Just Been Watching…(66)

Cell (2016)

***Spoilers avoided***

I recently decided to try to overcome some of my usual film snobbery, and watch more films shown free on TV. It doesn’t cost me anything, (except time) and I might find myself pleasantly surprised by what’s on offer, once I put away my prejudices. So with that in mind, I taped a few films from Film 4, and got around to watching two of them last night. This was the first one.

A Stephen King adaptation. Co-Produced by, and starring John Cusack, with Samuel L. Jackson.
Surely that would be worth watching?


The film begins with a catastrophic event. Everyone using a cellphone (mobile) is affected by an unusual signal that drives them all crazy. What follows is a scene of carnage, as homicidal sufferers run around an airport terminal killing each other, or attacking those trying to escape. Meanwhile, graphic artist Clay (Cusack) has been trying to contact his estranged wife and young son, when his phone runs out of battery, saving him from the signal. Seeking somewhere to hide, he gets down into the subway, where no phone signal could reach. Meeting up with the train driver, Tom (Jackson) the pair decide to return to Clay’s apartment, wher they encounter another survivor, a young woman called Alice.

The hordes of people affected by the event are now wandering around in huge ‘flocks’, attacking anyone they meet. The trio of survivors agree to travel to New Hampshire, to try to find Clay’s wife and son. Managing to escape the city, (Boston) their journey constitutes the rest of the action in this film. The ‘affected’ are not zombies, and they don’t eat people. But they become connected by the event, and operate as a very efficient whole, a lot like ants. Come across one of them, and very soon hundreds more will arrive on the scene. The three friends now acquire a lot of guns from the house of a gun owner, and begin their dangerous trip.

I was struck by a dreary sense of having seen it all before. Substitute the ‘affected’ for zombies, and the story has been done to death.
Jackson plays himself as usual, with that easy way of looking as if playing Samuel L. Jackson comes naturally to him.
Cusack finally looks a little older, and is worried and stressed throughout all of the film.
(Understandable, when he knew what it cost to make)
The girl is tough, with a vulnerable core.
They escape danger by a whisker, killing lots of scary people in the process.
They meet a small boy and the old teacher caring for him. (Stacey Keach) and naturally take the boy along with them.
They encounter crazy survivors, unsure whether or not they are affected.
And of course, they all dream the same dream, of a terrifying man, dressed in red.
Oh, and guess what? That man is the manifestation of one of Clay’s characters in his comic.

And don’t even get me started on the final ‘reveal’.

Maybe this was a good book. I don’t know, I have never read it. But I expect better from Stephen King, as well as from the usually reliable cast in this mess. I watched this film so that you never have to. The only sad thing is, I will never get back the 98 minutes of my life spent doing so.

45 thoughts on “Just Been Watching…(66)

  1. Pete, the only films adaptations of Stephen King books that I have on DVD are: “Carrie,” “The Shining,” and “The Lawnmower Man.” I saw “Firestarter” on TV many years ago. I’ve never opened a Stephen King book, and, considering his recent political rants, I’m not inclined to read one.

    I’ve always been a John Cusack fan. Oh well…

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I liked the book, although to be fair it was published in 2005, so much of what has been seen and done to death came later (not 28 days Later, that is a fabulous movie). I read it quite a while back, though. There are some films that on paper sound so good that we feel disappointed when they don’t live up to their potential (there you have another idea for a series, although I know you prefer positive rather than negative lists). I’ll never forget how bad the Avengers (the British movie based on the TV series, not the current Marvel series) was. It was one of the few times when I considered leaving the cinema…
    Thanks for the warning, Pete. I’ll put it on my not to watch list…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Really not worth your time, Olga. Especially if you have read the book, I suspect.
      I never bothered with the film of The Avengers. It was a TV series very much of its time, and best remembered as it was.
      Best wishes, Pete.


    1. It was hot and humid yesterday here, Frank. (Not too far north, mainly east. 🙂 )
      I can’t go for a drink unless I drive, then I can’t drink and drive! 🙂
      Julie went to the theatre with women friends last night, so I whiled away the late evening with two free films to watch. It wasn’t terrible, but I wish they had been better films.
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Is it sad that no matter how bad a Stephen King adaptation is, I still usually like it more than his books? I don’t mind his short stories, but I can’t stand his lengthy descriptions and unnecessary perversions that he always seems to have in his book.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I liked the books ‘Misery’, ‘Carrie’, ‘Cujo’, and ‘Chrstine’. I also waded through ‘It’, and ‘The Stand’.
      But I found him to be formulaic after a while, and gave up on him.
      This film is really not worth your time though, Nicole. Watch ’28 Days Later’ instead. 🙂
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Liked by 1 person

        1. I confess that I didn’t enjoy it that much. I kept expecting something better to happen I suppose…
          That’s one of the drawbacks about best-selling writers. We sometimes read all their books because of who they are, even the crappy ones.
          Best wishes, Pete.

          Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s the problem, BF. We have seen every bit of before, in so many similar films or stories. And it was usually better done too.
      I will stick with ’28 Days Later’, or ‘Train To Busan’.
      Cheers, Pete.


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