by: Maria Rivera
“Mr. Harrigan’s Phone” pushes the bounds of horror with another one of Stephen King’s stories turned into a movie. Directed by John Lee Hancock (known for “The Blind Side” and “The Highwaymen”) and released on Netflix October 5th, 2022 with an overall mixture of feelings among critics.
The movie is a modern fiction that blends horror together with coming of age. The protagonist, Craig (Jaeden Martell), is a teenager from a small town that has to learn what it means to stand up for himself and navigate the busier aspects of a merged high school. Mr. Harrigan (Donald Sutherland) becomes a friend and a sort of confidant for Craig, attempting to teach him what he has learnt through his own life. The movie takes its time building up their relationship and emphasizing how important it is to Craig before deciding to seriously amp up the horror aspect, or rather, how much it has to offer.
Craig becomes very attached to Mr. Harrigan and texts him after the billionaire dies, which unfolds a series of dark and confusing moments for Craig. He cannot accept feeling abandoned, and there are deadly repercussions for what he is asking.
While Stephen King is well known for his horror stories, this one is more subtle, more suspenseful and a reflection of what technology has done to society than something that would make you hide behind a blanket with your eyes closed. One student, Angel Hoy, agrees with this sentiment and summed it up herself: “I thought it was going to be scarier.” It’s not necessarily that the story lacks horrific elements, it just doesn’t show many gruesome scenes or jumpscares. “Mr. Harrigan’s Phone” was able to keep its lesson quite obvious while using the elements of horror to directly convey how dark consequences can be.
While overall, the movie has great actors and great videography, “Mr. Harrigan’s Phone” lacks that very dark and gory element that audiences may expect from the horror genre. It is definitely worth watching as long as you do not expect yourself to feel scared and are looking for something that will keep your attention captivated.