Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Tod Williams|
by Stephen King
|Music by||Marcelo Zarvos|
|Edited by||Jacob Craycroft|
Cell is a 2016 American science fiction horror film based on the 2006 novel of the same name by Stephen King. The film is directed by Tod Williams, produced by John Cusack, with a screenplay by King and Adam Alleca. The film stars Cusack, Samuel L. Jackson, and Isabelle Fuhrman. The film was released on June 10, 2016 to video on demand, prior to a limited release scheduled for July 8, 2016. Cell is the second film adaptation of a King story to co-star Cusack and Jackson, after 1408 (2007).
The film was panned by critics upon its release; most criticized the film's acting and plot.
When an evil electronic signal is broadcast across mobile networks worldwide, cell phone users are instantly and dangerously re-programmed into rabid killers. Heading north through New England to find his estranged wife and son, Clay Riddell is joined by a group of survivors to battle the horde of murderous "phoners" as their world descends into apocalyptic madness.
- John Cusack as Clayton "Clay" Riddell
- Samuel L. Jackson as Thomas "Tom" McCourt
- Isabelle Fuhrman as Alice Maxwell
- Stacy Keach as Charles Ardai
- Wilbur Fitzgerald as Geoff
- Alex ter Avest as Chloe
- Ethan Andrew Casto as Johnny Riddell
- Owen Teague as Jordan
- Catherine Dyer as Sally
- E. Roger Mitchell as Roscoe
- Erin Elizabeth Burns as Denise
- Tinsel Korey as Ava
- Anthony Reynolds as Ray Huizenga
- Lloyd Kaufman Cabs as Bystander
The film is based on the 2006 novel of the same name by Stephen King. Dimension Films announced that in March 2006 that Eli Roth would direct the project after finishing Hostel 2. Roth exited the project in 2009, saying:
There was just sort of a difference in opinion on how to make the film and what the story should be, and there's a different direction the studio wants to go with it. It was very friendly because it's the Weinsteins, they made Inglourious Basterds and we're all friends. I said, 'I'm not really interested in doing the film this way. You guys go ahead and I'm going to make my own films.' I've also learned that I really am only interested in directing original stories that I write, that's another thing I learned through that whole process.
Following Roth's departure, ScreenRant.com noted that the film "faded into the background" however on 2013 Tod Williams was announced as the director which brought the film back on track. King stated that because fans didn't like the ending of the book, he had changed it for the film.
John Cusack was the first actor announced to have joined the film in October 2012. Samuel L. Jackson was cast as Tom McCourt in November 2013. Isabelle Fuhrman was announced as Alice on February 5, 2014. The next day, Stacy Keach was cast in an unnamed role of a headmaster.
Filming took place in January 2014 over 25 days in Atlanta, Georgia.
In February 2015, the producers of the film announced that Clarius Entertainment had acquired distribution rights. The company, now called Aviron Pictures, later dropped the film. Saban Films later acquired distribution rights to the film. It was to receive its world premiere at FrightFest as part of the Glasgow Film Festival but was replaced at the last minute by Pandemic. The film was released on June 10, 2016, to video on demand, prior to opening in a limited release on July 8, 2016.
Cell was panned by critics. On the review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, the film has an approval rating of 10% based on 48 reviews and an average score of 3.9/10. The site's critical consensus reads, "Shoddily crafted and devoid of suspense, Cell squanders a capable cast and Stephen King's once-prescient source material on a bland rehash of zombie cliches." On Metacritic, the film has a score of 38 out of 100, based on 15 critics, indicating "generally unfavorable reviews". Bob Grimm of CV Independent wrote that the movie "is easily one of the worst adaptations ever of a King story." Arts BHAM's Corey Craft called the film "dull", "a trial to get through" and gave it 11⁄2 stars out of 5. Nico Lang of Consequence of Sound wrote that Cell wasted an intriguing premise and called the film "unnecessarily glum and grim," as well as "pretty dumb." Patrick Cooper of Bloody Disgusting called it a "forgettable adaptation" and further stated that "the story packs absolutely no punch and the solid stable of actors look bored for most of the film."
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