Mr. Harrigan's Phone: A bad adaptation of an unpopular Stephen King novella  

Mr. Harrigan's Phone: A bad adaptation of an unpopular Stephen King novella   

Stephen King needs no introduction. He is the master of horror storytelling. His numerous horror novels and stories sent shivers down readers' spines for decades. His works have been adapted into movies and TV shows since the '70s, and many are excellent examples of the best horror movies, such as Carrie, Pet Cemetery, The Shining, It, and so on.

One of his unfinished novellas, Mr. Harrigan's Phone, was recently released as a Netflix film adaptation. But this film is not so good; it lacks creativity, is predictable, and fails to be equivalent to other successful Stephen King adaptations.

The plot of the film is quite bland. It can be summarised like this - a dead old friend of a teenager takes revenge on whoever tormented him.

The two key characters in this film are Craig and Mr. Harrigan, a successful old businessman who retired to a small town. Craig worked for Harrigan by reading books for him. Through the years, they form a friendship as Harrigan becomes more senile and Craig grows up as a high school teenager.

Like every other young person, Craig is immersed in the smartphone culture. He saves up some money and gifts Old Harrigan an iPhone. After some days, Harrigan passes away peacefully, and as a token of friendship, Craig puts his phone in his coffin at the funeral.

Strange things started to happen after that. To cope with the loss, Craig dials Harrigan's phone and sends him voice messages whenever he feels sad. Whenever Craig complains about someone in the voice mail, they die by suicide.

So how is Harrigan's spirit taking revenge against Craig's tormentors? What is the connection between him and the phone? Craig seeks answers and becomes entangled in even more mystery in the process.

Mr. Harrigan's Phone could be a well-made horror movie, but its creation was short-sighted from the beginning. The novella wasn't certainly Stephen King's best work; it was written unfinished long ago and published very recently as one of the stories in the collection If It Bleeds.

As a result, the novella and the Netflix adaptation lack King's classic spine-chilling horror elements and have a weak plot. Moreover, the film felt more like a mystery thriller than a horror movie. Adding drama elements would have been nice, but they weren't there.

Netflix has been adapting King's works for a long time, such as Gerald's Game, In the Tall Grass, etc. As Netflix chose one of the least favourite pieces of King literature to be adapted, even casting Jaeden Martell (who also acted in It) and veteran actor Donald Sutherland's decent acting wasn't enough to save the film.

The film's poor reception should be a reminder that not every literary work is meant to be adapted.

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