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Cell 2, The (2009) Print E-mail
Thursday, 18 June 2009
ImageThere seem to be a lot of horror/thriller film remakes and direct-to-video sequels coming out lately.  Who would have ever thought of "The Cell 2?"  The original film was hardly memorable or inspiring, so I'm not sure how a sequel came about.  It would seem that if the film isn't good enough to be made into a feature, then what's the point.  Nevertheless, some filmmakers out there came up with and brought to the small screen, "The Cell 2."

The only thing I remember from the first film is Jennifer Lopez, a red suit and some weird science fiction mind experiments.  The sequel is the same thing, but without the glamour.  It feels like a cross between "The Cell" and "The Thirteenth Floor."  Maya (Tessie Santiago) occasionally works for the FBI.  She has devoted her energies to tracking down a serial killer known as The Cusp.  The Cusp kidnaps his female victims and tortures them by killing them and then bringing them back to life over and over again.  There isn't any clear motivation behind these killings, and serial killers don't kill for nothing.

Maya was one of The Cusp's victims.  He killed her six times and brought her back to life.  As an audience we sit there going, well how did she escape if he ends up killing all his victims?  The writers had to throw in an obligatory explanation that is so outright that it seems like a child came up with it.  In fact, the entire film seems as if it were dictated by a little kid.  The killer's identity is obvious from about 10 minutes into the film.  About 45 minutes into the film they start to actually show the killer so there is no mystery left.  But if Maya gets into the killer's mind and see everything then why can't she see the killer's face?  Well, once again the writers throw in a direct explanation just to clear up the blunder.

When the FBI fingers a local sheriff as the Cusp, Maya helps him to escape.  The FBI, knowing that the Cusp gives them false leads all the time insist that the sheriff is the killer even though there is not concrete evidence.  Maya and the Sheriff put together the pieces and track down the real killer.  Maya's mind trip sequences are dull and are truly representative of a direct-to-video film.

For a mystery/horror/thriller the film utterly fails.  There is no suspense.  The actors' lines all feel as if they came from a script that had nothing to offer an audience.  The events are contrived with nothing to link them together.  We just jump from one revelation to another.  I'm not sure what to make of the psychology behind the film, but let me say this, my sister-in-law has a doctorate in criminal psychology and would tear this film apart for its assumptions and lack of accuracy about the criminal mind. With it's limited budget you can't expect much from the video quality.  It is a wishy washy transfer that is sometimes on par and sometimes not.  The image suffers from a plethora of digital noise reduction.  All the details and textures are smeared.  The blacks levels are weak, with virtually no shadow delineation.  The colors a decent, but fleshtones bounce around.  There isn't any source noise as that has been wiped out by the noise reduction.  There is plenty of edge enhancement that will drive many viewers crazy but can be overlooked once you accept it.  There are some moments in which the transfer shines, such as the scenes in Maya's office.  The artificial look to this image transfer is what is most bothersome.  However, those that want to see this film are probably not going to nitpick the quality.

The audio quality is on par with the video quality.  There is nothing technically wrong with the Dolby TrueHD 5.1 audio track.  However, it doesn't represent what the format is capable of.  The dialogue is clear and always present in the center channel.  I didn't notice much of a score for the film.  The sound effects at the beginning were good.  They were nicely panned into the rear channels.  However, after that the sound design seems to dwindle.  The car chase is very front heavy, even when the cars spin off screen.  The LFE channel is lacking.  The climatic, or anticlimactic ending isn't help with good sound either.  Frequency response is decent but doesn't utilize the full potential of the TrueHD format.  Like I said, it is technically competent but not much else.

In terms of special features, there is one.  "'The Cell 2:' Behind the Scenes" is surprisingly a 30-minute featurette.  Of course the length doesn't mean anything.  With a movie such as this you can't expect the bonus materials to be of importance.  However, the documentary is the best part of the disc.  It is far more interesting than the movie itself.  There are some funny moments in it actually.  Aside from the documentary, the disc is equipped with BD-Live functionality, which will offer further special features.  A digital copy is also included in this package.

"The Cell 2" is a direct-to-video sequel that should have remained on the shelf.  I doubt they studio will be earning back the money it took to make this film or even to release it on Blu-ray.  I wonder why the studio decided not to release the original, "The Cell" on Blu-ray simultaneously with this sequel.  The video quality is hit or miss and the audio quality is decent but doesn't offer anything extensive.  I would have to advise skipping this disc all together.

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