Welcome, dear readers, to Substream’s 31 Days of Halloween. While every holiday captures the hearts and minds of the Substream staff, Halloween holds an especially important place in our hearts. Now that we’ve entered the month of October, it’s time for us to share our love for this holiday with you.
Every single day in October, our collection of spooky staff writers and ghoulish guest contributors will walk you through a horror or Halloween-themed movie they adore. The goal is to both celebrate the titans and icons of the season while also introducing you to new films and scares to fill your autumn nights. Lock your doors, check under your bed, and settle in as you join Substream for our 31 Days of Halloween.
Day 23: The Cell (2000)
Some people’s most memorable J-Lo moments may be the Versace green dress from the 2000 Grammys, or perhaps her role as Selena in the biopic of the late singer. It might also be the top charting songs like “I’m Real” and “If You Had My Love.” My most memorable moment of Jennifer Lopez’s career as an actress/songstress is her role in the movie The Cell. I know you are probably thinking “Didn’t this movie get thrashed by critics?” Yes, technically, but hear me out. This serial killer/sci-fi thriller has some really dark themes and imagery that has stuck with me for almost 20 years, and isn’t that a testament to a great scary movie? Something that lingers at the back of your brain that makes you wonder if that abandoned building you are passing on your way to work is the lair of a serial killer or if walking in an empty parking garage will seal your fate as the next victim to a psychopath.
The Cell is a dark, twisted and visually stunning journey into the psyche of a sick serial killer. Jennifer Lopez plays Catherine Deane, a child psychologist who is initially hired by a wealthy family to enter the mind of their young son Edward, who has fallen into a catatonic state due to a form of schizophrenia. The family has funded a virtual reality technology system that allows Deane to explore the mind of the boy with the hopes that she can coerce him back into lucidity.
While Catherine is exploring the relatively peaceful mind of Edward, Agent Peter Novak (Vince Vaughn) closes in on the apprehension of the serial killer, Carl Stargher (Vincent D’Onofrio), however Stargher suffers from the same fate as Edward and falls into a coma moments before his capture. The police learn that Stragher not only has been kidnapping young beautiful women but also locking them into glass cells only to have the containers slowly fill with water until the they eventually drown. To make matters worse, by way of a live feed video that Stargher had set up in his home, the police find that there is a victim in an unknown location that is about to meet her untimely fate if they cannot find her location before the cell fills with water. Novak employs Catherine to enter the psyche of Stargher through his subconscious to coerce him into giving her the location of the girl but can she break through in time?
The storyline of this movie is quite different than any other thriller I’ve seen. Most thrillers’ main plot is the chase and the capture of the the killer, but this movie starts out with the killer already contained. The real plot is surviving the mind of a serial killer and we learn that in addition to the perils of the subconscious there is also another very imminent threat happening in the real world, the impending death of Stargher’s last victim while Catherine is in a race against time to save her. ‘The Cell’ manages to mesh two stories together seamlessly as the movie weaves between reality and subconscious through visual eye candy. The stunning imagery and cinematography alone are worth the price of admission on this film.