Cell (2016) Movie Review by Darrin Gauthier

CellDirector: Tod Williams
Writers: Stephen King (based on the novel by), Stephen King (screenplay)
Stars: John Cusack, Samuel L. Jackson, Isabelle Fuhrman

Plot: When a mysterious cell phone signal causes apocalyptic chaos, an artist is determined to reunite with his young son in New England.

Running Time: 1 hour 38 minutes
Rotten Tomatoes Scores: Critics 11%     Audience  17%
Why I watched it: I had read the book, and even though it wasn’t a great Stephen King novel it had it’s moments.  The cast was good and of course it’s horror.

Random Thoughts: This had kicked around a bit, right after the novel came out there was word they were doing a movie at the time it seemed like it would be a bigger film then it ended up.  This didn’t even get a wide released pretty much just dumped on DVD and home viewing.

What I liked: The main set up works, it’s scary and freaky at the same time.  Cell phones turn people crazy, it’s a nice hook.  The cast is easily the best thing about this film.  Samuel L Jackson works a lot and he tends to play Samuel L Jackson but here he dials it back and he’s very good, he was lucky cause his character was the best in the book and Jackson handles it very well, they kept the character gay as in the book but Jackson doesn’t go over the top with it, he plays it well.  Cusack is fine here, he does what he has to do.

Isabelle Fuhrman is very good here I liked her I would keep an eye on her cause she stood her own in a genre film with two good actors.
The part of the movie that worked for me was the road trip part, having these three characters travel and meet up with the crazies, alright zombies, but also other people who weren’t infected.

That really worked, the three characters played off each other well and they become friends, it’s like they’re going through a war together.  Each actor was able to flesh out their characters and made them more than a cliche.

What I didn’t like: The budget killed this film, it looks cheap.  I’ve seen much worst made for DVD and they at least look slick or more professional.  With this story and these actors having it look this cheap is just a death blow.  In the book King had something to say about technology and the whole thing about people being turned into these things cause of their cell phones was a social comment in the film let’s be honest it’s a zombie film pure and simple.  There’s no subtext here at all they just played it at the lowest common denominator.

Also having the one character who of course has to go find their son, and risk everyone’s life to get to someone who may or may not be dead is such a cliche and here it’s handled badly, we know what’s coming. The ending is terrible, I know King isn’t great at sticking the landing, and the book isn’t great either but here cause they had no money for special effects man does the finish look bad here.  The other thing that didn’t work was they were trying to have a connection with Cusack and his work, he’s a comic book artist, honestly I have no idea what they were going for, maybe he had visions and they throw it in here a few times but it doesn’t make sense and they never come close to explaining it.

Final Thoughts: It’s not as bad as you or I heard but it’s not very good, honestly if they had some more money and maybe fleshed out the script this might have been a cool horror film instead we’re left with a cheap zombie film with a couple of good performances.

Rating: 4/10

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