‘M. Harrigan’s Phone’ – Movie Review: Stephen King and Ryan Murphy team up to give us a coming-of-age thriller, with a slight twist of horror

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Mr. Harrigan’s phone is a 2022 film directed by John Lee Hancock, featuring Jaeden Martell and Donald Sutherland. This horror thriller is currently streaming on Netflix.

It is based on the eponymous short story by Stephen King. Directed by Stephen King, Blumhouse Productions and, lately, seemingly ubiquitous ryan murphy.

Premise

In the small town of Harlow, Maine, a young boy, Craig, who recently lost his mother, is hired by an elderly, reclusive billionaire, Mr. Harrigan, to read to him after the old man overhears Craig reading a passage of the Bible during the mass. Over time, they form a bond over the books, and a few years into their friendship, Craig gives Mr. Harrigan a cell phone teaching him how to use it as well. When Mr. Harrigan dies, Craig keeps his number and discovers that not everything that died is gone, as he finds himself able to communicate with his friend from the grave via the cell phone that was buried with him.

Mr. Harrigan’s Phone (2022)

Film critic

This movie is hard to categorize, but after much discussion about it, we’ve concluded that it’s a coming-of-age horror thriller. It’s by no means a bad movie. It has it all, but it becomes a slightly underwhelming experience for those of us expecting something more dramatic; and viewers expecting a real shock of horror and fear will also wonder if this really bears the hallmark of Ryan Murphy.

The setting is set in a small town in Maine, a staple of King, which we were thrilled with, along with the many early literary references and metaphors throughout (as was done in Storm of the Century).

At its head we have the veteran, John Lee Hancock, who once again does his job so well that he is imperceptible in the room (this is a compliment to his work as a director). Everything in this film is in its place, without the need to “play” to stand out. It is a film that is balanced in all its facets.

Counting on the über-charismatic Donald Sutherland, whose presence raises our expectations significantly, and whose mere appearance gives the film that exclusivity it thrives on, to a large extent for us old-timers among the audience, even after the death of the character played by Sutherland. The young actor Mart Jaedento oneplays its role well and knows how to carry the character of the protagonist in a convincing way.

At the risk of stating the obvious, we’ll add that it’s hard not to think about the recent release The black phone book, based on the novel by Joe Hill (King’s son) and also produced by Blumhouse; because the two films return to the same theme, technology as a means of communication with the other side.

It’s a weird movie that can’t be said to have blown us away or be the most terrifying we’ve seen. But there’s something special about it, although that special factor is blurred by a certain classicism that ultimately denies the film precisely its less traditional trait.

Our opinion

A movie that’s woven like a drama, or maybe a drama that’s undercover like a horror movie and therefore, doesn’t provide the expected scares. As a horror thriller, there’s nothing particularly noteworthy about it, but if we look closely enough and consider its metaphorical take, there’s more substance to it than is immediately apparent.

Release date

October 5, 2022.

Where to watch Mr. Harrigan’s phone’

Netflix

Direction

John Lee Hancock

John Lee Hancock

John Lee Hancock, Jr. (born December 15, 1956) is an American screenwriter, director and producer. He is best known for directing the sports drama films The Rookie and The Blind Side. Description above taken from Wikipedia article John Lee Hancock, licensed under CC-BY-SA, full list of contributors at Wikipedia

Cast

See full credits >>

Mr. Harrigan’s phone

Mr. Harrigan's phone

Movie title: Mr. Harrigan’s phone

Description of the movie: In the small town of Harlow, Maine, a young boy, Craig, who recently lost his mother, is hired by an elderly, reclusive billionaire, Mr. Harrigan, to read to him after the old man overhears Craig reading a passage of the Bible during the mass. Over time, they form a bond over the books, and a few years into their friendship, Craig gives Mr. Harrigan a cell phone teaching him how to use it as well. When Mr. Harrigan dies, Craig keeps his number and discovers that not everything that died is gone, as he finds himself able to communicate with his friend from the grave via the cell phone that was buried with him.

Date published: October 5, 2022

Country: United States

Duration: 1h 45m

Author: Veronica Loop

Director(s): John Lee Hancock

Actors): Jaeden Martell, Donald Sutherland, Joe Tippett, Kirby Howell-Baptiste, Cyrus Arnold, Colin O’Brien, Thomas Francis Murphy, Peggy J. Scott, Alexa Shae Niziak, Polly Kreisman

Gender: Horror, Thriller

Our opinion

A movie that’s woven like a drama, or perhaps a drama that’s undercover like a horror movie and therefore, doesn’t provide the anticipated scares. As a horror thriller, there’s nothing particularly noteworthy about it, but if we look closely enough and consider its metaphorical take, there’s more substance to it than is immediately apparent.

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