Tuesday, 30 October 2012

Review - Cell Count (2012 - Dir. Todd E. Freeman)

I was expecting something different from this, especially with the Hobo With a Shotgun style poster. But it is more inspired by John Carpenter and David Cronenberg.

Sadie Carpenter (see what I mean?) is dying of a terminal illness. Her husband Russell (okay, I don't need it ramming down my throat) is obviously distraught. He is offered a way out by Dr. Brandt who is running some trials on a new procedure to cure the illness. The only downside is that Russell will have to go through the same procedure if he wants to stay with her and support her. In the complex are some other characters also trying to be cured, including some prisoners... 

The slow-burning build up is all pretty engrossing and the characters are developed enough to really care about them. Then things all go a bit pear-shaped with the arrival of a character with a butt-face. This character seems as though he comes from another film (Hobo With a Shotgun perhaps?) and breaks the carefully crafted tension. 

The biggest homage to Carpenter is in a scene where bait is used to try and solve a problem. This feels very much like the blood test scene and has a similar amount of tension. As you would expect the final shock is nowhere near as great as the Carpenter scene. This is possibly down to the editing.

A huge problem in Cell Count is that the director seems to be setting up a sequel. So lots of questions are left unanswered and the ending feels very unsatisfying. It's all a mess really, with characters reappearing on a bus for no real reason. One character who's been gut shot even gets back up and gets on the bus with no real distress. Whether this is explained in the sequel is another matter. The sequel might never get made and you're left with a disappointing experience, especially after such a good start. Surely this film should work on its own and if a sequel is made, fine. It's still entertaining enough, with a tense atmosphere, but it could have been better.

If you like this you could also try:
The Thing, Videodrome, The Brood.

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