Thursday, June 23, 2016

Cell

***DISCLAIMER*** The following review is entirely my opinion. If you comment (which I encourage you to do) be respectful. If you don't agree with my opinion (or other commenters), that's fine. To each their own. These reviews are not meant to be statements of facts or endorsements, I am just sharing my opinions and my perspective when watching the film and is not meant to reflect how these films should be viewed. Finally, the reviews are given on a scale of 0-5. 0, of course, being unwatchable. 1, being terrible. 2, being not great. 3, being okay. 4, being great and 5, being epic! And if you enjoy these reviews feel free to share them and follow the blog or follow me on Twitter (@RevRonster) for links to my reviews and the occasional live-Tweet session of the movie I'm watching! Nothing subtle about this one.  You can actually hear the metaphors screaming, "These damn people and their cell phones!"



Cell – 2 out of 5

I can’t honestly say that I’m a big fan of Stephen King’s books.  I realize his fanbase is HUGE and, while I do dig many of the film adaptations of his work, I can’t say that I’ve enjoyed the few things I’ve read by him.  They always just feel silly to me and too often I’ve found his stories go off-the-rails in the third act.  Still, when my girlfriend rented this one on VOD, I thought I would give it shot like I do with all of the films based on his writings.  So, pretending you don’t already know the answer to this because you can see the score, is Cell something as amazing as The Shining (yes, I realized it varied greatly from the book) or is this something more akin to something else with King’s name attached to it and is a little odd like Maximum Overdrive?

                                                                                                                               Saban Films
I won't lie; I pretty much watched this because Sam Jackson was in it.

                                                                                                                              Saban Films
Use your imagination and this is an unofficial sequel to 1408.
One day while in an airport, artist Clay Riddell (John Cusack) is horrified to discover that a signal is being pumped through the cell phone network that is turning the people psychotic, chaotic and even homicidal maniacs.  Riddell barely makes it out with his life and ends up teaming with a man named Tom McCourt (Samuel L. Jackson) and a young lady named Alice Maxwell (Isabelle Fuhrman) and they decide to head out to try and locate Clay’s wife and kid.  Their journey takes them to meet various survivors who were able to survive thanks to not being on their cell at the time, a promise of a “safe zone” and a horrifying vision of the monster responsible for all this mess.

                                                                                                                               Saban Films
Horror writers really don't like advancement in technology.
They seem to think it will murder us all one day, don't they?

The only real positive takeaway I got from this film is the fact the cast is very good.  I’m already a fan of Jackson and Cusack and I found that both men were doing decent in their roles.  While I will concede that these performances were clearly not the best in either man’s career but they still were doing a decent job.  Additionally, Stacy Keach has a small role in the film and I’m definitely a fan of him and he does a great job with his small role.  Finally, another element that I really enjoyed about Cell is that one of my favorite artists was involved and did the artwork for the character of Clay Riddell.  Shawn Coss, an artist who does absolutely fantastic dark and macabre work and also works on my favorite web comic crew; Cyanide & Happiness, provided much of the artwork that would pass off as Clay’s and it was just plain cool to see his work in the film.

                                                                          shawncoss.deviantart.com
This wasn't in the movie but, damn, do I love his work!


Aside from that, I wasn’t too impressed with the rest of the film.  The biggest detractor that Cell has going for it is how painfully formulaic the entire film feels.  If you change the catalyst for the apocalypse from being brought on from an infected cell phone signal to literally anything else (a virus, zombies, alien invasion or even an attack from radioactive teddy bears) and this film follows the same plot as a million other films that center on a man trying to get to his goal during a literal hell on earth.  Matters are only made worse by the fact the film feels very vague and underdeveloped.  And when I say “vague,” I don’t mean like in a way that allows the viewer to connect their own dots but rather in a way that makes the whole film feel like it lacked ambition and was just going through the motions of a very cliché script.

                                                                                                                               Saban Films
There's also a real lack of threat to your mindless killers when they are nicknamed
"phoners."

Cell might have been a passable Stephen King adaptation if it felt like it had any ambition whatsoever but, aside from fairly decent acting and great set designs that including artwork from one of my personal favorite creators, the film doesn’t really offer much that hasn’t already been seen before time and time before.

3 comments:

  1. Did you like Pet SEmatary? That was a real good one.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Did you like Pet SEmatary? That was a real good one.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's a classic. Fred Gwynne is amazing in that film!

      Delete

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