Review: Mr. Harrigan's Phone

A lesser known novella of Stephen King, Mr Harrigan's Phone is adapted from a mere 75 pages into a Netflix film.

Sarah Tunstall
27th October 2022
Image Credit: IMDb
Mr. Harrigan’s Phone has already become a film that has been approached with mere confusion by the press. Why does it end that way? Why isn’t it scary? I thought there was going to be a weird creepy old man when really, it’s an inhibited Donald Sutherland with a lot of opinions. 

When watching this film, you must go into it being aware that its production does not equate to what you expect from a King horror film. The jump scares and horror factor has no parallel to other adaptions such as It or Kubrick’s The Shining but instead there are none at all, and the film is more of a ghost story.

Set during the early 2000s just as the iPhone is invented, the story follows Craig who, in the beginning, deals with grief from losing his mother and coming to terms with it as a young child. As he starts his job reading three times a week for Mr. Harrigan, keeping him company in later years, the two form an unlikely friendship. This eventually leads Craig to buy his employer an iPhone, so he isn’t as alone in his older years. A device that becomes the centre of paranormal activity within the film.

Starring Jaeden Martell as the protagonist, Craig (otherwise seen as ‘young’ Bill in the new adaption of It) and Donald Sutherland as Mr. Harrigan himself the two actors do exceptionally well at representing the relationship between the two characters, making the film go further than a typical horror adaption and I loved the connection that they managed to bring forward to the screen.

I feel restricted in where I go with this review because I’m aware that if you haven’t read the book, and I give my full opinion on the film, I will take away the core of it, which really is the Stephen King thriller genre. Something that you should experience first-hand, though it is confusing. The film overall to me was amazing. Would I have thought the same if I spent £8 to see it at the cinema? No, I would feel robbed. But the film could only do so much with 75 pages of a book, and Hancock did great at bringing this novella to the screen on Netflix. 

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