CELL Phoning it in
released 26 august 15 | 98 minutes
Director tod Williams Cast John Cusack, samuel l Jackson, Isabelle Fuhrman
You know there’s something wrong with a film when you become obsessed with a hat.
In this adaptation of Stephen King’s 2006 novel, a mysterious signal turns mobile users into homicidal, hive-mind “Phoners”. At the height of civilisation’s nosedive into chaos, John Cusack’s hero takes time out to pull on a black beanie, then spends the rest of the movie randomly taking it on and off. A bit of prop “business”? Cold head? Covering up for an operation?
Who knows, but for much of the duration it’s the most intriguing question here. Cell has its moments: the original outbreak is ferocious, and a sequence that involves torching a playing field full of sleeping Phoners is memorably bizarre. But the script repeatedly falls to adequately explain key plot elements, with frustratingly incoherent results. When they’re not standing around open-mouthed, emitting strange static noises, the Phoners’ twitchy choreography is often comical. And the idiocy of the central characters – who apparently never check to see if the internet still works, and who, on discovering that Phoners basically power down at dusk, fail to consider only travelling at night – is kinda infuriating. Calvin Baxter
Toxic Avenger director Lloyd Kaufman has a cameo – he’s in the airport sequence, wearing a Hawaiian shirt.
The Scottish summer was unusually warm.