'The Cell'

I miss MTV.

Rather, I miss the music videos that were once a staple of the channel. I miss looking forward to “World Premieres.” Heck, I even miss Carson Daly.

Don’t get me wrong; I love the cultural train wreck of shows like “Teen Moms,” but it’s just not the same as the visual element that helped bring songs to life – even lame songs by Creed or Limp Bizkit, confessing how they “did it all for the nookie.”   

Sure, Vevo is cool for a trip down memory lane, but it’s too easy to cue up your favorite Britney Spears song and watch it on a loop.

I miss spending hours in frustration waiting for my favorite Ratt video. I miss Headbanger’s Ball. I even miss Adam Curry’s majestic, hair-sprayed coif. Most of all, I miss the days of buzz-worthy, high-concept, nonsensical, see-we’re-not-just-dumb-rock-stars music videos (I’m talking to you Guns ‘N Roses) that even after 19 re-watches still left you going, “What in the heck was that?”

This rant was brought to you courtesy of “The Cell,” a movie that felt like a mash-up of an episode of “Law & Order” and a Nine Inch Nails video. It was a movie every bit as psychotic and schizophrenic as its villain, played by the ever-twitchy and menacing Vincent D’Onofrio.

On the one hand, it’s a cops vs. bad guy procedural, with Vince Vaughn as the haggard and sad-eyed detective trying to track down a killer of women. When D’Onofrio is finally caught, he has a seizure and falls into a coma from which he is unlikely to emerge. Sounds like an ending rather than a beginning, but wait … there’s one victim unaccounted for.

Enter Jennifer Lopez, AKA J. Lo, AKA Jenny from the Block, as some sort of psychiatrist who enters the consciousness of coma victims in hope of bringing them into the light. When she slips into the twisted mind of D’Onofrio’s serial killer, she’s confronted with scenes straight out of a Marilyn Manson fever dream.

That’s not hyperbole. These dream sequences, for lack of a better term, are so incredibly bizarre that it feels like the director came up with the ideas for these disjointed images and then wrote a script around them. “Ya know what would be freaky … dissecting a live horse … ooooh, or we dress J. Lo like the Virgin Mary. It’ll be awesome.”

Only it’s not. I mean, I get that dreams are wonky and nonlinear and – if you’re a Freudian – interpreted and deconstructed, but in the context and narrative of a film, there needs to be something that holds the general concept together. Otherwise, it’s just a series of creepy vignettes.  

“The Cell” offers an interesting idea that failed miserably in the execution. It’s style over substance. It’s Creed without the guitar solo.

Brett Buckner is watching a horror movie every night in October for #StarHorrorfest. Follow along on Twitter @bbuckner32 or AnnistonStar.com/Horrorfest.

 

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