Cell Count (Todd E. Freeman, 2012) Review

Cell Count Movie ReviewBy Jason Lees, MoreHorror.com

Every now and again a film comes along and reminds me why I love movies in general, and our genre in particular. It’s the surprises, those out of left field moments that if you got hit with them anywhere else you’d be pissed.
Here, in our little corner of the movie world, it’s those batshit crazy bits that keep us coming back time and again. If you went to the drive thru, ordered your burger, then bit into it and found out that it was filled with pudding, you’d be ready to beat the cook to death with your happy meal toy.

If you went to your lawyer to finalize your divorce, but found out that he was wearing a clown suit when you got to his office, you’d be in need of two lawyers, one for the ex and one to defend your assault charges. But in movies, when you get that beauty of a surprise, you’re not pissed, you’re not angry, you’re in luck, and if that surprise really gets you off guard, then you’re in heaven.

In CELL COUNT, we enter a world much like our own where people get sick and can’t pay their bills, but instead of running far with an epidemic plot, writer/director Todd E. Freeman reins the story in and follows six individuals who are part of an experimental control group to try and find the promised cure. They enter a prison like laboratory and find their way to a place of healing.

The beauty is that it’s a modern prison setting, cold and antiseptic, not all bars and drab. It feels as real as the other patients undergoing the treatment. The magic is that it still feels real even as those left turns start coming at you.

Not every filmic surprise works, though. Just because you don’t expect it, doesn’t make it a good thing. Several movies try to shock you but if they don’t follow any form of logic, then it’s all just flash. CELL COUNT follows its own rules and that leads you by the hand to a conclusion that just works, and you have to give the man credit for letting the film lead the way. There had to be moments when everyone involved tried to second guess that path, but I’m damned glad they didn’t.

CELL COUNT starts slow, and has a few problems getting going. Not every film modestly paced works as a slow burn, and "CELL COUNT" fights an uphill battle to get going, but somehow the characters do come alive and stand out as both living and breathing by the time the weirdness takes center stage. And when the batshit crazy comes out to play, you’ll know it. It’s not uber-nuts, but the level of cold hard logic versus WTF had me smiling from ear to ear.

CELL COUNT is equal parts prison flick and disease of the week fun, but with a nice twisted sense of humor that just dares you to analyze what the filmmakers were thinking.

And I will never pet my dog the same way again.

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