Monday, 9 November 2009



Really, sequels should be actual continuations with at least some of the same characters. Aliens is a proper sequel, Mad Max 2, Friday The 13th Part 2. Sequels shouldn't be a remake of the first one with a lower budget and a B-Team cast. That's what they've done here - essentially remade the original movie without any money, no stars, ropey CG effects and without going to any more than the barest minimum of effort to get the job done. Despite the title, it's not The Cell 2; it's The Cell again.

Tessie Santiago (because they couldn't get Jennifer Lopez back, assuming they even asked) has the gift of seeing into people's minds by holding items they owned and is used by the FBI to track down serial killers. This one is known as The Cusp; his MO is to keep killing his victims over and over again and resurrecting them with CPR or cardio kits. When he's not doing that, he's keeping his victims in a chair with duct tape and a metal box on their heads, ranting at them. His latest captive happens to be the niece of the Sheriff - the Sheriff of what must be the most charmless and architecturally uninteresting town in Utah. It's as if they told the location scouts: "find me warehouses, find me train yards, find me the least exciting and distinctive industrial buildings in the state - which we're then going to shoot on DV or something so it'll look even more bland and drab". Tessie goes into the maniac's mind to find out who and where he is, but of course he's ready for her and thus begins the battle: both in their mindscapes and in the real world.

It's cheap, silly, illogical and, most crucially, it doesn't have the rich visuals of the first one. The original was directed by Tarsem Singh who does a great line in gorgeous, dreamlike imagery; this "sequel" is by Tim Iacofano, who doesn't. He works in episodic television and that's what this looks like. It's not particularly short - just shy of 90 minutes - but it stops after about 80 minutes and intercuts the end credits with lengthy sunny views of the Utah mountains and behind-the-scenes footage of how they did the car and helicopter stunts. All told, fairly poor.


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