Friday, October 7, 2022

Ominous October - Mr. Harrigan's Phone (2022)

Streaming Service: Netflix
Movie Name/Year: Mr. Harrigan’s Phone (2022)
Genre: Horror
Length: PG-13
Rating: 1h 44min
Production/Distribution: Blumhouse Productions, Ryan Murphy Productions, Netflix
Director: John Lee Hancock
Writer: John Lee Hancock, Stephen King
Actors: Donald Sutherland, Jaeden Martell, Kirby Howell-Baptiste, Joe Tippett, Cyrus Arnold, Iván Amaro Bullón, Thomas Francis Murphy, Colin O’Brien
Blurb from IMDb: When Mr. Harrigan dies, the teen who befriended and did odd jobs for him, puts his smart phone in his pocket before burial and when the lonely youth leaves his dead friend a message, he is shocked to get a return text.

Selina’s Point of View:
It’s hard to say what I make of Mr. Harrigan’s Phone.
It was a slow burn, mostly narrated. There were some social implications, and it was a bit preachy in parts. It was also very much a Stephen King (Mr. Mercedes, Castle Rock, Firestarter) story. The obligatory bully. The odd protagonist. An ending that borders on unfulfilling. I’ll admit that I suspect there’s a lot more depth in the original story. I haven’t read it, but the way some of the actors chose to play their characters indicated that there might be some insight in the novel that wasn’t utilized for the film.
The structure was also a little off. It felt like a horror story told by someone while drunk. It lingered in areas that didn’t matter and gave less answers than it should have. It also included characters that were completely inconsequential – again, I suspect that’s an adaptation issue.

All that said, I was never bored. I was able to pay attention and I had an investment in the story. I may even buy the short story and give it a read.  
The issues I have lead me to believe that my problem is not with Mr. Harrigan’s Phone. I think it’s with this adaptation. I could be wrong. The original story could have the same issues, but I’m guessing the problems come in the translation of page to screen.
Would you like Mr. Harrigan’s Phone? I think that depends completely on why you watch horror films. If you’re watching horror because of the thrill that comes with a quick burst of adrenaline, then you likely won’t enjoy this film. If you tend to prefer story-based horror flicks, ones that are more about examining the nature of humanity and are subtle with their supernaturality, then Mr. Harrigan’s Phone could be up your alley.
Either way, it’s not the kind of movie I want to watch around Halloween. It just doesn’t have that vibe.

Cat’s Point of View:
I may have mentioned it before, but just in case I haven’t – I’m a fan of Stephen King. That being said, I’m all too familiar with the adaptations of his work. Some are definitely more successful than others. Then, too, are the ones that King hasn’t liked, but audiences have really enjoyed – such as The Shining (1980).
Confession time. I haven’t read King’s story that Mr. Harrigan’s Phone was adapted from. Unfortunately, for that reason, I really couldn’t speak to whether or not this interpretation did justice to the written word. I’ve read King’s novels for the most part and haven’t delved into his shorter works yet.
My reaction to Mr. Harrigan’s Phone is purely from my experience with this Netflix Original movie.
Unfortunately, I can’t say that this was the most enjoyable translation from the written word to the screen.

Don’t get me wrong, though, the performances were all on point. It was worth the time spent just to watch (and listen to) Donald Sutherland (American Hangman, The Undoing, Moonfall). I’ve also been impressed with Jaeden Martell’s (The Lodge, Knives Out, Metal Lords) work thus far. They both brought depth to this production.
The production quality was generally fine, as well.
Where I feel that Mr. Harrigan’s Phone falls a bit short was, perhaps, in the production choices regarding length, and the like. They took a short story and padded it out into the screenplay for a nearly 2-hour movie. A good half-hour or more could have been trimmed and the overall experience would have probably worked better. It was hard to stay focused and invested in what was going on. Then again, at the same time, that’s almost ironic given the message of the actual story.
Mr. Harrigan’s Phone fell into the ‘it was okay’ category for me. I can’t say that I’ll remember details about it down the road, but I’m not upset that I watched it. Anyone looking for thrilling scares during the Halloween season might look to a different title, however.

Rotten Tomatoes Critic Score – 38%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score – 61%
Metascore – 55%
Metacritic User Score – 6.5
IMDB Score –6.0/10
Trust the Dice: Selina’s Rating 2.5/5
Trust the Dice: Cat’s Rating 3/5
Movie Trailer:

No comments:

Post a Comment