Cell review – Stephen King zombie satire lacks a pulse

John Cusack and Samuel L Jackson are phoning it in as survivors of a crisis that turns mobile users into mindless grunts

Anyone who’s seen a city pavement crammed with people stumbling along staring at their phones might have noticed a new opportunity for zombie satire. But this doesn’t quite cut it. It is an adaptation of a Stephen King novel from 2006 all about a sudden “pulse” that zaps into people’s brains through their mobile phones while they’re talking, turning them into zombies. 

John Cusack plays one of the survivors whose phone battery ran out just before the terrible moment, and Samuel L Jackson is someone in the same boat. (The novel was written before smartphones were commonplace – at least chatting on the phone involves non-zomboid human interaction.) 

For all the supposed tech satire, this is really just another zombie film, and like all zombie films it involves a bunch of silly-looking extras stumbling around yelping and gurning covered in yucky fake blood; zombie extras always make even the best of the genre look like student films. 

Cusack and Jackson aren’t on their finest acting form, and this is one to forget.


Peter Bradshaw

The GuardianTramp

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