Stephen King has not finished feeding the 7th with his writings. Indeed, the author who made it possible to give birth to works such as The escapees or The Green Line, will allow John Lee Hancock to propose his adaptation of Mr. Harrigan’s phoneshort novel published in 2020 in the collection If it bleeds.
The filmmaker will direct Stephen King’s horror thriller in such a way as to remain faithful to the literary style of its original medium. We will have the opportunity to discover this from the quote of the writer Oscar Wilde who will contribute to the introduction of the footage, followed by the narrative voice-over of the main character Craig played by Jaeden Martell. In addition, the narrative will convey the passion for stories, the reading that will trigger the bond between Craig and Mr. Harrigan (Donald Sutherland). Indeed, the billionaire will ask Craig to read to him. A sharing around the novel allowing to shape their friendship.
This first part will therefore establish the link between the two main characters in order to give credibility to the disastrous fate of the old man. What will be interesting will be the writing of the characters of Craig and Mr. Harrigan. An artist tends to identify himself voluntarily or unconsciously through his creations. The master of horror literature will be no exception. Craig is the image of Stephen King in his childhood, because of his love for reading, wanting to write stories. It will however be contrasted by the character of Mr. Harrigan, who is the dismissal of the living Stephen King in our time. His advanced age brings criticism of screenwriters and the film industry, which echoes his disappointment with the adaptation of one of the greatest works of cinema that is none other as The Shining directed by Stanley Kubrick.
Despite his lack of interest in the digital age, Mr. Harrigan will discover the technology, before falling victim to it, being swallowed up by the speed of the flow of information from the capacities of the iPhone offered by Craig. Stephen King therefore illustrates his criticism of digital technology which crushes the paper medium through the connected object, reducing the passion for reading in favor of technological obsession. It will also deal with the theme of school harassment, again previously exposed in Carrie, at the devil’s ball and Thatconfirming the recurrence of this theme in the author.
After a first part with a strange atmosphere around this mysterious old man, we will have thearrival of the horrific thriller that will take place in the next act. The horror is going to be very soft in terms of presence and intensity, focusing around this cell phone that will be the junction between Craig and Mr. Harrigan. Confusing messages coming from the connected object of the deceased, taking on the dimension of a weapon, capable of doing “justice” in a morbid way provoked by Craig, which could make us think of the concept of the death note, namely to kill through an object. Nevertheless, this metaphor is not insignificant, because causing death through technology refers to its dangerousness and the harassment from social networks caused by its users.
Mr. Harrigan’s phone is a film that remains quite bad as a whole with certainly an interesting concept, but underexploited. Consequently the horrific potential is stifled, reduced to a horrific thriller without great ambition despite this engaged thematic on technological oppression causing detachment from reality.