Sometimes a story should stay a story. In the case of the works of Stephen King, I have thought that sentiment many times. I know why studios want to adapt his stories for the screen. I can sum it up in one word… money. “Based on the story by Stephen King” is what gets people in the movie seats. Some of the seats are filled because diehard King fans want to see if the film lives up to the source material. Some go in thinking that it would never live up to the book, so they watch it as if it were a grisly car crash.
When I heard that Blumhouse Productions was going to take Mr. Harrigan’s Phone from King’s recent collection of short stories, If It Bleed, and make it into a film, I was pensive. Blumhouse has a lot of great films under their belt, but the short story just didn’t seem like it would make a good fit for film. It’s not that the story is a bad one. It’s actually one of my favorites of that collection. The story doesn’t have much action to it. And I think that’s the major hinderance to this film. It’s a lot of narration.
The film and story centers on Craig (played by Jaeden Martell) and the working relationship he has with Mr. Harrigan (played by Donald Sutherland). An aging billionaire, Harrigan pays Craig three times a week to come and read books to him. The two of them develop a friendship, but when Mr. Harrigan passes away, Craig slips the old man’s iPhone in his pocket at the funeral. What follows is a supernatural tale where Craig figures out that the important lesson of be careful what you wish for.
The film is listed as Drama, Horror, and Mystery. However, it’s very lite on the horror. Those that have an aversion to the genre will most likely enjoy this film. All of the deaths occur off screen and you only see the bodies after the deaths.
The story is very anti-smart phone. I haven’t read the actual story in a bit, but the film likes to warn people of the dangers of using your smart phone every couple of minutes. It even goes into unrealistic territory a few times in regard to phones inside schools. Apparently, you can’t mix with Samsung users if you’re a Motorola man during lunch.
The film tries to involve Craig’s friends, but it’s pointless. The friends sort of fade away a quarter of the way through the film. They shouldn’t have even involved the friends.
Overall, I don’t think this film lives up to the story it’s adapted from and suffers from too much narration and not enough action.
31 Days of Horror Rankings: