7.7 C
New York
Wednesday, November 25, 2020
Advertisement

Cell (TheaterByte Movie Review)

cell-2016-posterOur 21st century connectivity is powered by legions of cellphones. Stephen King’s 2006 novel Cell has now been adapted for the silver screen and presents a cautionary tale about mankind’s dependence on these devices that ushers in some unexpected and dire consequences.

The picture opens innocently enough in Boston’s Logan Airport where the suddenly successful graphic novelist Clay Riddell (John Cusack) tries to reconnectcell-still-3 with his son Johnny (Ethan Casto) and estranged wife Sharon (Clark Sarullo). All of the cellphone users around Clay (whose cellphone has conveniently died) start behaving violently, attacking each other or themselves. By sheer chance, Riddell links up on a subway with conductor Tom McCourt (Samuel L. Jackson) and begins an improbable odyssey into the future.

Clay and Tom make it back to Riddle’s apartment only to encounter a blood-soaked girl Alice Maxwell (Isabelle Fuhrmann) who has just managed to kill her cellphone-transformed “phoner” mother. We find out that an aberrant cell phone signal pulse has somehow taken over people’s minds and turned them into flocks of cell-still-2mindless “phoners” that communicate in automaton-like birdcalls. Eventually, Tom, Clay and Alice find a boarding school, the Gaiten Academy, run by Charles Ardai (Stacey Keach) and its sole unaffected student Jordan (Owen Teague). The remaining student body lies dormant on the soccer field. Realizing these creatures become vulnerable at night, Clay and Tom immolate the sleeping students in a bath of ignited kerosene but this backfires and Ardai is killed. Tom and Clay share more disturbing adventures in the dystopian world that has now become their new normal. Perhaps the end credits conclusion is less of a surprise than what I expected (and differs considerably from that of the novel) but there is a “what if” warning that might give cellphone devotees some second thoughts (if they really do think at all).

This post-apocalyptic journey into a world without protective boundaries is an unapologetic bloodbath that recalls some of author King’s earlier works like The Stand. The film’s visual style borrows liberally from George Romero’s Dawn of the Living Dead and its dénouement is a literal reprise of Don Siegel’s Invasion of the Body Snatchers.

[youtube httpss://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BCns4w3GA9A&w=640&h=360]

This sci-fi horror film relies on many of the dramatic devices to which fans of this genre have now become accustomed. Viewers never quite get the core elements that transform the cell phone systems into weapons of cell-still-1mass destruction although it is suggested that there is a malevolent creature in a red hoodie who is either the evil genius or major tool at the core of this phoner pandemic. Still, the original concept that a massive signal sent through cellphone towers can transform normal human beings into mindless maniacs has dramatic appeal. Where this film falls well short of its potential begins with its principal characters’ motivations. Clay’s relationship to his son is sketchy at best and never fleshed out. The divorced Tom elicits little if any sympathy for his current life status while the younger person roles add relatively little collateral interest. Perhaps the blame must be assigned to novelist King whose more recent tales of terror and suspense have proved to be collections of uneven works. In this particular instance, the assembling of a strong cast, particularly Cusack and Jackson, offered dramatic possibilities that were largely squandered by a lackluster script and inchoate direction. For those fans of pandemic human infestation flicks, the 1978 Invasion of the Body Snatchers gets far better presentation of this theme, lands closer to the mark, and does so with a superior cast.

Cell (TheaterByte Movie Review)
3 / 5 TheaterByte Rating
{{ reviewsOverall }} / 5 Users (0 votes)
The Genre Company/Saban FilmsStudios & Distributors
R (disturbing violent content, terror, brief sexuality and language)Rating Certificate
USACountry
EnglishLanguage
98 MinutesRun Time
1.85:1Aspect Ratio
Tod WilliamsDirector
Adam Alleca/Stephen KingWriter
10 June 2016 (internet) | 8 July 2016 (theaters)Release Date
The Film
Summary
As an earth-invasion, mind-controlling sci-fi film, Cell falls short on originality, script and direction when compared to some of its legendary predecessors.
What people say... Login to rate
Order by:

Be the first to leave a review.

User Avatar User Avatar
Verified
{{{ review.rating_title }}}
{{{review.rating_comment | nl2br}}}

This review has no replies yet.

Avatar
Show more
Show more
{{ pageNumber+1 }}

Advertisement

Related Articles

Train to Busan Presents: Peninsula (Blu-ray Review)

This is an uneven but still fun to watch sequel to the 2016 smash hit zombie/action movie lands on Blu-ray with a rollicking Atmos mix.

Chernobyl (4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Review)

The account of the 1986 Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant disaster in Ukraine, Soviet Union, and the subsequent health and political fallout is told in five gripping episodes.

2067 (Blu-ray Review)

With the world deforested and people dying from a deadly disease caused by synthetic oxygen, a quiet tunnel worker receives a message from the future and must save humanity in this uneven but watchable dystopian Aussie indie sci-fi thriller.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Stay Connected

300FansLike
0FollowersFollow
0FollowersFollow
- Advertisement -

Notice of Compliance with FEDERAL TRADE COMMISSION 16 CFR Part 255

In accordance with the Federal Trade Commission 16 CFR part 255 guidelines, this website hereby states that it receives free discs and other theatrical or home entertainment “screeners” and access to screening links from studios and/or PR firms, and is provided with consumer electronics devices on loan from hardware manufacturers and/or PR firms respectively for the purposes of evaluating the products and its content for editorial reviews. We receive no compensation from these companies for our opinions or for the writing of reviews or editorials.
Permission is sometimes granted to companies to quote our work and editorial reviews free of charge. Our website may contain affiliate marketing links, which means we may get paid commission on sales of those products or the services we write about. Our editorial content is not influenced by advertisers or affiliate partnerships. This disclosure is provided in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR § 255.5: Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.

Latest Articles

Train to Busan Presents: Peninsula (Blu-ray Review)

This is an uneven but still fun to watch sequel to the 2016 smash hit zombie/action movie lands on Blu-ray with a rollicking Atmos mix.

Chernobyl (4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Review)

The account of the 1986 Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant disaster in Ukraine, Soviet Union, and the subsequent health and political fallout is told in five gripping episodes.

2067 (Blu-ray Review)

With the world deforested and people dying from a deadly disease caused by synthetic oxygen, a quiet tunnel worker receives a message from the future and must save humanity in this uneven but watchable dystopian Aussie indie sci-fi thriller.

The Irishman (Criterion Collection) (Blu-ray Review)

Martin Scorsese's Academy Award-nominated (Best Director) late career crime world epic gets the Criterion Collection treatment it deserves.

Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai (Criterion Collection) (Blu-ray Review)

Criterion gives us a brilliant new 4K restoration on Blu-ray of Jim Jarmusch's 1999's indie classic about a loner assassin who follows the way of the samurai.
%d bloggers like this: