One of the worst Stephen King adaptations ever, Cell details the chaos that unfolds after a mysterious mobile-phone signal turns users into blood-thirsty, mindless zombies – with the narrative following a small collection of survivors (John Cusack’s Clay, Samuel L. Jackson’s Tom, Isabelle Fuhrman’s Alice, and Owen Teague’s Jordan) as they attempt to make their way to safety. Cell announces its less-than-competent atmosphere right from the get-go, as the movie, which suffers from the most low-rent opening credits one could possibly envision, kicks off with a depressingly underwhelming sequence detailing the initial transformation (and attack) by the aforementioned zombies – with director Tod Williams’ flat-out incompetent approach draining this interlude of the visceral excitement it should’ve possessed (ie the shaky camerawork, overuse of zooms, and rapid-fire editing renders this portion of the proceedings unintelligible). From there, Cell segues into an episodic midsection that consists of one hopelessly underwhelming and downright tedious segment after another – with the far-from-engrossing vibe compounded by a series of lazy, directionless acting turns. (Cusack, unfortunately, delivers what just might be the worst performance of his career here.) And although the film boasts a very small handful of effective scenes (eg Clay laments his decision to leave his wife and son years earlier), Cell builds towards a climax that’s almost laughably incoherent and devoid of context or meaning – with the baffling final few minutes certainly confirming the movie’s place as a wretched and wholly disastrous horror flick.
* out of ****