Cell, The

Rated: R
Jennifer Lopez, Vincent D’Onofrio, Vince Vaughn

Startling visual effects, lighting, makeup and costumes make for a heart-thumping ride in this Fellini-esque sci-fi thriller starring Jennifer Lopez. Here Lopez plays Catherine Deane, a therapist working on a child psychology research project involving mind transfer.

After a highly imaginative and demented serial killer (Vincent D’Onofrio as Carl Stargher) kidnaps his latest young woman victim (who else?), Catherine is asked to enter his mind to locate the victim’s whereabouts. Carl, you see, went into a coma caused by a schizophrenic seizure just as the FBI came gunning for him. So, he’s not likely to give up that information himself. In 40 hours, the girl is doomed to drown in a huge tank that Carl has built underground at an abandoned location.

Catherine enters his world and we find that his mind is made up of images from a madman’s canvas replete with costumed characters from a bizarre fantasy world akin to a Hironymous Bosch painting with scores of sado-masochistic symbolism and visions of light and dark. It fills the eyes. You won’t be bored and the story keeps your interest level high. But don’t dig too deep and don’t look for logic. In that, you’ll find disappointment.

She’s supported by FBI agents Peter Novak (Vince Vaughn) and Gordon Ramsey (Jake Weber).

Carl is simply too weird and Lopez’ Catherine has to go along for the ride in his fantasy of the mind, so much so that she quickly loses sight of her goal – find the missing girl.

Lopez does an admirable job but the only character that comes across as a real person with some down-to earth dimension is Vince Vaughn’s. Everything is fantasy art, well done, I must say but it’s all flash and fireworks – kind of like attending a psychedelic concert.

Lotta says there’s enough strange imagery here to fill every movie from now until Christmas. But beware – the images are frightening and particularly horrific – Carl is a serial killer afterall. R-rated for extreme grotesque violence and language. Bottom line: overly weird but interesting. It’s a trip!