Cell (2016)

Cell is a new digital steaming movie (probably in limited theatrical release) based on a mostly forgotten Stephen King novel from 2006. This adaptation stars John Cusack and Samuel L. Jackson which is a decent cast for what amounts to a direct-to-video release.
 
Cell is a “technology is eeeeevil!” movie where people talking on cell phones are suddenly sent a signal that turns them into raging psychopaths…. a zombie by any other name is still a zombie – so this is a (fast) zombie movie. In a surprise twist on the novel, these cell phone users are actually turned into overacting tic-filled movie extras.
 
As you may gather from that last paragraph, I wasn’t too fond of this movie. The opening 30 minutes where everything goes to pot is really bad. Spastic camera work, even more spastic zombie acting, an obvious low budget, rushed, and there seem to be scenes or dialog missing. And the audio is terrible – either the movie has a screwed up sound mix where half the dialog is too quiet for the surrounding nose (or has a weird echo) OR the movie has pretensions to art house cinema in some misbegotten attempt at mumblecore.
 
But a funny and rare thing happened as the movie went on… it got a lot better. After that first 30 minutes (which was a poor man’s World War Z opening or The Last of Us video game) the movie turns into a decent enough survival movie. It’s never great but it gets progressively better until it reaches an end which, while not perfect, is better than I would have expected and made me go… “Huh.” a bunch of times. Not confused “huh” but a thoughtful “huh”.
 
So not a high recommendation. It’s a good cast (including a random Stacey Keach) doing their best (assuming they weren’t intentionally mumbling) in a film that grows on you. A decent and surprising horror flick.
 
Now, just throw away your cell phone. Or, hey, wait for the battery to die… what? these batteries don’t die? The cell towers never lose power? What kind of apocalypse is this?
Score: 77

Comments are closed.