Film Review: Mr. Harrigan Lends A Hand From The Grave

Mr. Harrigan’s Phone is a horror film written and directed by John Lee Hancock and is based on a novella by Stephen King. Donald Sutherland plays the title role with Jaeden Martell, Joe Tippett, Cyrus Arnold, Kirby Howell-Baptiste included in the cast.

Jaeden Martell plays a young high school student named Craig who is hired by the reclusive local billionaire to read to him. Sutherland plays the menacing Mr. Harrigan who develops a fondness for the boy. Craig and Mr. Harrigan develop an unconventional friendship. He is also dealing with some of the expected challenges of public school, including a bully named Kenny, which is played by Cyrus Arnold. The film takes place over a few years. Mr. Harrigan is given a cell phone and becomes quite adept with it under the tutelage of young Craig. When old age finally takes Mr. Harrigan down, Craig drops the cell phone into the coffin which apparently extends their connection. Mr. Harrigan had a rather ruthless way of handling people he felt had crossed him and believes that Craig should show no mercy to those who antagonize him. Not only does Craig miss his aged friend, he is still having to face his bully and the sudden loss of a favorite teacher. It appears that Mr. Harrigan is still willing to be of some ruthless help to Craig in spite of his lack of life. Craig finds that some of his challenges being removed by violent means brings a sense of guilt that was lacking in Mr. Harrigan.

Well, the cast was pretty good. Martell seems to be one of the better of young actors working today. Sutherland still managed to convey a pretty commanding presence in spite of his age. The performances were pretty good, and Martell and Sutherland worked well together. Arnold had a rather eccentric take as the bully, Kenny.

In spite of the performances, something did not work as well it needed to with this film. I found it to be rather slow at times. The overall effect felt easily forgettable. It does have an interesting premise, but once again I suspect the printed version is much better.

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