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Catherine Deane (Jennifer Lopez) is a psychologist who has been experimenting with radical techniques involving synaptic transfer. With the use of cyber-technology she is able to enter another person’s subconscious. FBI Agent Peter Novak (Vince Vaughn) believes this technique may be the only hope of rescuing the last victim (believed to be still alive) of comatose serial killer Carl Stargher (Vincent D’Onofrio). She agrees to enter Stargher's subconscious and attempt to discover the location of a hidden cell in which his latest victim will drown in 40 hours time. But to enter Stargher’s subconscious world is to literally step into a nightmare.

"What would you find in the mind of a serial killer? That’s the premise of The Cell, and to highlight the complexities of the human brain, particularly that of a serial killer, the film delivers bizarre and sometimes chilling imagery. While the concept is intriguing, the film lacks the tension needed to sustain it for its running time. (The director’s cut is slightly longer still.)

On this DVD, The Cell is presented in the original 2.35:1 aspect ratio and is 16:9 enhanced. The image is at times stunning, the colours gloriously reproduced. Some minor grain is visible throughout the transfer but never amounts to a problem; it comes from film after all. The Dolby Digital 5.1 audio track is expansive and dynamic with, at times, great use of the rear channels. The only quibble is that the overall level of the soundtrack is a little low so you may need to crank the volume up a smidgen.

A great deal of information about the production is covered in director Tarsem Singh’s commentary - partly because he talks at such a fast pace. His rather strong Indian accent does sometimes require a little processing time. The behind-the-scenes material is broken up into two sections. The first section consists solely of a 12-minute Making Of featurette that contains various interviews with the cast and crew as well behind-the-scenes footage. The second section of material consists of six mini featurettes which specifically focus on particular visual effects sequences. All six utilise the multi-angle feature allowing the viewer to toggle between an interview, on-set footage and storyboard relevant to the chosen visual effects sequence. Nice try but the multi-angle feature really serves little purpose, equating to little more than a gimmick in this instance. On top of all this there are also eight deleted/extended scenes as well as an isolated score presented in Dolby Digital 5.1.

The Cell is a reasonable sci-fi thriller with a fair collection of extras and is worth at least a hire."
Ben Hooft

Published May 24, 2001

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Read our INTERVIEW with Jennifer Lopez


THE CELL (Director’s Cut) (R18+)

CAST: Jennifer Lopez, Vince Vaughn, Vincent D’Onofrio
DIRECTOR: Tarsem Singh
RUNNING TIME: 105 minutes
DVD DISTRIBUTOR: Roadshow Home Entertainment
DVD RELEASE: March 28, 2001

Director Commentary; Isolated Score; Deleted Scenes with Optional Director Commentary; Behind the Scenes; Theatrical Trailers; Interactives: Empathy Test, Brain Map; Visual Effects Vignettes (featuring multi-angle); Filmographies; Widescreen; Dolby Digital 5.1; Dolby 2.0; Scene Selection; Subtitles for the Hearing Impaired.

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