Cell (film)

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Cell 2016 film poster 2.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Tod Williams
Produced by
Screenplay by
Based on Cell
by Stephen King
Music by Marcelo Zarvos
Cinematography Michael Simmonds
Edited by Jacob Craycroft
  • Benaroya Pictures[1]
  • International Film Trust
  • 120dB Films
  • Cargo Entertainment
  • The Genre Company[1]
  • Don Nafia
Distributed by

Saban Films (US)[1]

Signature Entertainment (UK) [2]
Release date
  • June 10, 2016 (2016-06-10)
Running time
98 minutes[2]
Country United States
Language English
Box office $735,841[3]

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.[4] 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.[5][6]



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.[7] 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.[8]

Following Roth's departure, ScreenRant.com noted that the film "faded into the background"[9] however on 2013 Tod Williams was announced as the director which brought the film back on track.[9] King stated that because fans didn't like the ending of the book, he had changed it for the film.[10]

John Cusack was the first actor announced to have joined the film in October 2012.[11] Samuel L. Jackson was cast as Tom McCourt in November 2013.[12] Isabelle Fuhrman was announced as Alice on February 5, 2014.[13] The next day, Stacy Keach was cast in an unnamed role of a headmaster.[14]

Filming took place in January 2014 over 25 days in Atlanta, Georgia.[15]


In February 2015, the producers of the film announced that Clarius Entertainment had acquired distribution rights.[16] The company, now called Aviron Pictures, later dropped the film.[17] Saban Films later acquired distribution rights to the film.[18] 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.[19] The film was released on June 10, 2016, to video on demand, prior to opening in a limited release on July 8, 2016.[1]


Cell was panned by critics.[20] 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."[21] On Metacritic, the film has a score of 38 out of 100, based on 15 critics, indicating "generally unfavorable reviews".[22] Bob Grimm of CV Independent wrote that the movie "is easily one of the worst adaptations ever of a King story."[23] Arts BHAM's Corey Craft called the film "dull", "a trial to get through" and gave it 1​12 stars out of 5.[24] 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."[25] 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."[26]


  1. ^ a b c d Evry, Max (April 26, 2016). "Cell Trailer and Poster: John Cusack & Samuel L. Jackson & Zombies". ComingSoon.net. CraveOnline Media. Retrieved April 26, 2016. 
  2. ^ a b "CELL (15)". British Board of Film Classification. November 17, 2015. Retrieved November 17, 2015. 
  3. ^ "Cell (2016)". The Numbers. Nash Information Services. Retrieved October 13, 2016. 
  4. ^ Miska, Brad (April 26, 2016). "The 'CELL' Trailer Rings in a Zombie-esque Apocalypse!". Bloody Disgusting. Retrieved April 26, 2016. 
  5. ^ Hall, Jacob (April 26, 2016). "John Cusack and Samuel L. Jackson Battle the Talking Dead". /Film. Retrieved July 11, 2016. 
  6. ^ Freligh, Tai (July 5, 2016). "Movie Review – Cell (2016)". Flickering Myth. Retrieved July 11, 2016. 
  7. ^ Fleming, Michael (March 7, 2006). "Dimension hits speed dial". Variety. Penske Business Media. Retrieved May 7, 2016. 
  8. ^ Douglas, Edward. "Eli Roth Not Involved with Hostel III". ComingSoon.net. CraveOnline Media. Retrieved April 9, 2018. 
  9. ^ a b Vieira, Anthony. "Stephen King 'Zombie' Film 'Cell' To Be Directed by 'Paranormal Activity 2' Helmer". Screen Rant. Retrieved February 22, 2017. 
  10. ^ Brunton, Richard (November 13, 2009). "Stephen King wrote Cell screenplay". Filmstalker. Retrieved July 11, 2016. 
  11. ^ Kay, Jeremy (October 31, 2012). "John Cusack to star in Cargo's Stephen King adaptation Cell". Screen Daily. Screen International. Retrieved February 8, 2015. 
  12. ^ McClintock, Pamela (November 4, 2013). "AFM: Samuel L. Jackson Joins Cast of 'Cell'". The Hollywood Reporter. Prometheus Global Media. Retrieved February 8, 2015. 
  13. ^ Fleming, Mike Jr. (February 5, 2014). "Isabelle Fuhrman Joins Stephen King's 'The Cell'". Deadline Hollywood. Penske Business Media. Retrieved February 8, 2015. 
  14. ^ McNary, Dave (February 6, 2014). "Berlin: Isabelle Fuhrman, Stacy Keach Join Stephen King Adaptation 'Cell'". Variety. Penske Business Media. Retrieved February 8, 2015. 
  15. ^ Fletcher, Rosie (February 18, 2016). "Cell is set to give a signal boost to a new kind of zombie movie". GamesRadar+. Future Publishing. Retrieved May 4, 2016. 
  16. ^ Logan, Elizabeth (February 5, 2015). "Clarius Entertainment Acquires 'Cell,' Starring John Cusack and Samuel L. Jackson". IndieWire. Penske Business Media. Retrieved March 30, 2016. 
  17. ^ "Stephen King's Cell No Longer Has US Distribution". Box Office Flops. December 10, 2015. Archived from the original on April 7, 2016. Retrieved March 30, 2016. 
  18. ^ "Cell (2016)". Film Ratings. Classification & Ratings Administration. Retrieved March 30, 2016. 
  19. ^ Unsworth, Martin (January 22, 2016). "PANDEMIC Added to Film4 FrightFest Glasgow". Starburst. Retrieved March 16, 2016. 
  20. ^ Calvario, Liz (June 14, 2014). "'Cell' Review Roundup: Critics Agree That The Stephen King Adaptation Is Unimpressive". IndieWire. Penske Business Media. Retrieved June 15, 2016. 
  21. ^ "Cell (2016)". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango. Retrieved April 9, 2018. 
  22. ^ "Cell Reviews". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved August 9, 2016. 
  23. ^ Grimm, Bob (June 14, 2014). "'Cell' Wastes Stephen King's Plot While Illustrating the Decline of John Cusack's Career". Coachella Valley Independent. Retrieved June 15, 2016. 
  24. ^ Craft, Corey (June 11, 2014). "FILM REVIEW: 'Cell'". artsBHAM. Archived from the original on June 13, 2016. Retrieved June 15, 2016. 
  25. ^ Lang, Nico (June 13, 2014). "A Stephen King adaptation that starts promising and devolves into nonsense". Consequence of Sound. Retrieved June 15, 2016. 
  26. ^ Cooper, Patrick (June 13, 2014). "Stephen King's 'Cell' Is Another Forgettable Adaptation". Bloody Disgusting. Retrieved June 15, 2016. 

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