RSS

Tag Archives: Stephen King

Movie Review: Cell

Cell

Released: 2016
Genre: Science Fiction / Horror
IMDB Rating: 4.5 / 10

In the 28 years that I have been on this Earth I have learnt many things, not least of which is the fact that it is incredibly difficult to adapt a Stephen King novel to film. Take It for example – a brilliant movie (well, miniseries), but not entirely faithful to its source novel (although, to be fair, it would be illegal to adapt at least 70% of the novel to film). Misery is another one – a good film, but one where it loses its punch because you can’t take half of the main character’s inner dialogue (which drove a lot of the story) and put it on screen.

Knowing these things I went into Cell with an open mind. I’ve read, and thoroughly enjoyed, the novel but wanted to be open to what the movie would do with its source material. It doesn’t deserve the outright panning it’s received from many critics, but it’s not without its problems either.

Surely this many men don't speak on their phones at urinals?

Surely this many men don’t speak on their phones at urinals?

The Plot

Clay Riddell has just received some very good news: someone has just offered to publish his graphic novel series with options for movies, games, the works. Since the Universe must keep balance in all things, however, Clay’s good news must be balanced against some bad to restore a natural equilibrium; in this instance the bad news is the almost complete annihilation of the human race as we know it by way of “The Pulse”.

“The Pulse” is a transmission broadcast over cellphones, turning anyone who uses their phone to make a call into a mindless, rage-filled lunatic (think 28 Days Later but with electronics instead of rabid monkeys kicking things off). Clay is caught in the middle of the initial outbreak and meets up with Tom and Alice. Together, the three will try and trek across the country to help Clay find his wife and son, who he was speaking to on the phone just before The Pulse hit.

The tricky part here is that people affected by The Pulse aren’t your typical zombies, and instead work as a hive mind and play to very different and rapidly changing rules of engagement. It’ll take everything Clay and Co. have to outsmart, outrun and out-blowup the increasingly large and aggressive hoard of phoners.

That feeling when it's yet another telemarketer offering you something.

That feeling when it’s yet another telemarketer offering you something.

The Visuals

Let’s go with 80% good and 20% meh.

Because the movie opens at the beginning of the apocalypse all you really have to do is trash a few neighbourhoods and it’ll all look relatively convincing. Also, because you aren’t dealing with actual zombies that decay a few white contact lenses, some dirt and some blood, and the occasional fake bone sticking out of a leg will suffice. So long as you have enough extras to fill out the scenes, you’ll be good.

On the downside there clearly wasn’t an awful lot of money for CGI work. The movie doesn’t make use of it an awful lot so it’s not a constant in-your-face problem, but since it’s used so scarcely I would argue then that it’s worth doing right. I’m not asking that you set actual office blocks or soccer fields full of people on fire for the sake of realism, just hire someone who can do a convincing job of it.

Dear Movie: This guy was important in the novel.

Dear Movie: This guy was really important in the novel.

The Feelings

Neither here nor there.

As a novel Cell was both an excellent horror story and social commentary. The phoners and what drives them were nicely revealed as the story progressed, as was their rapid evolution and the characters’ responses thereto.

As a movie Cell retains just enough from its source material to warrant the title and the tagline “based on the novel by Stephen King”. If you’re in the mood for a slightly above-average techno horror on a Sunday afternoon then you could do far worse than this. If you’re looking to watch a faithful adaptation of Stephen King’s novel and the exclusion of important details and plot devices from said novel will make you angry and write things you shouldn’t on internet notice boards, then maybe give this one a miss.

My Final Rating: 6 / 10
Buy Cell at Amazon.com

TRAILER

Advertisements
 
Leave a comment

Posted by on June 19, 2016 in Movie Review

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

Movie Review: Sometimes They Come Back…

Sometimes They Come Back

Released: 1991
Genre: Thriller / Horror
IMDB Rating: 5.7 / 10

I’m going through a bit of a 90s thing at the moment with the movies I want to watch, and after spending 14 hours in a movie marathon with Tropical Mary I thought ahead to what I would need to soothe my soul: Sometimes They Come Back…

Since everyone needs a little Stephen King in their lives I felt this was a good choice. I recall watching at least part of it in my pre-teen years (which speaks volumes about what my parents allowed me to watch as a child, but that’s a story for another day) but time had robbed me of all memories of the story. With Ibuprofen in one hand, the remote in the other hand, and a silent prayer that the sugar-comedown-headache would remain at bay, I sat down to enjoy this little romp with 60s misfits and 90s hair.

Sometimes They're Born With It, Sometimes It's Maybelline

Sometimes They’re Born With It, Sometimes It’s Maybelline

The Plot

Jim Norman is just your typical school teacher moving back to the hometown he grew up in and where his older brother was brutally murdered in order to get a fresh start after the little “incident” with a student at the last school he taught at saw him get run out of Chicago. These are the points on which the entire movie spins.

When he was 9 Jim and his brother Wayne decided to take a shortcut to the library through a train tunnel, only to be stopped and harassed by a group of angry rejects from Grease. What started out as some mild intimidation at knife-point over some spare change in Jim’s pocket quickly escalated into a stabbing incident in which Wayne was accidentally murdered. As the four greasers tried to make their getaway a train decided it wanted to use the tunnel – problem was, none of the greasers could find the car key. In a swift move of karmic retribution three of the four were killed when the train plowed into the car, leaving Jim safe but otherwise brotherless and emotionally crippled.

Flash forward to our old future in 1991 and some very strange things are happening at Jim’s new teaching job. If 90s horror has taught me anything it’s that the American public school system is a fuck up, but even by those standards the dead shouldn’t be popping up to try and finish high school, which is what’s happening here. Every time one of Jim’s students mysteriously disappears one of the dead greasers magically appears in his class to take their place. At first Jim thinks it’s a coincidence, but it quickly becomes apparent that these three undead hooligans want an opportunity to relive the day of their deaths in hopes that they’ll be able to change the outcome.

And God help anyone or Jim’s only son who Jim’s used as an outlet for his internalised trauma for the past 27 years who tries to get in the greasers’ way…

A metaphor for the American Dream.

A metaphor for the American Dream.

The Visuals

Since this was a made-for-TV movie back in the day you can imagine that those in charge of making it weren’t exactly given pillow sacks full of money to hit one another with, but what they did get they put to good use.

Although any video store back in the day would’ve been right to put their copy in the horror section, Sometimes They Come Back… is really more a thriller with supernatural elements than an out-and-out horror. The movie doesn’t rely heavily on special effects (and where it does use them these are competent but in that particularly shiny way that only the 90s was able to pull off) and only uses makeup a handful of times to show the greasers in their undead form.

Outside of that there’s 90s hair and fashion sense aplenty, but largely the movie relies on atmosphere and tension to see itself through. This means that the whole film is quite tame by modern standards, but is still a lot of fun to watch if you can enjoy it for what it is at the time it was made.

Even your mother wouldn't love this face.

Even his mother wouldn’t love this face.

The Feelings

Soothed.

Like I said, I had this movie on standby in order to aid my recovery and nestle me while my liver and kidneys slowly got rid of the excess sugar pumping through my system. In that way, it was exactly what I needed.

Sometimes They Come Back… isn’t an amazing movie, and those who don’t have an affinity for the time period will likely find it a bit dated. That said it’s a very competent movie that makes for ideal watching on a Sunday afternoon when you don’t really want to tax your brain too much. If you find it in a discount DVD bin somewhere I would suggest picking it up and keeping it aside for those moments when you just need that little bit of old-school horror realness in your life.

My Final Rating: 6 / 10
Buy Sometimes They Come Back… at Amazon.com

TRAILER

 
11 Comments

Posted by on March 21, 2016 in Movie Review

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,