Hey gang, Valkor here. It's a fresh new month and here at TOV we're gonna do a bit of spring cleaning, directing the majority of my attention at MediaView. This won't be another 30 films in 30 days or 15 days of film, I simply want to clear a way for a fresh new batch of incoming films. So to kicks things let's take a look at Cell Count, directed by Todd E. Freeman. Some mild spoilers head.
Cell Count takes a disturbing look into the practice of an experimental surgery that's supposed to be life saving to those who are suffering from a life threatening disease; however it turns out to be anything but that. Yes "the cure" does actually dispel from the body the disease but it comes at the cost of one possibly losing their own life in the process. The film mainly settles on Russell (Robert McKeehan), whose wife Sadie (Haley Talbot) is in the final stages of the disease. But in order to save her from suffering the painful bout she'll eventually go through, Dr. Victor Brandt (Christopher Toyne) suggest she takes part in an experimental process that will most certainly cure her of the disease, plus the foundation of which it is a part, will cover any past cost of the wife's hospital stay. On top of it all, Russell can join his wife as the Dr. is looking for healthy participants as well to take part in the study.
Skip ahead three weeks later, Russell awakens to find not only is his wife alive and looking better than ever, but they're not alone in what appears to be a sterilized prison-like facility. Mixed in with them are six others – William (Eric Martin Reid), Bill (John Breen), Mary (Adrienne Vogel), Mason (Sean McGrath), and two prison inmates, who are locked in separate quarters, Abraham (Ted Rooney) and Timothy aka "Tiny Tim" (Judd Eustice). Other than the inmates, everyone else can walk around into most areas of the facility as freely as they choose, which leads to the discovery of "kid", a little dog also implanted with the cure, which Billy has taken a shine to. Everything seems OK at first, until people start exhibiting symptoms of fevers, large bruising, and vomiting. The participants try to work out exactly what's going on, getting no real answers from Dr. Brandt, but eventually they'll discover that this "cure' is way deadlier than the actual disease that plagues them.
Daniel Baldwin makes a cameo appearance as the bus driver who will take the participants away to an "extraction point", where the cure will be removed from their bodies. This opens things up to a much broader scenario as the group supposedly will be in for the fight of their lives.
Cell Count reminds me of such films as Exam or even James Cameron's Alien as the entire film, for the most part, is contained into one area - in this case, it's the medical facility. It's tight, it's unnerving, and the creep levels are on high. To top it off you get that feeling of the unknown as you're never really sure what's going on and you have to wait until the events play out. It really put me on edge and I'm grateful for that experience as that's a rare occurrence for me. Actually, not knowing what's going on ups the WTF factor tenfold. And when the reveal finally presents itself, you'll be shocked and awed. The story is pretty solid, though it can be all over the place at times and the pacing is a bit slow, but not boring. The acting is pretty bad ass and kudos to Robert McKeehen and Haley Talbot for playing the perfect onscreen couple; you can really feel the devotion they have for one another and they don't overdo it on the lovey-dovey. In the end, Cell Count... not bad. not bad at all.
I didn't care so much for the ending or what the film attempts at an ending, as it doesn't seem to know exactly how it wants to end. And when it finally does end, it falls really flat. I would have accepted the explosion ending but not the big, open ending the film eventually finishes with. Also the Danny Baldwin cameo was just "meh".
The thing that "the cure" actually manifest into. Ugh! Also an exploding dog. Poor Kid
Cell Count is running the digital circuit (iTunes, Vudu, Cinemanow, Amazon Instant Video and more) plus there's a sequel in the works for next year, which I'm curious how events will play out. Either way Cell Count is the type of film that's more fun if you don't know much going in. Believe me, I tried my best to be as vague as possible by not giving away too much detail. So, out of TOV 5 stars, I'm giving Cell Count a 3.5. Here's hoping the sequel isn't as big of a letdown as ThanksKilling 3, which was another sequel I was excited for, but severely disappointed with the end result.