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The Cell (2000)

R  |   |  Horror, Sci-Fi, Thriller  |  18 August 2000 (USA)
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Ratings: 6.3/10 from 76,903 users   Metascore: 40/100
Reviews: 673 user | 221 critic | 32 from Metacritic.com

An FBI agent persuades a social worker, who is adept with a new experimental technology, to enter the mind of a comatose serial killer in order to learn where he has hidden his latest kidnap victim.


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Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 6 wins & 23 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Henry West
Dr. Barry Cooperman
Lucien Baines
Gordon Ramsey
Julia Hickson
Mrs. Hickson


Catharine Deane is a psychotherapist who is part of a revolutionary new treatment which allows her mind to literally enter the mind of her patients. Her experience in this method takes an unexpected turn when an FBI agent comes to ask for a desperate favour. They had just tracked down a notorious serial killer, Carl Stargher, whose MO is to abduct women one at a time and place them in a secret area where they are kept for about 40 hours until they are slowly drowned. Unfortunately, the killer has fallen into an irreversible coma which means he cannot confess where he has taken his latest victim before she dies. Now, Catherine Deane must race against time to explore the twisted mind of the killer to get the information she needs, but Stargher's damaged personality poses dangers that threaten to overwhelm her. Written by Kenneth Chisholm <kchishol@home.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


enter the mind of a killer See more »

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for bizarre violence and sexual images, nudity and language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:



Official Sites:




Release Date:

18 August 2000 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Ćelija  »

Box Office


$33,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$17,515,050 (USA) (18 August 2000)


ESP 652,426,863 (Spain) (29 June 2001)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


| (director's cut)

Sound Mix:

| |


Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


The scene when Catherine Deane is chasing Carl through a stone hallway, right before she enters the room with the horse, is based on a painting by Swiss surrealist H.R. Giger called "Schacht". See more »


Though "Whalen's Infraction," a brain disorder which is said to have accelerated Stargher's schizophrenia was made up for the movie, an infraction actually refers to an incomplete bone fraction and affects bony tissues, not the brain. Cerebral infarction ("infarct" instead of "infract"), or tissue death due to lack of blood flow, does occur in the brain, but this is said to cause schizophrenia-like symptoms and would not cause or affect schizophrenia itself. See more »


Miriam: Did we go sailing?
Catharine Deane: Almost! Mocky-Lock showed up.
Miriam: [saying a nursery rhyme] Mocky-Lock is the boogeyman, Mocky-Lock wants me where I am!
Catharine Deane: Mocky-Lock is a pain in the ass.
See more »


References Myst (1993) See more »


Written by Bachir Attar, Talvin Singh and Brad Somatik
Performed by Master Musicians of Jajouka featuring Bachir Attar
Courtesy of Point Music, Decca Music Group
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

Every once in a while a film comes along that stands apart from all others made in years. The Matrix did it last year, and The Cell has done it in 2000.
8 September 2000 | by (Luoyang, China) – See all my reviews

The last film that provided a vivid and disturbing look at what insanity is probably like was In Dreams. In that movie, you didn't see insanity, you were THERE. Now The Cell comes along with an updated and much more disturbing portrayal of the inside of the mind of a psychotic killer. The opening scene takes you into the seemingly innocent mind of a comatose little boy, and the things that Catherine Deane (Jennifer Lopez) sees are first fascinating and then terrifying. The things that she later sees in the mind of Vincent Stargher (Vincent D'Onofrio) are amazingly imaginative and fascinating, most of this stuff has never been seen in film before.

The story of The Cell is not exactly something that is really groundbreaking. In fact, it is basically the same as the story in The Silence of the Lambs. You have a killer in custody and these people have to enter his mind to find a female victim who is currently in danger of losing her life. The only real difference between the foundation of the plots is that in The Silence of the Lambs, you have to enter the mind of a killer to find a different killer as well as his current victim, while in The Cell, you have to enter the mind of a killer to find his own victim. However, despite the unfortunately weak story, The Cell completely revolutionizes the genre of the psychological thriller. None that have ever been made even come close to it.

Also, the film had good direction and was extremely well acted. Vince Vaughn delivers another of his characteristically excellent performances (he was even good as Norman Bates in the pathetic 1998 re-make of Psycho), and even Jennifer Lopez puts forth the second good effort of her career (the other being the great Out of Sight). Nothing can be said of the cinematography in The Cell to give it sufficient credit, it was imaginative and fascinatingly done and is unparalleled by anything ever seen in cinematic history. The Cell is an incredibly well-made film, and it deserves to be recognized.

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