Mr. Harrigan’s Phone Review: A thriller about the horrors of phone addiction

Stephen King’s works are full of all kinds of unforgettable monsters and villains. The likes of the man in black, the clown Pennywise, and Jack Torrance are ingrained in pop culture. In the latest cinematic adaptation, though, the villain isn’t a man at all: he’s an object. Mr. Harrigan’s phone It is a horror story about your smartphone addiction.

This review contains spoilers for Mr. Harrigan’s phone (book and movie).

Based on the short story of the same name from the collection King’s 2020 If it bleedsAnd the Mr. Harrigan’s phone (Written and directed by John Lee Hancock) follows the story of a young boy named Craig (Jaden Martell, perhaps best known for his adaptation of Another King, with Modern He. She Movies) who lives with one father (Joe Tibbett). After his mother’s death, Craig takes a job reading books aloud a few days a week to an elderly billionaire (Donald Sutherland), who for some reason lives in a small New England town where he has no family or business ties.

The movie begins in 2003 and then skips four years to the time Craig becomes hyper-focused on a particular target of desire: the brand-new iPhone just launched. His high school has whole smartphone fever, so much so that cafeteria tables are divided by brand; A table for Razr fans and another for the Apple crew.

(King fans who are currently reading his latest novels, fairy taleyou will probably feel déjà vu, as in this book also About a young boy who loses his mother and continues to work for a strange old man. Thank God the stories diverge from there.)

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During that time, Craig and Mr. Harrigan formed a quiet type of friendship. They meet several times a week, talk about books and life, and Mr. Harrigan sends him a card with a scratch card inside four times a year. For Christmas 2007, Craig got a pretty good deal: Not only did his dad get an iPhone so he could sit at a cold table, but also, after years of failing, a scratch card from Mr. Harrigan won $3,000. As a sign of his appreciation, Craig spent some of his windfall profits on his boss’ iPhone.

The thing about Mr. Harrigan is that it’s kind of a technology. He doesn’t keep a TV or even a radio at home because he knows he’s going to waste a lot of time with them. But he’s also a financial therapist (albeit retired) who keeps busy trading stocks. So when his young employee shows him the stock iPhone app, where his numbers move in near real time, Mr. Harrigan becomes dumbfounded. And once he realizes he can get it The The Wall Street Journal Articles the moment they are published rather than waiting for the newspaper the next day, his focus becomes something of an obsession. (He also predicts many seemingly prescient things now, such as the rise of bots, conspiracy theories, and unpaid walls.)

About a third of the way through the movie – this is technically a spoiler, so be careful, but it’s very clearly designed from the start and also appears in the trailers – Mr. Harrigan is dead. In a strange and spontaneous act, Craig slips his friend’s iPhone into the casket before he is buried, ensuring his smartphone addiction continues into the afterlife. And that’s right here Mr. Harrigan’s phone It moves from a quiet, contemplative story about friendship across generations to a thrilling one with potential supernatural elements.

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While Craig mourns the death of his friend, he is also intimidated by a maniacal bully (Cyrus Arnold). To make matters more frustrating, Mr. Harrigan was the kind of person Craig would come to for advice in only these kinds of situations; He was a good friend but also a totally ruthless businessman, the kind who knows how to stop people from taking advantage of him. So despite being buried deep in the earth, Craig calls Mr. Harrigan’s phone to leave a message, and… strange things begin to happen. He receives strange texts from Mr. Harrigan’s number, and in the end, it’s more like the things he asks from his deceased friend are starting to come true. Brutal justice is administered with a mysterious hand. This continues in more extreme ways as the story progresses.

Jaden Martell and Donald Sutherland in Mr. Harrigan’s phone.
Photo: Netflix

part of making Mr. Harrigan’s phone The work is how her fears slowly and steadily accumulate. It’s not a traditional type of horror filled with a lot of ghosts and monsters but instead takes something we know well – the smartphone – and turns it into a potential target of horror. With each new episode, you worry about what’s going to happen, and you don’t really know what’s going to happen next, which is what gives the movie its tension. Nor does it suffer from the bloat of quoting King novels. It’s a short story that fits perfectly within the film’s runtime limit of approximately 100 minutes.

If there’s one area where the movie struggles – and the same should be noted for the story it’s based on – it’s the ending. The story builds and develops by…just kind of fade away. In some ways, the conclusion is appropriate, as it keeps supernatural questions open to interpretation. But it also makes things feel a touch unfinished. The well-paced thriller ends on a steady note, and it steadfastly refuses to reveal its biggest secret.

Mr. Harrigan’s phone It may not be quite as memorable as some of King’s most famous stories. It’s hard to imagine it piercing the public consciousness like curry or He. She. But it’s also a great display of some of the writer’s lesser-known strengths: building strong relationships between characters and bringing a new sense of awe to everyday objects or moments. Mr. Harrigan’s phone It might not scare you right now, but it made me jump the next time I heard my phone ring.

Mr. Harrigan’s phone It starts streaming on Netflix on October 5th.

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