We haven’t really mentioned Mr Harrigan’s Phone, since it kind of slipped us by, but it’s now streaming on Netflix, and here’s my review.
The movie stars Donald Sutherland and Jaeden Martell as the main players. The movie is based on a short story by Stephen King:
When Mr. Harrigan dies, the teen who befriended and did odd jobs for him, puts his smart phone in his pocket before burial and when the lonely youth leaves his dead friend a message, he is shocked to get a return text.
Basically, an old millionaire lives in a small town in the middle of the US. He pays a young lad to come over to read to him and, over the years, they become friends. The young lad learns that the old guy is a millionaire by crushing his enemies and he teaches the young lad to stand up for himself.
The young lad comes into some money and ends up giving the old man a mobile, or cell, phone. Eventually, the old man dies and then the lad is sad and calls his phone, just to hear his voice, he leaves a message only to get a text message in reply.
I will go into spoilers in a bit, but I will tag them.
The opening act of the movie is excellent. It really builds the relationship between the two and both Sutherland, who plays Harrigan, and Martell are excellent and play the characters really well.
The second act is also very good, where the young lad is dealing with the loss of his friend and also getting a text message from a dead man.
*Spoilers from here on in*
The third act is where it all falls down. If you have seen the trailer you will know that the young lad calls the dead man’s phone and leaves a message about being bullied at school. The next day, the bully dies in an ‘accident’.
This happens a second time, where the lad calls the dead man, asks him to kill someone else, and then that person dies. This was very intriguing and the trailer looked good, however, this never builds to anything!
Imagine having a phone that you could call a dead person to seek revenge on your enemies, cool right? But this side of the story doesn’t play out, it isn’t explained and just peters out toward the end.
The accidental deaths are obviously done by Harrigan, in fact, it is very well explained how each death is related to the young lad, but not in a way that would make him guilty, but details that he would only know about.
The trailer sold this as a horror, but the ‘from beyond the grave’ stuff wasn’t expanded upon, so it’s not really a horror.
The actual end of the movie has the kid throwing the phone into a lake, so he never uses it again, and he gives a monologue about letting go and moving on etc. This worked since the kid lost his mum at a young age, so it was nice he was getting closure on his friend and his mum.
The movie ended and the credits rolled and I was just annoyed that kind of nothing happened! I was completely invested in both characters until the last 10 minutes, which just kind of ended, with nothing about how the old man killed anyone.
*end of spoilers*
90% of this movie is very good, very well written and directed, but the last 10 minutes are a real letdown and that really annoyed me. I’m sure there might be something more deep and meaningful that I might have missed in the ending, but to me, it was a letdown and this isn’t the first time King has let me down.
Mr Harrigan’s Phone is a good movie, but very much let down by a very well ending. I won’t watch it again, which is a shame, coz with a good ending, this would have been an excellent movie.