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Cell


Oh my, what a mess.

Based on one of Stephen King's more recent books, which was a fun, lightweight and short (for King!) thriller, CELL is a misfire on nearly every level.

The film opens well, with graphic artist Clay Riddell (John Cusack) in an airport, surrounded by thousands of strangers on their cell phones.

When a mysterious pulse signal broadcasts to every phone in the world at once and turns everyone with a phone in the ear into a bloodthirsty, mindless zombie, the airport turns into a killing field.

The entire opening ten minutes shows real promise, from the first frames until the airplanes spinning into the tarmac in a massive explosion.

And then the film begins a fast downward spiral into pathetic, predictable and boring plot lines.

Samuel L. Jackson is normally a fine actor, but his role is so poorly written here, he's rendered helpless, spewing clever lines that dont ring true.

As Riddell and a small band of survivors battle the phone zombies on a quest to get to a cell free sanctuary, the film slowly evolves into an all too literal and clumsy allegory about cell phones turning us into zombies, blah blah.....

Especially surprising is the fact that the film is co-written by King himself. With this and "Maximum Overdrive" on his screenwriting credits, I think one of my favorite writers should stick to novels, where he excels.

Cusack is one note.

It feels like every scene that fleshed out the villain in a way we would have some feeling of motivation or clarity, was left on the editing room floor.

The final reel has some startling visuals, especially the human carousel of zombies circling the tower by the thousands, but the final 5 minutes is one of the worst endings since "Jaws:The Revenge" leaving you muttering "what the hell...?" as the credits roll.

When this didn't receive a theatrical release and went right to iTunes and Pay-Per-View, it should have been a louder clue of just what an ill-conceived bomb it is.

CELL is a wrong number on every level and gets a D.

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