Cell – Review

by Ren Zelen

Directed by Tod Williams (Paranormal Activity 2) and apparently co-scripted by King himself, Cell brings yet another adaptation of a King best seller to the big screen, reuniting John Cusack and Samuel L. Jackson after their first foray into Stephen King territory in Room 1408.

John Cusack plays comic book artist Clay Riddell, whose cell-phone runs out of juice while he is calling his son on arrival at a nondescript airport terminal. Searching vainly for somewhere to recharge, he finds all the outlet points already taken by people charging their phones, and those who are not charging cell-phones have their ears pressed to one and are making calls.

His frustration turns to bemusement and terror as he finds he is one of the very few survivors of an inexplicable event known as ‘The Pulse’  which sends a mysterious signal through the global network turning all those using a cell phone (and that seems to be most everybody) into mindless, rabid, foaming killers.

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At first, the zombies, (called ‘phoners’ in the book), attack everyone, including each other, in a frenzy of bloodlust. Riddell, another of King’s surrogate everymen, narrowly avoids the madness, still in possession of his senses thanks only to the chance event that had his phone die at the moment that every other operational cellular device was infiltrated by the rage-inducing signal.

Escaping the murderous mob at the airport, he ends up allied with a cool-headed stranger (Samuel L. Jackson) who happened to be underground and had no phone signal, and a frazzled teenager (Isabelle Fuhrman) hiding out after her mother goes mad in the initial outbreak.

Riddell is determined to find his son and estranged wife in Vermont, and leads this makeshift family on an episodic road trip, crossing New England on foot and encountering various survivors such as schoolboy Jordan (Owen Teague) and his headmaster (Stacy Keach) along the way.

Though this film begins with a technology-gone-awry premise, the pale, slavering, slack-jawed roaming hordes give Cell the distinct feel of a zombie movie. Considering the ongoing popularity of shows like The Walking Dead, that might seem to guarantee something of an enthusiastic audience.

King has touched on the Zombie genre in some of his books before Cell: in ‘Home Delivery’(in ‘Nightmares & Dreamscapes’)  he wrote a kind of zombie love story and the Slow Mutants in ‘The Dark Tower’ series are that world’s particular version of the undead.

Cell displays a kind of B-movie sensibility that hearkens back to the classic Zombie movies of Stephen King’s pal, George A. Romero. Sprinting with the speed of the 28 Days Later or World War Z zombies, the ‘Phoners’  develop a hive-mind and begin to move in swarms. They soon evolve new methods of recruitment to grow their numbers, communicating throughout their ‘network’ by emitting an atonal blare of modem noise. They appear to be controlled by a deformed and dishevelled entity called ‘The Raggedy Man’ (Joshua Mikel) who, it transpires, was present as an imaginary villain in one of Riddell’s graphic novels (but this thread is never adequately explained or developed).

Even while faced with this threat, the humans still cannot find unity and continue to commit atrocities against each other. Despite the gore and violence, there is always the slight indication that perhaps it is time for the species as we know it to become extinct, and that the humans are the true monsters.

The effects in general, from the digital explosions to a climactic horde of the infected, betray limited resources. The film doesn’t quite succeed in effectively conveying the breakdown of society, which appears to happen all at once and is immediately accepted and understood by the survivors.

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Williams tends to capture the small-scale skirmishes, outdoor gunfights and gory scenes—people thrown from balconies; a man munching on his dog—in erratic, shaky-cam close-up, often with not enough extras to convey the panic and chaos. The most impressive spectacle is a burning plane punctuating the airport carnage by crashing into the terminal.

Cell works best when it shifts its dramatic focus to the desperate and disparate group of people fleeing from shelter to shelter hoping to find some kind of safe haven. However, there is a minimum of spectacle, much filming in outdoor locations and rather a lot of time spent hiding in darkened buildings where, although the characters talk a fair amount, they seem to say disappointingly little.

The conventionality of the characters is partly saved by the cosily familiar presence of Cusack and Jackson, and workmanlike turns from the youngsters Fuhrman and Teague. This adaptation of Cell is diverting enough if you are a fan of variations on the zombie genre, but it will probably join the already overstuffed ranks of rather mediocre screen versions of Stephen King’s ever popular stories.


Morgan – Brand New Featurette!

Right, well, I’m just going to plug my ears, cover my eyes, shield ears, and refuse to take part in these shenanigans. That’s because I am sick to death of good movies being ruined before they come out! Morgan was mysterious. The first trailer – terrifying!

Now I know more than I wanted to know.

The no-longer-mysterious film revolves around a young woman who is found after an accident and is seemingly a childlike human. However, there is something more sinister going on. The film is directed by Ridley Scott’s son Luke and stars Kate Mara, Anya Taylor-Joy, and Toby Jones!

Ok…so… I was going to copy paste the same synopsis as I had (to prove how all the trailers and clips are the same) but, as it turns out, this new clip is pretty cool! Robots, and humans!

What do you think?


Bridget Jones’s Diary – Brand New Featurette

Only yesterday did we have a brand new featurette for Bridget Jones’s Diary (seriously, the title makes our brain hurt too.) So, naturally, we are going to get a whole new one just a day later.

We are only 16 days away from the comedy sequel, so what can we expect?

The latest outing sees Bridget, well, having a baby but it could be one of two suitors – her old flame Mark Darcy or a brand new American fella.

So here is a feature all about how Ms. Jones got flipped turned upside down. Now I’d like to show the clip, just sit right there, here’s a story about how Bridget got…erm…a baby up there.


Shut In – Brand New Trailer!

Naomi Watts is a fantastic actress. From 21 Grams to The Impossible, she has graced our screen with more indelible performances than anyone.  How she doesn’t have an award for her stirring work, we’ll never now! She definitely deserves tonnes!

Anyway, Naomi Watts takes charge in the brand new trailer for Shut In. The thriller revolves around a New England nurse who is caught in a deadly storm looking after a young boy. However, there’s a great possibility that he’ll be lost forever. Can she save him?

There is nothing so adventurous here that it’ll pull Watts into award winning greatness. However, the film also stars collective internet son Jacob Tremblay who is TERRIFYING HERE!

What do you think?



The Comedian’s Guide to Survival – Brand New Trailer!

When you appear on a television show, you can go in many directions: Instant fame and Hollywood, constantly appearing on the same show, or appearing on reality TV before absconding into obscurity. British TV seems to be worse – it’s really, really hard to break the chains of a famed character and you, usually, end up playing the same role repeatedly.

So James Buckley, who played the foul-mouthed Jay in popular show The Inbetweeners hopes to escape the character confine’s with his latest film The Comedian’s Guide to Survival.

The film revolves around failed comedian James Mulligan (based on Buckley’s experiences,) who has come across a crossroads in his life. Stuck between the demands of his wife and his day job and his love of comedy, his boss tells him “Stick to your day job, or lose it!” Which is exactly when an opportunities arrives to interview the best comedians, his faint slither of passion strikes up again!

If you are a big fan of British humour, then you’ll be pleased with this upcoming film. What do you


Deepwater Horizon – Brand New Featurette!

There have been plenty of ocean faring true stories out there and swishing their way to the big screen in hopes of making a big splash on the big screen! Now Deepwater Horizon adds to the depths of water disasters!

Starring Mark Wahlberg, the film is based on the true story of a man-made disaster that occurred in the titular oil rig, stranded the Gulf of Mexico in April 2010. Deepwater Horizon looks at the brave men and women whose act of heroism saved many on board and changed everyone’s lives…

Here’s the latest featurette on the dramatic movie. What do you think of the upcoming movie?