Synopsis:In this highly anticipated adaptation of Stephen King’s bestselling apocalyptic thriller, John Cusack (1408), Samuel L. Jackson (Django Unchained) and Isabelle Fuhrman (Orphan) star as some of the few survivors of a murderous epidemic fending off bloodthirsty predators who have been dangerously re-programmed to kill by a mysterious worldwide cell phone signal.
Review: Based on a story by Stephen King ‘Cell’ fuses both science fiction with zombie horror in a story that is very much driven by the characters.
John Cusack plays Clay Riddell. A family man who while traveling home gets caught in the middle of the outbreak of a cell phone signal that renders pretty much everyone into a mindless zombie.
While making his escape Clay meets up with Tom McCourt (Samuel L. Jackson) and a young woman Alice Maxwell. Over the course of the movie these characters enter a struggle for survival as they try to make their way to a safe haven called Kasawack. A place where no one has been infected by the signal.
On their journey the group meets up with headmaster Charles Ardai (Stacy Keach) and top student Jordan. Charles and Jordan pretty much help Clay and Tom figure out that the signal has turned people into an army, which has a hive mind. Eliminating individuality and selfishness. Charles is pretty strong in his view that this signal is a next step in the advancement of humanity and has to be stopped.
The more the group tries to stall the progress of the signal the stronger it gets. And the more people it leaves in its wake. Despite these odds Clay is determined to get home to his family in the hopes that they have not been turned.
‘Cell’ makes for a great character drama and a brilliant examination of human nature, but as far as story goes there is very little to it. And what’s more the ending feels very unsatisfactory in that nothing is really resolved.
The use of a cell phone signal somehow taking over humanity isn’t a new concept. ‘Doctor Who’ beat Stephen King to that particular McGuffin when they had an episode where the Cybermen tried to convert humans via the use of a Blue Tooth signal.
In the film. The zombies communicate with each other using phone signals that sound very much like the sounds that the old fashioned modems used to make. Which was kind of weird initially, but just got more and more annoying as the movie went on.
If your a fan of Zombie style horror then you might just like this films take on that. The character drama will no doubt please fans of fare such as ‘The Walking Dead’. But if you are not really a fan of the genre. You’ll not really get to much from this film.
Ultimately this movie is a mediocre Stephen King story that is saved by some solid character tropes and strong acting performances. ‘Christine’ or ‘Firestarter’ it is not.
‘Cell’ will have its UK premier at Horror Channel FrightFest on Thursday 25th August. It will then be available in select cinemas and via VOD on the 26.
- FX & Make-UP9.5
- Incidental Music9.0