Mr. Harrigan’s Phone is a horror drama film written and directed by John Lee Hancock, releasing in 2022 via Netflix. It is based on the novella of the same name by Stephen King from the collection If It Bleeds. Craig, a young boy, befriends the elderly billionaire John Harrigan. Craig then gives him a mobile phone. However, when the man dies, Craig discovers that he can communicate with his friend from the grave.
In 2003, young Craig becomes acquainted with retired businessman John Harrigan following the death of his mother, with instructions to simply read to him three times a week. Five years later, a teenage Craig and elderly Harrigan have become friends. After winning $3,000 from a lottery ticket that Harrigan gave him and receiving his first iPhone for Christmas, Craig buys Harrigan one too. Despite initial resistance to new technology, he greatly enjoys the phone.
The elderly Harrigan dies, leaving Craig heartbroken at the loss of his friend. At the funeral, Craig sneaks Harrigan’s phone into the coffin. He is then informed by Harrigan’s associate that he was left a bequest in Harrigan’s will. Craig will receive $800,000 in a trust fund, to support his future studies and pursuit of a writing career, which he had told Harrigan about.
After being attacked by a school bully, Craig calls Harrigan’s phone in a fit of frustration and sadness. He tells him he is “afraid that this won’t end, and I wish that you were here just to give me some advice. The next day, Craig finds out that the bully is dead…..
What is actually going on? Check out Mr Harrigan’s phone to find out.
I really enjoyed the initial setup with Craig reading to Mr Harrigan for a long period in his life. You get to feel the bond between the two and all actors involved do a nice job. Although, I will say that I preferred the actor who portrayed the younger version of Craig. Then, the tragic circumstances of Harrigan dying add to the drama. I mentioned before how I actually enjoyed Colin O’Brien more as Craig. Well, I Just didn’t feel the devastation enough from Jaeden Martell when he finds the body which is unfortunate as it could have been much more powerful.
I wish I could stop there and tell you that this is the only problem with the film. Unfortunately, there’s more negativity to come. Firstly, well done to this movie for introducing me and many others to a new way of committing suicide that I have never heard of before. I won’t repeat it here but trust me on this. Secondly, it’s worth being aware that the entire mystery of whether or not Harrigan is sending messages from beyond the grave is a waste of time. I would have much preferred that this had gone down a more traditional horror route but it goes all metaphorical and “message” heavy instead which is just disappointing.
Now, I’m not saying the message it has about phones doesn’t hold any weight. It’s just in my opinion a very outdated and irrelevant message at this point. A huge aspect of the story surrounds the launch of the I-Phone and how much that changed the world. I’m not saying that is entirely untrue but mobile phones did exist well before this. Phones are evil, go read a book instead pretty much.
Mr Harrigan’s phone pretends to be a film with a compelling mystery but it isn’t that at all. There is no mystery or surprise. Instead, it’s a heavy handed coming of age, anti-technology film. In fact, it completely abandons the mystery of everything in favour of this. It delivers nothing in terms of explanation to most of its questions. It’s filled with inconsistencies and for lack of a better word is half-assed in its execution. Devoid of humour as well, it is more hilarious to call this a horror film due to its lack of horror or scares. The worst part for me is its lack of focus muddles the very message that it’s trying so hard to beat you over the head with.
Mr Harrigan's Phone
The Final Score - 3/10