King’s thriller ‘Cell’ Phones it in (No Spoilers)

While browsing through the library my eyes fell upon the 2006 novel Cell by master writer Stephen King. I read the book and it was cool thriller with some interesting twists and relatable characters.

Then I heard it had been turned into movie and I thought I would check it out. And surprise, surprise, the book is better.

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Who asked for your opinion?

At First Slice

Cell tells the story of Clay Riddell (John Cusack) whose world is thrown into chaos when a strange cell phone pulse turns people into rage zombies called “phoners”. Clay meets up with other survivors Tom (Samuel L. Jackson) and Alice (Isabelle Fuhrman who played the Esther in 2009’s Orphan) and seeks out his son while trying to survive the deadly phoners.

Juicy Parts

The film jumps straight into the terror and the first scene in the airport when the people turn into phoners is intense. The action is decent and director Tod Williams (Paranormal Activity 2) keeps things edge of the seat. The phoners were interesting with their creepy noises and even creepier behaviour. The ending was changed from the book and I preferred the film version.

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And this is how ALL your campus parties end?

Sour Bits

Now a number of King’s 55 novels have been adapted into movies and they range from outstanding (Misery) to dreadful (Dreamcatcher). King has repeatedly express his hatred of the film adaptation of The Shining by director Stanley Kubrick for not capturing the spirit of his characters.

It is therefore unfortunate that though King co-wrote the screenplay for Cell these characters are so soulless. They are so undeveloped that you really do not care whether they live or die. Zero investment.

Cusack tries the desperate father bit but is mostly dull, Jackson is paint by numbers and everyone else is forgettable. The film follows the plot of the novel pretty faithfully but it is so compressed that we jump from exposition to action scene and then rinse and repeat. The 98 minute run time probably should have been increased so we could better connect with the characters, explore the phoners in more detail and enjoy a well done thriller steak rather than a slab of generic zombie meat.

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Someone said “free food”…

Final Slice – Cell gets 1.75/4 out of service phones.

So what did you think of Cell? What’s your favorite King adaptation? Feel free to comment below.

For more King you can check out my Top 8 Best/Worst film adaptations of his works here. And for more spine tingling movie posts you can follow me on Twitter @suprememango012 or subscribe via e-mail. Got your back like chiropractor. l8rs



  1. Your review is accurate; especially the part about not caring whether the characters lived or died. I laughed when I read that because I lost interest in the entire thing during what was supposed to be a riveting scene where they were just about to get into some zombie action. I agree with the rating but I’d say 1.4 cause they couldn’t hold my interest at all.

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