Horror Movie Review: Cell (2016)

Cell was a fairly successful Stephen King novel released in 2006 telling the story of Clayton Riddell. He is a struggling artist who is looking to reunite with his young son when he is caught up in an orgy of violence as phone users are suddenly turned into mindless zombies who attack anyone & everyone.

This film is based on that book & is one of the worst films of 2016, maybe even the decade.

Cell Pic 1

Lazy & uninterested actors, horrible plot with terrible pacing, boring & uninspired characters…there are so many things wrong with Cell that it’s difficult to know where to actually begin.

It’s not the first time a Stephen King book has been turned into a terrible movie & it won’t be the last but it is worth bearing in mind that the screenplay for this adaption was written by King himself. Even the most ardent of King supporters will struggle to defend this movie knowing that.


So the story begins with Clayton Riddell (John Cusack) arriving at an airport lounge where he speaks with his young son & estranged wife. Things aren’t great between the family but Clay is excited to see his son. He hangs up & the airport goes to hell as people on their phones start reacting to a pulse coming out of them…then they start attacking each other.

6 minutes in, 6 minutes into an almost 100 minute long film & it’s kicking off already.

Clay manages to escape into the subway where he meets Tom McCourt (Samuel L Jackson) & the pair team up together. They head back to Clay’s apartment where they find Alice, one of Clay’s neighbours. After a troubled night sleep Clay insists on heading north to find his son & wife so Tom & Alice agree to go with him.

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The zombies (phoners) are changing though, flocking together & seemingly under the control of something much bigger.

Shit, I made this movie sound way more exciting then it is. It’s incredibly dull with huge swathes of nothing but walking & talking. Dialogue so clunky & boring that it’s near impossible to remember anything anyone says. A huge part of the blame for this lies at the feet of the actors, in particular the two leads, Clay & Tom. John Cusack & Samuel L Jackson are two respected actors who have made many great movies & even shared screen time in another King adaption, 1408.

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Here though they both put such little effort in, it is embarrassing. No passion in delivery, Jackson looks bored every time he has to interact with another soul. No excuses, the pair are out-acted by Isabelle Fuhrman who plays Alice & she’s pretty awful too!

The ‘zombies’ are cliché & offer nothing fresh in the exhausted genre. Sure, that they sleep at night & sing in one voice is kind of cool but it doesn’t amount to anything really. You see the detail from the book has been ripped from this film leaving nothing more then a husk. The raggedy man character that played such an integral part in the novel is here but has a small role that is never expanded on. The untouchables part of the book? Gone.

It’s such a shame as with those details this could have been far more then just a boring, lazy zombie flick.

Cell Pic 3

It drags, it is an absolute chore to get through thanks, in part, to the sloppy & overly dark visuals. This looks like a low-budget B-movie with night scenes being very frustrating to watch. I have no idea why it’s filmed so poorly but it’s downright disgusting at times.

The only positive I can give this movie comes in the very final scene, I won’t spoil it for you but it is deliciously dark & I like that a lot!

Don’t be tricked into watching this, it’s an awful movie that is more likely to put you to sleep then excite.


  • Carl Fisher

    Owner/Administrator/Editor/Writer/Interviewer/YouTuber - you name it, I do it. I love gaming, horror movies, and all forms of heavy metal and rock. I'm also a Discworld super-fan and love talking all things Terry Pratchett. Do you wanna party? It's party time!

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