries to save the intended victim before she drowns in her water-filled tank may be disturbing, suspenseful or frightening to some viewers.
  • GUNS/WEAPONS
  • Handguns: Worn by the FBI agents and used by Peter to shoot into the side of a water-filled tank.
  • Assault weapons: Carried by FBI/SWAT members.
  • Sharp object/Crossbow/Sword: Used to stab various versions of the same character.
  • IMITATIVE BEHAVIOR
  • Phrases: "You little f*cking liar," "Let me the f*ck out," "You sick f*ck," "F*ck you," "What the f*ck?" "What the f*ck happened?" "Pretty f*cking strange," "Pain in the ass," "What the hell?" "Where the hell have you been?" "Shut up," "You little faggot," "Bitch" and "Whore."
  • Although probably not very likely, there's always the possibility that the film could inspire troubled kids to think about abducting/killing women, etc.
  • JUMP SCENES
  • The body of a woman floating in a water-filled tank suddenly convulses.
  • A monstrous looking boy suddenly pops up from a hole in a large, fallen tree.
  • Someone suddenly grabs Catherine.
  • MUSIC (SCARY/TENSE)
  • An extreme amount of ominous and suspenseful music plays during the film.
  • MUSIC (INAPPROPRIATE)
  • None.
  • PROFANITY
  • At least 22 "f" words (1 used with "mother"), 3 "s" words, 3 asses, 2 hells, 1 damn, 1 S.O.B., 2 uses each of "G-damn," "Jesus Christ" and "Oh my God," and 1 use each of "Christ," "For Christ's sakes," "For God's sakes," "God," "Jesus" and "Oh Jesus" as exclamations.
  • SEX/NUDITY
  • Catherine shows some cleavage in a low-cut outfit she wears.
  • During the mind transference process, Catherine and others wear striated, form fitting outfits, with hers clearly accentuating her bosom.
  • Carl may be masturbating while watching one of his victims floating in his water-filled tank (since he runs across the room with his hands at his crotch when she suddenly flinches/convulses).
  • We see Catherine sitting and then standing in her high-cut underwear (while wearing a blouse) that shows the upper part of her thigh/part of her bare butt.
  • We see a dead woman's bare breasts as she's raised out of some sort of whitish liquid (which looks like milk) and then rinsed off with water (where we see her entire nude body, but only from an angle behind and slightly above her head as she lies on a table - thus, there's no view of her crotch area).
  • While hanging above his latest victim, Carl apparently masturbates to a climax (we see a non-graphic view of him, but hear what sound like climaxing sounds).
  • There's brief talk about a semen match between the victims.
  • We see a dead woman's bare breasts.
  • The FBI agents find Carl lying nude on the floor, but we don't see any explicit nudity.
  • The FBI agents find all sorts of nude dolls and other female figures in Carl's basement.
  • A classic art sculpture shows a female figure with bare breasts.
  • During one of Catherine's trips into Carl's mind, we see a topless, muscle-bound woman in a small bikini/thong bottom.
  • During another such trip, we see Carl's father in his jockey underwear, while his mother (or some other adult woman) sits with her robe partially open (allowing us to see part of her bare breasts). His father then spreads that woman's legs and says something to Carl (as a boy) about that (but we don't see anything explicit).
  • We see a dead woman's bare breasts as she lies in a bathtub full of blood.
  • In a dream state, Peter sees Catherine in a weird, pseudo S&M outfit (with an odd mask, neck collar and her chained to a bed). He comes over and she moves sensuously toward him, and they then kiss, but they're interrupted before anything else happens.
  • We see some small black and white photos from a distance that show male frontal and rear nudity (not in any great detail).
  • SMOKING
  • Peter smokes around five times (with one scene suggesting he's had many by the number of butts in an ashtray), while Carl smokes a few times in one sequence.
  • TENSE FAMILY SCENES
  • Some parents worry about their boy who's been in a coma for eighteen months.
  • The latest victim's mother worries about her and states that she just recently lost her husband (the victim's father) to cancer.
  • TOPICS TO TALK ABOUT
  • What really goes on inside the minds of psychopaths and how much of a role childhood incidents play in shaping their psyches.
  • VIOLENCE
  • We learn that Carl has killed many women before the story begins.
  • The FBI breaks down the doors in Carl's house as they raid it.
  • In a dream state, Catherine sees a series of steel blades drop down and perfectly dissect a living horse into separate, but still living/functioning pieces (she sees the fluids moving, etc. against the glass that now encloses each of the separated sections).
  • Later, a large, muscle-bound woman slams Catherine into a wall.
  • In a dream world/flashback, Carl's father hits him (as a boy) on the head with a spoon and then throws a plate against the wall. He then takes his belt to him (we see the action but don't see the impact) and then does the same with a hot iron (used for ironing clothes), but we only hear the boy screaming from that (although we later see the scar on his adult body).
  • We see Carl sitting next to a dead woman lying in a bathtub full of blood- indicating that Carl recently killed her.
  • Carl tells Catherine that his father took him home after his baptism and broke three of his ribs and fractured his jaw.
  • A version of Carl puts a bag over Peter's head as he tries to struggle to get free. Carl then takes a pair of scissors and cuts into Peter's stomach. He then places his hand inside that bloody incision and pulls out a bloody string of his intestine. He then ties that string to a bar above his tied down body and then starts spinning the bar, pulling out more of Peter's intestines as he goes.
  • Catherine stabs Carl clear through his body with a sharp probe of some sort (with blood on both ends of the insertion point).
  • A person shoots another person repeatedly with a crossbow to impale them to the floor (during which they kick them in the face). They then lift up a bar attached to that person's nipples, pulling those nipples and connected skin up until both rip away from the body. That person then punches the other several times and then takes a sword, drives it into the person's chest and then rotates it around inside that wound (resulting in a very bloody scene, especially when the victim spits up blood from their mouth). We then see the victim's head and the floor beneath it being very bloody.
  • Peter shoots a gun into a tank and then smashes the side of it with a metal pipe.
  • A person drowns another person (by lowering them into some water).



  • Reviewed August 15, 2000 / Posted August 18, 2000

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