Mr. Harrigan’s Phone Review

Last Updated on October 10, 2022

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W4K8P1b6Q4M

PLOT: A young boy (Martell) befriends an older, reclusive billionaire (Sutherland) and finds himself able to communicate with him from the grave via the iPhone that was buried with him upon his passing.

REVIEW: Anytime the words “Stephen King Adaptation” appear, I can’t help but be intrigued. Mr. Harrigan’s Phone also comes with the caveat of having wonderful performances and a gripping story. Which shouldn’t come as a surprise because King’s work always attracts top-tier talent. Even still, it’s hard not to be charmed by this coming-of-age tale with a supernatural twist. Especially when it’s done so well.

Jaeden Martell does a fantastic job as Craig, who is a decidedly more complicated person than the white knight he played as Bill Denbrough in It. But it’s hard not to compare the two characters, especially with their shared timidity. But what makes Craig so interesting are his areas of grey. He’s trying to do his best and doing so can sometimes put him in unfortunate situations. These vulnerabilities make it so his friendship with an old man isn’t out of the ordinary. We understand this friendship right from the onset and understand why it’s so important to both characters. By the time the supernatural stuff began, I was already so invested in the characters, and so much of that has to do with Craig and Mr. Harrigan.

Mr. Harrigan’s Phone. (L-R) Jaeden Martell as Craig and Donald Sutherland as Mr. Harrigan in Mr. Harrigan’s Phone. Cr. Nicole Rivelli/Netflix © 2022

Donald Sutherland is great as always. His titular Mr. Harrigan is really soft spoken, while still remaining very powerful. Sutherland’s gravitas is a sight to behold, especially seeing him play off of Martell. They have a wonderful on-screen friendship that really makes Mr. Harrigan’s Phone work. Had that connection not been so strong, I have a hard time seeing the movie work at all. I also really liked Cyrus Arnold as Craig’s bully, Kenny Yankovich. He does a good job of making Kenny a little more than just a one-note villain. Though don’t get me wrong, he’s still extremely easy to dislike and fits the “bully” label well.

I’ve enjoyed John Lee Hancock’s work for many years, and he pulls off a suspenseful coming-of-age tale. It’s commendable how grounded the film remains despite the many supernatural elements. And it’s because of how masterful Hancock is with the world he’s building. Nothing is outright fantastical, yet there’s still no doubt that there’s something out of the ordinary going on. Mr. Harrigan’s Phone manages to build loads of suspense and has some great payoffs.

Mr. Harrigan’s Phone. (L-R) Jaeden Martell as Craig and Donald Sutherland as Mr. Harrigan in Mr. Harrigan’s Phone. Cr. Nicole Rivelli/Netflix © 2022

My only real criticism is that it was sometimes difficult to place where the story was, time-wise. Because they move very fast through a considerable period, with “blink and you’ll miss it” signifiers like Craig’s hair being different, or dialogue mentioning him being a freshman, senior, etc. While I do appreciate that to some extent, because often movies handhold a little too much, it would have benefited from a little more clarification, given that they move through time so quickly. Usually, I’m not a huge fan of narration in a film, as it can be way too expository, but I really enjoyed it here due to the obvious connection of Craig reading to Mr. Harrigan. Martell is able to show so much emotion but also adds an air of mystery. His voiceover is a big reason the suspense works so well.

I had an absolutely fantastic time with Mr. Harrigan’s Phone and I really hope that others are just as enamored. The performances are top notch and the story asks some interesting questions about morality. While coming from the writing of King is a huge advantage, everyone here elevates the material.

Mr. Harrigan’s Phone is STREAMING ON NETFLIX ON OCTOBER 5th, 2022.

Shawshank Redemption, do you like Stand By Me, do you like Green Mile, do you like a ton of other Stephen King?” Hancock asks (rhetorically, of course). “My take on it was, it’s in the fashion of Brothers Grimm. It’s a cautionary fairy tale in a way.
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About the Author

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Tyler Nichols is a horror fanatic who resides in Michigan and is always on the hunt for the next great film. When not scouring the internet for movie news, he is usually off watching something dark, writing nonsensical musings, or playing in some fantastical video game world. While horror takes up most of his time, he still makes time for films of all types, with a certain affinity for the strange and unusual. He’s also an expert on all things Comic Book Cinema. In addition to reviews and interviews here on JoBlo.com, Tyler also helps with JoBlo Horror Originals where he’s constantly trying to convince viewers to give lesser-known horror films a chance.