Review by Camden Ferrell
Mr. Harrigan’s Phone is a drama film based on a Stephen King novella from his book If It Bleeds. This movie is written and directed by John Lee Hancock whose previous films consist of The Blind Side and The Little Things among others. The story has some intriguing characters, but its plot moves at a puzzling pace and ends before anything of substance really occurs or pays off.
Craig is a boy in a small town who befriends an old man, the mysterious and wealthy Mr. Harrigan. He reads books to him and bonds with him as he grows up and enters high school. They bond over their love of stories and eventually over the newly released iPhone. Once Mr. Harrigan passes, Craig notices some strange occurrences with his phone. This is an interesting premise for a movie and has a lot of potential for drama, horror, and shocking twists.
Hancock’s script is interesting at first but quickly loses quality as the plot meanders almost immediately. There are some decent interactions between the two main characters, and I enjoyed how their relationship was explored, but little was happening in the world around them, and it felt counterproductive to anything good that the script was doing otherwise. Aside from the scenes with Mr. Harrigan and Craig, everything else felt unnatural, forced, or rushed in comparison.
The acting in this movie was decent. It’s led by Jaeden Martell who is a talented young actor. However, this movie isn’t a great showcase for his acting. He works fine with Donald Sutherland as Mr. Harrigan, but everything else is average to above average. Sutherland is reserved yet surprisingly good despite barely moving in his scenes. The rest of the cast isn’t bad, but they are definitely forgettable above all else.
The strangest part of this movie is that it ends before it feels like things come to a head. This is partially due to the inciting incident happening so late into the movie, and it leads this movie to have odd pacing. Not fast or slow, just abnormal. The movie also doesn’t expand well enough on its supernatural aspects which make this movie feel like a tepid drama more than anything.
Mr. Harrigan’s Phone isn’t awful, but it certainly isn’t good. There are a few enjoyable moments, but it doesn’t outweigh all of its lackluster elements. Hancock’s direction is the same as its always been in his career, and that leads this to be a drama movie that doesn’t payoff for the viewer.
Mr. Harrigan’s Phone is streaming on Netflix October 5.