Saw X had a lot of uncomfortable scenes: self-lobotomies, child “water”-boarding, and Jigsaw actually… happy. And if it’s disturbing, squint-inducing cinema that you’re looking for more of, let me take you back to the turn of the millennium. Jennifer Lopez was maybe at the height of her popularity, Vince Vaughn hadn’t yet found his comedic roles, and Vincent D’Onofrio had just come off one of his more well-known turn as a… bug. In the year 2000, from the directorial mind of Tarsem Singh, these forces came together to create the bizarre serial killer film, The Cell.
This may not have the plethora of deadly traps that the Saw films have. No scammers getting their comeuppance. No cancer subplots. But what The Cell has in spades is a serial killer, tremendously played by D’Onofrio, becoming downright unsettling, maybe even demonic. Also, what he does while in the presence of dead bodies–you haven’t seen anything like it, I promise.
And much like with the chase for Jigsaw throughout the Saw franchise, we also have a collection of detectives and their assistants sifting through clues and cryptic messages to find their killer. The big difference, however, is that instead of searching through decrepit warehouses, these detectives are searching through the psyche of the killer himself. Through weird and honestly convoluted means, Lopez travels into the mind of a serial killer. As you can probably guess, weird, psychotic, demented shenanigans ensue. And at times, it is wondrous to behold.
If you’re looking for another unique take on the serial killer genre, The Cell is a movie you should not overlook.