MR. HARRIGAN’S PHONE on Netflix is a coming-of-age story with a dark supernatural twist. Based on a Stephen King short story, it does contain horror but is more of a cautionary tale. Read our full Mr. Harrigan’s Phone movie review here!

MR. HARRIGAN’S PHONE is a new Netflix thriller with both horror and supernatural elements. It’s based on the Stephen King short story of the same title and is a classic coming-of-age story. You know, the kind our beloved horror author has written for decades – from Stand By Me to It.

This particular Netflix movie has utilized some pretty cool “mystery marketing” where billboards have been put up with a message seen in this movie. And yes, you will find out what it all means – when the main protagonist does.

Continue reading our Mr. Harrigan’s Phone movie review below. The film is out on Netflix on October 5, 2022.

Not the horror movie you might expect

Overall, Mr. Harrigan’s Phone isn’t the classic horror story you might expect. Well, not from a movie based on a Stephen King story anyway. Then again, remember that Stephen King does excel at writing these coming-of-age stories as much as he does downright demonic tales.

In this one, you won’t be getting long passages of pure evil and darkness. However, if you scratch the surface just the tiniest bit (or listen to the words spoken), you’ll find a cautionary tale. And that story is part “be careful what you wish for” and “Our phones are running our lives”.

Also, it’s a story about the love of books and the people you let into your life. Those who make an impact and make you want to be and do better. This might all sound a bit fluffy for a horror movie, but remember, horror can be a great many things.

Mr. Harrigan’s Phone is about the everyday relatable horror of being bullied. Or the equally (but less frequent, fortunately) horror of losing a loved one to death. And then, of course, there’s the supernatural element that also results in deaths.

And those deaths are brutal – even though you’ll “only” see the aftermath and not the actual event, so to speak.

Mr. Harrigan's Phone – Review | Netflix Horror

The wonders of Jaeden Martell

Over recent years, it seems like Jaeden Martell is everywhere when it comes to genre productions. But there’s a reason for it; The young man is absolutely brilliant. And if you think he only knows how to play a sweet boy (or young man, these recent years), then you clearly haven’t watched Defending Jacob on Apple TV+.

In Mr. Harrigan’s Phone, we have him back in the familiar Stephen King territory, which is how many will know him from the two It movies. He’s a truly good kid, who does not wish harm on anyone but does want things to be fair.

DO YOU LOVE STEPHEN KING AS MUCH AS WE DO?

Be sure to check out our “Stephen King”-tag for more productions adapted from his stories >

As Mr. Harrigan himself, we get the amazing Donald Sutherland. The younger generation will probably know him best as President Snow from The Hunger Games movies. Horror fans, however, will know he has done genre films for decades.

Donald Sutherland has been in such iconic genre movies as Don’t Look Now (1973), Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1978), and even the Buffy the Vampire Slayer movie from 1992. As Mr. Harrigan, he is absolutely perfectly cast as well.

In smaller, but very important, supporting roles, we see a few other familiar faces. Joe Tippett (Mare of Easttown) plays the dad of Jaeden Martell’s character, Craig. And Kirby Howell-Baptiste, who we just saw in the Netflix series The Sandman as “Death” is Craig’s beloved High School teacher.

Watch Mr. Harrigan’s Phone on Netflix now!

John Lee Hancock is the director of Mr. Harrigan’s Phone which is based on his own adaption of the Stephen King short story. Personally, I often find that short stories are much better to adapt. Well, into movies anyway. The novels from Stephen King do tend to require at least a mini-series of some kind.

Previously, John Lee Hancock wrote and directed the HBO Max serial killer movie The Little Things (2021), and The Blind Side (2009), which was also adapted from a book. He also wrote the adapted screenplay for Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil (1997), directed by Clint Eastwood.

As producers, we have Stephen King himself (as an executive producer, of course) and some big-short names in terms of genre productions in the form of Ryan Murphy and Jason Blum (as in “Blumhouse”).

Being both a sucker for coming-of-age stories and Stephen King’s storytelling, as well as John Lee Hancock’s filmmaking, I was very happy with Mr. Harrigan’s Phone. If you let go of any wild horror expectations, I think you’ll see the wonders of this little gem as well.

Mr. Harrigan’s Phone is on Netflix worldwide from October 5, 2022.

Details

Director: John Lee Hancock
Script: John Lee Hancock (Based on the short story by Stephen King)
Cast: Jaeden Martell, Donald Sutherland, Joe Tippett, Kirby Howell-Baptiste, Cyrus Arnold, Colin O’Brien, Thomas Francis Murphy, Peggy J. Scott

Plot

When Craig, a young boy living in a small town (Jaeden Martell) befriends Mr. Harrigan, an older, reclusive billionaire (Donald Sutherland), the two begin to form an unlikely bond over their love of books and reading. But when Mr. Harrigan sadly passes away, Craig discovers that not everything is dead and gone and strangely finds himself able to communicate with his friend from the grave through the iPhone in this supernatural coming-of-age story that shows that certain connections are never lost.

I write reviews and recaps on Heaven of Horror. And yes, it does happen that I find myself screaming, when watching a good horror movie. I love psychological horror, survival horror and kick-ass women. Also, I have a huge soft spot for a good horror-comedy. Oh yeah, and I absolutely HATE when animals are harmed in movies, so I will immediately think less of any movie, where animals are harmed for entertainment (even if the animals are just really good actors). Fortunately, horror doesn't use this nearly as much as comedy. And people assume horror lovers are the messed up ones. Go figure!
Karina