October has officially arrived, which means that horror movie fans have every reason to sit down in front of their screens, big and small, to enjoy the most creepy offerings of this year. Among the new releases that will appear on Netflix in October is “Mr. Harrigan’s Phone,” an adaptation of Stephen King’s novella, which is scheduled to be released on the streaming site on October 5. This horror film features Stephen King veterans such as Jayden Martell (“That’s It: Chapter Two”) and Donald Sutherland (the 2004 miniseries The Fate of Salem). the stalker.
“Mr. Harrigan’s Phone” tells the story of Craig (Jayden Martell), who gives his elderly friend Mr. Harrigan (Donald Sutherland) a mobile phone, and after the old man’s death, terrible things begin to happen with this technology. It’s usually a good sign when an author gives his approval, and Stephen King seems incredibly pleased with such a visualization, so let’s see if the critics agree. We’ll start with a review of CinemaBlend’s “Mr. Harrigan’s Phone,” where Eric Eisenberg gave it just 2 stars out of 5. He says that a story that works like a novella has difficulty translating it to the screen:
“Mr. Harrigan’s Phone” is not really one of King’s most cinematic stories, and the lack of action taken to correct this fact leads to problematic results. Namely, it’s a boring and lagging feature that tries to be both a coming-of-age drama and a supernatural horror movie, and ultimately fails to have an emotional impact in either genre.
Allison Degrouche of Distractify rates the film 2.5 stars out of 5, praising Spanish composer Javier Navarrete for the film’s music. As for the plot itself, the critic calls the film boring and says that there is practically nothing terrible in it. More from the review:
When it comes to a big discovery, it’s not at all surprising; in fact, it’s quite anti-climactic. After the tension around Mr. Harrigan’s posthumous influence on the world of the living has been whipped up, the boring ending of the film is a complete disappointment. There is no expected plot twist; therefore, we are left to drown in pure disappointment.
Frank Scheck of THR agrees that “Mr. Harrigan’s Phone” isn’t that scary, and says it’s a rare Stephen King story that gets less interesting as the horror builds. According to the critic:
The recent horror film “Black Phone” uses similar ideas, but in a much more intimidating form. Hancock just doesn’t seem to be very interested in developing the concept because of its frightening aspects, which, frankly, weren’t particularly well developed in King’s novella either. Instead, the film mostly gives the impression of a contemplative portrait of an unlikely friendship and a coming-of-age story in which a young man learns about the dangers of getting what he wants.
Megan Navarro of Bloody Disgusting rates the film 2.5 skulls out of 5, saying that the two halves of the film don’t come together as neatly as they should, and the film has difficulty when it loses Donald Sutherland. According to the critic:
Donald Sutherland ultimately serves as the glue that holds this function together. The full-time actor plays Martell well, and both manage to instill an emotional contribution to an eccentric friendship. There is a certain sweetness in this connection between the reclusive billionaire and the lost little boy, but Sutherland balances this sincere affection with hidden cruelty. This image sets up the entire back half as Mr. Harrigan teaches supernatural lessons in vindictiveness. But without Sutherland’s seriousness, [director John Lee Hancock] struggles to convey the horrors of karma or the double-edged sword of technology. The strong beginning narrows down to a quiet and uneven moral fable that is ultimately too vague to have an impact.
Chris Evangelista of SlashFilm rates the film slightly above average, at 6.5 out of 10, noting that although there are no screamers and ghouls of computer graphics in the film, horror is likely to break out in the dark of the night after the film ends. This critic appreciates the loyalty shown to Stephen King’s text, but says that director John Lee Hancock is unable to create the necessary fear or tension. As others have pointed out, this critic considers Donald Sutherland the highlight of this adaptation, saying:
But while Craig as a character is too loosely drawn, [Martell] does a great job of playing up the character’s growing fear. The real highlight, however, is Sutherland. Although his role is small, the actor, now in his “Lion in Winter” phase, appears to remind us that he still has. With a slight smile and a twinkle in his eyes, Sutherland can make Mr. Harrigan seem mischievous, warm and dangerous at the same time. It’s a stellar little performance and I wanted more.
If you want to watch “Mr. Harrigan’s Phone,” the movie will be available for streaming on a Netflix subscription on Wednesday, October 5th. In the meantime, check out the status of other upcoming Stephen King movies and TV series. Fans of the famous author will not want to miss our weekly column “Adaptation of Stephen King”, which is published every Wednesday and contains the full history of the author’s books that have been filmed and filmed on television.