The Cell, Blu-ray (2016)

by | Aug 26, 2016 | DVD & Blu-ray Video Reviews

Stephen King thinks the cell phone is bad – REAL bad…

Cell, Blu-ray (2016)

Cast: John Cusack, Samuel L. Jackson, Isabelle Fuhrman, Stacy Keach
Director: Tod Williams
Studio: Saban Fims, 120dB Films, Genre Co./Lionsgate (9/27/16)
Video: 2.40:1 for 16:9 screens, 1080p HD color
Audio: English DTS-HD MA 5.1
Subtitles: English, English SDH, Spanish
Extras: Audio commentary track with Director, “To Cell and Back:” The Making of the Film, Ultraviolet digital HD
Length: 89 min.
Rating: ****

One of the Amazon reviews repeats in caps: This Is Not a Zombie Movie!” Well, I eschew zombie movies and I found this one plenty disturbing but having certain similarities to zombie movies. It’s based on a decade-old novel by Stephen King (who changed the ending to a more positive one for the film) and opens with nearly everybody using a cell phone or smart phone at the Boston Airport turning into a foaming-at-the-mouth rabid killer or self-destroyer. This is supposedly brought about by an electronic signal from somewhere.

The cell phone connection is never made entirely clear (there’s one scene where a pile of cell phones have been burned.) But the Cusack character (who has been separated from his wife and young son for some years) hooks up with a black train driver and some other “normal” people who were somehow not affected by the descent into apocalyptic madness of everyone around them. The “foamers” seem to be connected pyschically with one another, similar to a colony of bees, and they occasionally all stop their actions, open their mouths and make a strange sound together. They also produce dial-tone sounds and music. There was obviously a low budget for cgi effects. (It must have all gone to Ghostbusters 2.)

The three or four “normals” wander around, seemingly not that panicked by what seems to be the end of the world. They meet a few other normals or nearly-normals. The expressions and actions of the two leads never seem to change. It appears that eventually the foamers begin to recruit normal people to their ranks. The survivors get guns because it turns out that the foamers can be killed. This of course produces a lot of violence and fighting/killing scenes. The ending and credits are extremely conflicting. I think I’ll search out films without any zombie connections at all after this one.

—John Sunier

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