Critic Consensus: Shoddily crafted and devoid of suspense, Cell squanders a capable cast and Stephen King's once-prescient source material on a bland rehash of zombie cliches.
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Critic Reviews for Cell
This is the undead equivalent of fast food. Some might find comfort in all these known quantities. Those looking for anything of substance would do better to wait for an upgrade.
What makes this movie about a zombie attack different from any other movie about a zombie attack? Nothing but its ineptitude.
The concept of humankind turning into one enormous mobile hotspot for use by an evil mastermind has legs. It's too bad Cell cuts the idea off at the knees.
Even if it weren't cheap-looking and dreary, "Cell" would still be hobbled by an entertainment landscape already lousy with zombies, and a hive-mind premise that - at least metaphorically - has been all but realized.
Even King's commentary on how cyber-connectivity breeds brainlessness feels shoehorned-in - mostly limited to a few lines from a snooty private-school administrator played by Stacy Keach.
Not a polished work of filmmaking. Some of the nighttime scenes are so poorly lit it's difficult to tell what's happening. The editing is ragged and adds to the confusion. More than a few of the supporting performances are embarrassingly amateurish.
Audience Reviews for Cell
I've never read Cell, so I'm not sure if this is an accurate adaptation of a bad Stephen King book, or just another inaccurate adaptation of a Stephen King book. But either way, it's bad. For a decent Cusack/Jackson team up in a King adaptation, just watch 1408.
Well, how about that - there's lots of interesting stuff here. I should always remember to heed the advice of messers Mark Kermode and Kim Newman and pay less attention to the Rotten Tomatoes score. Cell's biggest issue is it's obviously meagre budget vs it's ambition and ideas. It's a very weird film, with some strange, funny moments and some surprisingly moments of levity and beauty. It has the same essence of the Stephen King book but is also radically different (it's its own thing). Colour me surprised. I enjoyed Cell, quite a bit.
In this corner, Stephen King, perhaps America's premier horror writer. And in the other, zombies, America's favorite horror genre of the moment. Put these two together and there's gonna be some major sparks, baby, or at least that's what you'd think. Maybe it's what Stephen thought when he put this together. Or maybe it's what somebody, maybe his agent or his manager, told him. Whatever the case, it just doesn't happen, the premise not jelled enough at the source. And even though Cusack and Jackson have good chemistry together (they' ve done the Stephen King thing before, and swimmingly, 1408), there's not enough good chem in the world to make this clunker click. Oh well.
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