What if our unceasing dependence on our cell phones brought about the collapse of civilization and humanity?
[dropcap size=small]I[/dropcap]t happens in a matter of minutes, one moment Clay Riddel is standing in the Boston airport trying to talk to his wife/ex-wife and son on his cell phone, the next all hell breaks loose. A mysterious signal begins to come through every cell phone around Clay that is in use. Anyone who was on their cell phone or picks up their cell phone to call 911 or their loved ones when the signal began turns into a zombie-like killer. Clay flees from the Boston airport, running for his life while his mind is filled with only one question, “Are my wife and son okay?”
This is the basis for Stephen King’s Cell, at least in the movie. As with numerous horror films that are based on Stephen King novels, or any film for that matter, no film sticks to what is found in the book perfectly. Of course, it would be incredibly difficult, nigh impossible, to address every single detail and symbol that comes with every novel that is adapted to the big screen. That being said, there is a list of films, albeit however short, that does the original novel justice and delights fans and critics alike.
For example, Peter Jackson’s take on J. R. R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings was impressive in that it did the trilogy justice while also cutting out certain details that would only upset the most die-hard LOTR (Lord of the Rings) fans. The trilogy won multiple awards and is considered by most as the film that proved that fantasy novels turned movies are not just for geeks and nerds anymore. Sure, some would argue that Peter Jackson big screen adaption of J. R. R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit trilogy was cringingly awful, but the film still satisfied those who hadn’t read the book or cared very deeply about it.
As for Cell, director Tod Williams somehow manages to leave out very important details from Stephen King’s novel and the worst part is that it is difficult to discern if it’s the director’s fault or the screenwriter’s fault. Stephen King was, in fact, one of two of the screenwriters for Cell so he obviously played a large role in what was originally put into the film. That being said, it really comes down to the director because he/she is the one who decides what stays in the film and what is cut out.
Even with large important portions of the novel that were cut out and not added to the film, Cell is still worth watching. With an impressive cast line-up including John Cusack, Samuel L. Jackson, and Isabelle Fuhrman the film provides plenty of scares, action, suspense and forces viewers to question how much humanity someone can hold onto in a world where sometimes the illmoral and self-destructive decisions are the ones that we have to make to survive.
When it comes to films of the apocalyptic type, especially the zombie-esque type, the largest hurdle for filmmakers is to release a film that is action-packed enough that it keeps audiences hooked while also applying some depth of terror and story so the viewers leave feeling their time wasn’t wasted watching a film of mindless violence. Cell isn’t meant to be a horror film mixed in with some comedy like Cabin in the Woods was, but comedic relief is few and far between with Samuel L. Jackson’s character being the only one who supplies it. The ending will likely annoy fans of Stephen King’s Cell novel, but if you haven’t read the book or were not a fan of it, Cell will surely be something you and your friends will enjoy.
Stephen King’s Cell will be in select theaters and available on YouTube, iTunes, Amazon Video, and Google Play come July 8th.