Since I began the season with a few reviews of Stephen King’s adaptations, I thought it would be prudent to vivisect his latest stab at big-screen transposition. Cell is an unconscionably morose abomination and its torturous presentation must be the result of King himself. The author is the screenwriter for this fare and he is maladroit at how people behave under apocalyptic circumstances.
The premise of Cell may have been prevalent several years ago with it was published but a parable about the dangers of mob mentality via mobile devices is an archaic notion now. The extras here are some of the worst overactors in any major release. They risibly convulse, froth at the mouth and at one point, bludgeon their craniums against the wall. With a spendthrift budget, an explosion that shatters the windows in a Maine airport is unconvincingly ersatz with digital debris splintering around Clay Riddell (John Cusack).
As with most films without stellar choreography or storyboarding, the outbreak scenes are chaotic with epileptic shaky-cam incomprehension. How can the audience care about a DJ character’s demise when we were just introduced to him milliseconds before and he idiotically saunters out of a safe zone in a subway cart? For a 1408 reunion, Cusack and Samuel L. Jackson exhibit no discernible rapport and it’s one of the rarefied instances where the usually electrifying Jackson is coasting on fumes.
The midsection of the film is a languorous chore with the survivors frequenting a bar and waxing nostalgic about life before wartime. The climactic moment when Clay is assimilated into the horde around the satellite dish should be a galvanizing moment on par with Invasion of the Body Snatchers. However, a catatonic Cusack nodding along in unison with his zombie peers looks like he is bopping to a song in a rave party.
Rating: 0 out of 5