Tuesday, 27 September 2016

Blu-ray Review - CELL

Rated R; 98 minutes; $24.99; Amazon

Arriving on Blu-ray (plus Digital HD) and DVD (plus Digital HD) today from Lionsgate Home Entertainment is the horror-thriller CELL, based up n the novel by Stephen King.

Directed by Tod Williams, the film stars John Cusack, Samuel L. Jackson, Isabelle Fuhrman, Owen Teague, Clark Sarullo, Anthony Reynolds, Erin Elizabeth Burns, and Stacy Keach.

CELL centers on a graphic novel artist Clayton "Clay" Riddell (played by John Cusack) who is on a business trip in Boston when "The Pulse" is released, an unknown signal that spreads across all cell phones around the world that turns humans into mindless zombie-like killers. After barely escaping Boston Common from the "phoners," he crosses path with a subway worker Tom McCourt (played by Samuel L. Jackson), and later a teenager named Alice Maxwell (played by Isabelle Fuhrman).

Clay, Tom, and Alice travel together, trying to avoid the "phoners" as they make their way to Maine to search for Clay's estranged wife and son.

From left to right: Samuel L. Jackson ("Tom McCourt," left), Isabelle Fuhrman ("Alice Maxwell," center) and John Cusack ("Clay Riddell," right) star in Lionsgate Home Entertainment's CELL.

Special Features on the Blu-ray includes:

  • Audio Commentary with Director Tod Williams
  • To Cell and Back: The Making of the Film

Final Thoughts: I had read the CELL by Stephen King when it was originally released in 2006. While it wasn't Mr. King's best works, it was still a fun new take on the zombie genre. If I remember correctly, the movie rights were purchased by a studio shortly after the book was released, but nothing came to function until production began on the film in 2012. Clarius Entertainment (now known as Aviron Pictures) was originally going to distribute the film, but it was later dropped. Eventually, Saban Films purchased the rights and released the film to video on demand as well as a limited theatrical release during the summer.

From left to right: Isabelle Fuhrman ("Alice Maxwell," far left), Samuel L. Jackson ("Tom McCourt," back left), John Cusack ("Clay Riddell," right) and Owen Teague ("Jordan," far right) star in Lionsgate Home Entertainment's CELL.

Despite being shot on a low-budget, the makeup and visual effects are pretty decent looking. John Cusack, Samuel L. Jackson both give good performances. (Fun Fact: The actors also starred in another Stephen King's title 1408 in 2007.)

The movie stays close to the book... well, for about 3/4 of the film, then it drifts into wonderland. Several chapters are missing from the film for some weird reason as well as the original twisted ending. Stephen King co-wrote the script with Adam Alleca, so I don't know why he didn't stay closer to his novel. The film's ending is confusing and completely misses the point of the book's ending.

Nevertheless, CELL isn't a complete waste of time. I was at least entertained for it's short 98-minutes running time.

I received a complimentary copy in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own.

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