Jennifer Lopez’s serial killer virtual reality movie The Cell is streaming for free on Hoopla.
By Nathan Kamal | Posted
Jennifer Lopez had appeared in a number of films before her breakout role as doomed Tejano star Selena Quintanilla Pérez in 1997 Selenaincluding the Wesley Snipes-Woody Harrelson action movie money train and the strange comedy of Robin Williams Jack. But as she rose to stardom in a dramatic biopic and would find her life niche in romantic comedies a few years later, Jennifer Lopez starred in her best and weirdest film between the two: the 2000s. . The cellwhich is streamed for free through the Hoopla service.
The cell stars Jennifer Lopez as Dr. Catherine Deane, a child psychologist who conducts virtual reality experiments that involve futuristic suits and vivid dreamscapes in the minds of comatose patients. However, Jennifer Lopez and her team (Dylan Baker and Marianne Jean-Baptiste) are enlisted by FBI agent Peter Novak (Vince Vaughn) to use their technology to investigate the mind of a serial killer (Vincent D’Onofrio), who fell into a coma with a victim still imprisoned in a glass cell. Unfortunately, the killer’s modus operandi is to drown his victims in bleach via a timer, so time is always running out.
Jennifer Lopez is recruited against her better judgment to enter the mind of Vincent D’Onofrio in an attempt to find information on the whereabouts of his latest victim (Tara Subkoff), despite knowing that in the mindscape , one can lose a sense of what is real and be trapped in a psychiatric prison or “cell,” if you will. On paper, The cell is a fairly standard representative of the ever-popular serial killer genre; it combines body horror and the vague religious allusions of Se7fr with Thesilenceofthelambs‘ vanity to probe the mind of a killer to save a trapped woman. In that, it’s a fairly classic thing.
Except the strange power of The cell is not in the plot. This particular Jennifer Lopez thriller is jaw-dropping, full of dreamlike, often wordless sequences that are as disturbing as they are beautiful. Director Tarsem Singh (in his early years as a director after establishing a reputation in music videos and commercials) shoots images from classical architecture, BDSM, Catholicism and contemporary artists like Damien Hirst, Francis bacon and Extraterrestrialby HR Giger. While the “real” world in which Jennifer Lopez and Vince Vaughn attempt to save a woman’s life is flat and washed-out, the dream world inside Vincent D’Onofrio is both bright and terrible.
Once Jennifer Lopez enters the mind of the comatose serial killer, the film takes the first of several turns. Lopez encounters the first of several dream avatars of schizophrenic Vincent D’Onofrio in the form of a little boy (Jake Thomas) in a disturbing sequence in which a horse is vivisected between falling glass walls. She follows the child through her memories of horrific abuse by her father and is then discovered by a demonic representation of the killer, who dominates the mindscape so completely that he essentially creates a new reality in her mind.
Eventually, Jennifer Lopez is swept up in the torment of Vincent D’Onfrio’s psyche, forcing Vince Vaughn to come save her. He himself is then captured and tortured, then freed by Jennifer Lopez when she follows her own traumatic memory back to reality. But where The cell What really sets it apart from most serial killer thrillers is how it begins to deal with the killer himself.
Contrary to Thesilenceofthelambsin which Jodie Foster plays an FBI agent, or Se7fr, in which Brad Pitt and Morgan Freeman are police detectives, Jennifer Lopez is a doctor. Once inside Vincent D’Onofrio’s mind, she comes to understand and sympathize with what turned the child she sees in his mind into the demon that follows him everywhere. Neither the film nor the character of Jennifer Lopez forgives or excuses the monster he has become, but unlike most films of this type, he understands that he is a completely tormented human who yearns to be free from his own prison of pain.
The following year after The cellJennifer Lopez starred in The wedding planner with Matthew McConaughey, then Made in Manhattan with Ralph Fiennes the year after. Although she has appeared in many types of movies since then, Jennifer Lopez has never appeared in such a weird or experimental film since then. However, that might be what makes it the best thing she’s done on film.