The Cell (2000)
Jennifer Lopez plays a social worker involved in a special program where she is able to enter the minds of comatose people. Meanwhile a serial killer, who captures women and hides them in a secret location for 40 days where they are slowly drowned, has been found by the FBI. Unfortunately he is in a coma and unlikely to regain consciousness, but they still need to find his secret location before his latest victim dies. So they enlist the help of J-Lo and her team...
This is an odd film to categorize. At first it plays out like a crime/serial killer movie, with some very disturbing sexual imagery, and shades of The Silence Of The Lambs (1991). But it also has a science fiction element, with characters entering other peoples' dream-like subconscious. This has a touch of Total Recall (1990) and A Nightmare On Elm Street (1984) about it.
The plot itself is interesting, if a little silly. But to be fair the main attraction here is not the storyline. It's all about the visuals - which are surreal, sumptuous, and absolutely steal the show. The photography is gorgeous, from its interesting use of colour, to some beautifully framed shots. And much of the 'dream' imagery appears to echo artists such as Salvador Dali and Pierre & Gilles. It really is quite stunning. Although at one point the image of J-Lo decked out as the Virgin Mary may have amused me more than it was meant to.
As for the horror, there are some moments of gore, which are inventive and wince-inducing, and the effects stand up well for a film that is 14 years old. Jennifer Lopez is not too bad in her role, though Vincent D'Onofrio (as the serial killer) gives a more interesting performance, and Vincent Vaughn is surprisingly good, too.
When I watched this, I had no idea what to expect. I was certainly surprised - thankfully in a good way. I'm not sure how well the movie would hold up if it didn't have such unusual and striking visuals, but it was different enough to hold my interest and keep me entertained.