“Mr. Harrigan’s Phone” is a mystery drama film directed by senior filmmaker John Lee Hancock. The script was adapted from the horror compilation novel “If It Bleeds” by Stephen King. This Netflix release stars Jaeden Martell, Donald Sutherland, Joe Tippet, and Kirby Howell-Baptiste. With the filmmaker and the source of the adaptation, it seems that this film promises something interesting.

Five years on, Craig (Martell) works for the rich old man Harrison, reading novels three times a week. At school, Craig was a quiet boy who was often bullied. One time, Craig won a prize of hundreds of dollars from the lottery given by Harrison. Craig gave his old friend a cell phone to help him keep track of his stock business online. Before long, his old friend suddenly died, and Craig put his cell phone in the coffin. Strangely, Craig was not long contacted by his old friend’s cell phone.

Even though it progresses very slowly, its exciting premise gradually unfolds. Was it the old man’s spirit who contacted Craig from the grave? Or was the cell phone just hacked? This question piqued our curiosity. Not to mention the mystery of the people around Craig who died strangely. Did his old friend’s ghost help him get his revenge? Instead of leading to the side of mystery and horror with gripping tension, the plot seems to only dwell on the boy’s psychological problems. The questions above are not easy to answer because these seem to be mere metaphors.

This is the problem with the story’s direction; what exactly does the story want to go to? Was Craig’s trauma related to his mother? His inner relationship with his old mate? Or the psychological impact of cell phones on users? Or is this all just in Craig’s mind? Or is it all the points above? The message of a film cannot be that greedy. The resolution is unclear where it leads because there is no apparent inner conflict in the character. Craig’s attitude and actions also always seem awkward, whether this is a role or just acting.

Baca Juga  Alcarràs

“Mr. Harrigan’s Phone” has a promising premise without intense, gripping development. Too many things want to be carried within the story. If only this film led to horror, it would feel stronger to have the theme of trauma and the negative impact of technology. Whatever Craig did, it made no difference if the boy ended up lying lifeless at the bottom of the lake. Unfortunately, this film has missed a great opportunity through the talent of the filmmaker, the cast, and the story’s premise. It should have been better.

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His hobby has been watching films since childhood, and he studied film theory and history autodidactically after graduating from architectural studies. He started writing articles and reviewing films in 2006. Due to his experience, the author was drawn to become a teaching staff at the private Television and Film Academy in Yogyakarta, where he taught Film History, Introduction to Film Art, and Film Theory from 2003 to 2019. His debut film book, "Understanding Film," was published in 2008, which divides film art into narrative and cinematic elements. The second edition of the book, "Understanding Film," was published in 2018. This book has become a favorite reference for film and communication academics throughout Indonesia. He was also involved in writing the Montase Film Bulletin Compilation Book Vol. 1-3 and "30 Best Selling Indonesian Films 2012-2018." Additionally, he authored the "Horror Film Book: From Caligari to Hereditary" (2023) and "Indonesian Horror Film: Rising from the Grave" (2023). Until now, he continues to write reviews of the latest films at montasefilm.com and is actively involved in all film productions at the Montase Film Community. His short films have received high appreciation at many festivals, both local and international. Recently, his writing was included in the shortlist (top 15) of Best Film Criticism at the 2022 Indonesian Film Festival. From 2022 until now, he has also been a practitioner-lecturer for the Film Criticism and Film Theory courses at the Yogyakarta Indonesian Institute of the Arts in the Independent Practitioner Program.


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