Tod Williams


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Tod Williams

Cell (2016) is a horrible adaptation of Stephen King's mediocre novel "Cell" (2006), a zombie thriller that, to King's credit, predates the dystopian age of social media that would soon obliterate society as humans knew it for millennia.

Clay is a graphic designer, divorced, with a son who lives with the mother. Clay just entered an airport and calls his wife and then starts talking to his son. But the batteries of his phone die. While he is trying to call back from a pay phone, everybody around him who is using a cell phone goes suddenly mad. In fact, every cell phone user becomes a killer zombie. Clay has to run for his life while around him the gory mayhem assumes apocalyptic proportions, with everybody slaughtering everybody else. He narrowly escapes a horde of zombies in the subway and jumps into a subway car that opens for him. The conductor, Tom, leads the survivors into the tunnels. Only Tom and Clay make it alive out of the tunnels. Clay takes Tom to his apartment where they contemplate the city turned into a warzone. A girl, Alice, shows up: she just had to kill her own mother in order to escape her murderous fury. Obviously they cannot use their cell phones which means that Clay has no way of finding out whether his wife and child are alive. They start walking out of the city but meet zombies everywhere. They find guns in the home of a fanatic right-wing man but are chased by an overwhelming number of zombies and so can survive only by hiding under some boats by the river. As they are hiding during sunset they can see the zombies tuning in to some celestial signal that they repeat with their mouths. At a private school they meet the headmaster, Charles, and a student, Jordan. They are locked in the school while outside thousands of zombies are sleeping and emitting music from their mouths. They decide to douse the whole herd in gasoline and set them on fire. The plan succeeds except that Charles gets killed by the explosion. Clay, Tom and Alice take Jordan with them and continue their walk. That night all four of them dream the same man, a zombie in a red hood. Clay has been working endlessly on a graphic novel and the events seem to replay his graphic novel. They reach a bar where some survivors spend the time drinking and chatting. It appears that most survivors are headed for a state park where there is no cell signal, but it could also be a trap. One of the group is infected by simply listening to the signal emitted by zombies outside and this starts a new mayhem inside the bar. Alice is killed. The other three keep walking. They meet an icecream seller, Ray, and a woman, Denise. They know that the state park is a trap. In fact, Ray's plan is to take his icecream track there and blow it up. Ray, who has not slept in a week, is obsessed with the idea that the red-hooded zombie can read his mind. He kills himself but first he hands Clay the cell phone that will detonate the truck. Finally, they reach the house of Clay's wife. There is a note by his child that he headed to the state park and a warning that his mother has turned into a zombie. In fact, she attacks Clay and Clay has to kill her. Clay decides to drive to the state park even knowing that it is a trap, while the others continue walking. Clay finds thousands of zombies circling around a giant transmission tower and humming its signal. Clay finds the red-hooded zombie by the tower and kills him. Then he finds his son but the child has already turned into one of them. Then Clay activates Ray's cell phone that blows up the truck, the tower and presumably everybody around. But the last scene shows Clay calmly walking with his son on railway tracks, following the signs left behind by his friend Tom.
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