I think the weirdest thing about Cell happening now as a feature film is that it doesn’t feel half as outdated as I expected it to. While the central conceit of cell phones has obviously only gotten bigger, the book was written as a reactionary piece to 9/11. Sadly, even after everything that’s happened since that time, the climate of terrorism has only gotten bigger.
The only way in which Cell doesn’t feel fresh is the fact that it is a zombie survival story. That part of it is pretty unavoidable, because under all the window dressing that’s still what the plot boils down to. Obviously this is a kind of narrative we’ve gotten hundreds of times over just the last few years. In the late 2000s, we got this story in a surplus of zombie movies. Now, we get it in a surplus of zombie TV shows.
Luckily, Cell sets itself apart in creating a totally new mythology around the zombies—or should we call them the infected? Cellulites? Apparently, the correct term is Phoners—and the way they operate. These infected people are clearly of one hive mindset and operate in a very interesting way. There’s more than enough to the story to separate them from the traditional zombies of movies, books and TV shows past and present.
The action and character balance in Cell is great. The hordes of attackers are fresh and interesting enough to hold your attention and the characters are engaging. You care about them and that’s ultimately what helps to make it through several cliché situations inherent to post-apocalyptic stories.
The cast is strong, from major leads John Cusack and Samuel L. Jackson to a great, less talked about performance from Isabelle Fuhrman and a cameo appearance by Stacy Keach.
The Blu-ray looks crisp and the film is definitely presented in the best way possible. The special features aren’t too extensive, but at least there are some. We’ve got a making of feature inventively titled “To Cell and Back” and a commentary track with director Tod Williams.
Overall, Cell is a good but not game-changing movie that gets points for servicing the story. Fans of King’s work should definitely pick up this Blu-ray. It’s a solid adaptation, which is a big win in and of itself!
WICKED RATING: 6.5/10
Director: Tod Williams
Writers: Stephen King and Adam Alleca
Cast: John Cusack, Samuel L. Jackson, Isabelle Fuhrman
Release Date: September 27th. 2016 (DVD and Blu-ray)
Studio/Production Co: Benaroya Pictures, The Genre Company, 120dB Films, Cargo Entertainment
Genre: Zombies, post apocalyptic horror, Stephen King movies