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Splintering Cell

Cell Review

Adapted from a Stephen King novel of the same name, Cell follows an aspiring graphic novelist and estranged father/husband (John Cusack) who, with the help of a stranger (Samuel L Jackson), attempts to locate his family after a zombie outbreak is triggered by cellphones. Equal parts unoriginal and intriguing, Cell introduces interesting concepts to the zombie sub genre while also delivering on the regular tropes.

The film is respectfully based on a novel that precedes most films that it shares connections with. The zombie trigger reminds me of Kingsman, while their behavior reminds me of 28 Days Later meets Pontypool. In these ways, the film doesn't feel very original despite the novel being the most original piece of the proverbial puzzle. Unfortunately, it is about 8 years too late.

That said, I appreciated the time the film spent on analyzing and theorizing zombie behavior, the origins of the outbreak, and methods of survival and fighting back. Like World War Z, which also spent much of its runtime addressing the situation like a global plague to be survived and solved, Cell chooses to engage the audience with at least some degree of psychological and intellectual content.

Perhaps one of the more unique attributes of the film is the treatment of human interaction as the outbreak begins. Instead of humanity turning on each other, the film almost entirely focuses on people assisting and collaborating with one another. It was a breath of fresh air, in that there is plenty in the film to worry about without humanity going insane and turning on each other...Which I suppose is ironic coming from a King adaptation. Nonetheless, if I were to take anything away from this film as a standalone quality, however unbelievable and even dull the approach may be, it was that there was hope in humanity's treatment of one another in a state of catastrophe.

The film, unlike most King adaptations, didn't struggle with translating the material...for the most part. Cell introduces the usual psychological component that is a trait of every King novel, in which reality is bent around the mind of at least one of its protagonists. But rather than constantly struggling with the adaptation of the novel's reality, this is much easier to follow with kudos to the director. But...King's mind can be held back from his films for only so it starts to unravel in the waning moments of the climax. And we are all lost to the whims of the chaos.

Horror Qualifier: 8/10

Horror Quality: 5/10

Film Quality: 5/10

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