Direct-to-DVD sequels to films usually aren’t that great. In fact they usually suck, which is why they are direct-to-DVD. The Cell 2 is a unique film in that while it doesn’t live up to the visual style and complexity of the first film, it does have serious potential as something else: a TV series.
What? A TV series? Yes. That’s exactly what this movie feels like throughout; like an extended pilot for a TV series on USA Network or FOX. This isn’t a bad thing. It may be a good idea that would work in the long run.
The film follows former FBI agent Maya Casteneda (Tessie Santiago) as she joins forces with a small town sheriff (Chris Bruno) to track down the mysterious serial killer known as The Cusp (Frank Whaley). Maya has a unique relationship with The Cusp in that she is the only victim to have survived and escaped his torturous ways. The Cusp kills his victims and brings them back to life six times before finally disposing of them. In this way, the victims are begging to be killed.
As the clock ticks down to find The Cusp’s latest victim, Maya and the sheriff must fight the odds and stop this madman by any means necessary. Even if it means putting Maya’s mental and psychological health in jeopardy.
Maya has a unique psychic ability to jump into the memories of another’s mind when holding an object that person has been in contact with. This ability helps and hinders the hunt for The Cusp.
The movie has its moments that are reminiscent of Saw, Hostel, Captivity, and even Silence of the Lambs (particularly Buffalo Bill). At the same time, the acting, action, and effects are very much like a TV series. This almost could be a sister series to Chris Carter’s Millennium (1996).
I can see it now: each week Maya and the small town sheriff work in tandem with the Feds and CIA to track down serial killers, psychopaths, and other dregs of society with the help of Maya’s special ability. We get to see flashbacks and memories of the victim, and get insight into the psycho killer’s mind. All the while, Maya’s past influences how she approaches and solves crimes.
And that’s what this movie felt like and has the potential to become. If this were a TV series, I would definitely tune in.
The one special feature on the DVD is a 30 minute making of documentary, which is pretty interesting, and contains interviews with cast and crew.
While not as dark and edgy as the original starring Jennifer Lopez (Monster-in-Law) and Vincent D’Onofrio (Law and Order: Criminal Intent), The Cell 2 is enjoyable as a stand-alone film. And, if you approach it as a backdoor pilot for a TV series, it’s even more of a joy to watch!