Cinema Clips: Cell

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Remember when a Stephen King movie was an event? Remember when a John Cusack movie was an event? Heck, the John Cusack/Stephen King movie 1408 (2007) was actually pretty badass.

Here in 2016, the latest Cusack/King vehicle gets an On Demand release shortly before a limited theatrical run. Produced three years ago, this one was better off staying on the shelf, and is easily one of the worst King adaptations. Cusack, reteamed with his 1408 costar Samuel L. Jackson, plays Mike, a graphic artist estranged from his wife and son. Shortly after placing a call to them on an airport payphone, Mike witnesses cell phone users spazzing out and going into a zombie state as the result of some sort of pulse.

Director Tod Williams is utterly lost with this opportunity, making a humorless piece of horror satire wrought with lethargic performances, shoddy camerawork and terrible special effects. The origin of the “pulse” that sets off the zombie apocalypse is never fully explained, and no real villain is ever established. The ending is a confusing mishmash of three finales as if the director couldn’t make up his mind.

Cusack seems pissed to be in this thing, while Jackson is clearly bored and resigned to the fact that he signed up for a stinker. Eli Roth was the original director on this, and he left due to creative differences. Maybe he was arguing that a film like this should be crazy and even funny.

This one takes itself a little too seriously, and boasts some of the worst movie editing you are likely to see this year. The career of Cusack continues to spiral out of control, Nicholas Cage style (Available for rent on iTunes and On Demand before and during a limited theatrical release).

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