With news of Cell, the bestseller from ‘The King of Horror’ Stephen King, heading to our screen, we quickly found the book in a charity shop and gave it a read, to find out if it will be a great movie.
Of course, reading the book will not tell us what the film will be like, King’s works have ranged from the excellent such as Misery; Stand By Me and The Mist to the not so good, which we have to include The Mangler; Dreamcatcher and of course those that have nothing to even do with the book such as The Running Man and The Lawnmower Man, which is so different, King is only credited for the film’s title!
With Cell, we do not know much about the film, it has 2 great leads in John Cusack and Samuel L. Jackson but is being directed by Tod Williams, best known for Paranormal Activity 2.
One positive however is King is working on the screenplay, but this was in part due to the demand of the readers, who had complaints about the books ending, so he has written a new ending just for the film.
So what is the book about? Simply put a phone signal, known as the pulse, sends a signal to every person that has a phone turned on, which turns them into a zombie-like killing machine.
Luckily for Clay, an illustrator, has been at a job interview so his cell was turned off at the time of the pulse.
Clay (who will be played by Cusack in the film) witnesses the pulse in its full terror when he stops to buy an ice cream! He sees some of those affected by the pulse attack each other, including a rather nasty attack on a dog.
We are hoping that no dogs will be attacked in the film, as the opening sequence from the book is being changed from a busy city to an Airport. We don’t normally see many dogs at airports so paws crossed for no dog attacks.
Clay meets up with Tom (played by Jackson in the movie) and Alice (played by Isabelle Fuhrman in the movie) a young girl who has lost her mother, these 3 are known as ‘Normies’ so those who are not affected by the pulse and therefore are not ‘Phone-Crazies’
Clay, plans to head north, in the hope that his estranged wife and son are still alive. As they head out on their journey, they notice the ‘phone-crazies’ might just not be as crazy as they thought.
A sequence where they stay at a school with only a headmaster called Charles (played by Stacy Keach in the film) and a 12-year-old maths genius called Jordan, remain as Normies.
Jordan (Played by Owen Teague by in the film) shows how the phone-crazies are evolving using telepathy and shared thinking.
The film also has a villain who appears in dreams, who is known as the Raggedy man, but characters refer to as the king of the Internet. The raggedy man has been controlling their minds, making them confuse real life with dreams, which adds to the ‘normies’ misfortunes.
Clay finds 2 notes from his estranged wife and son at his hometown, but the notes have told him they have moved onto Kashwak, a cell phone dead zone. Clay, whilst now having hope they are still alive, is also fully aware this could be a trap from the raggedy man, leading to the books climax at a fairground where Clay hopes to put an end to the pulse and find his family again.
Like all King books, this is a good page turned, with comparisons being made to another of his books The Stand. Whilst we enjoyed the book, the film appears to be very low budget, with talk of it even heading direct to video following very poor reviews.
It is a shame but for a story, that may appear similar to The Happening amongst others, as well as other actual zombie survival tales such as World War z and of course, TV’s The Walking Dead, it would already have to be pretty special to win people over.
The book certainly has plenty of tense stand-offs between the ‘Normies’ and ‘Phone-Crazies’ which could lead to some great scenes if done well enough.
Another positive for the film is last time Jackson and Cusack teamed up for a King adaptation, it was for 1408, one of the better King movies so we certainly think we will give it a go, upon its UK release on the 26th August at cinemas and on demand.
You can watch the film’s trailer here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FhvkSdPQqd8
Have you read Cell? Are you looking forward to its movie adaptation? What is your favourite King book to screen so far, and worse? We would love to hear from you here at Barking Mad About Films
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