Underrated But Relevant Movies: Cell

I’ll fully agree with Josh Millican of Dread Central when it comes how Cell was viewed by those that found it to be so divisive, but I’ll also say that it was likely because people looked in a warped mirror and didn’t like what they saw. The movie is pretty simple really, a man that went off to pursue his dreams and basically abandoned his family is on his way home to reconcile and is stuck in the middle of the airport waiting for his flight. All of a sudden a strange and unknown pulse goes out across the entire cellular network, affecting everyone that’s currently using a cellphone, which is damn near everyone since like it or not, people are highly dependent on their phones and other devices these days. I won’t lie, I’m on my phone playing games or listening to music quite often, but there’s still a limit to how much we really need the dang things. Anyway, getting back to the movie, the pulse somehow shuts down large portions of the brain, leaving people to suddenly become increasingly violent and utterly mindless as the first chaotic scene in the airport swiftly turns a maddening and extremely chaotic mess that sees numerous people taken down and slaughtered while the protagonist, played by John Cusack, flees as fast as he can to try and get away from the maddened human beings that are chasing him. 

The movie actually received very low marks from critics and fans alike, which isn’t as common as anyone would think, but again it’s likely that people didn’t care for the fact that it basically calls out a dependency that has been growing steadily since the advent of cell phones and shows no current sign of stopping. People don’t often want to admit that they could survive without their phone since a lot of folks live day to day on the phone whether it’s for business or just for being social. Using a phone all the time for work is one thing, as for many people this is how they make money, how they operate, and how they keep in touch with those that they need to communicate with. But as far as being social it is nice that we can talk with people all around the world at a moment’s notice if we want, but it’s also eerie to think that a lot of us don’t even talk to our neighbors that often when they’re well within reach. Cell phones have become a part of our lives that a lot of us still feel is kind of hard to accept since it’s like having an electronic leash in some regards, or an electronic dog tag that people can find you with. Back in the day we made do without knowing what was going on in the wide world beyond our sphere of influence at any given moment, and it does feel as though we were happier not knowing at times. Some might call this irresponsible and even childish, but the amount of connections that have been made since the cellphone became such a huge hit have just as big of a downside as they do an upside. Rebecca Joy of Healthline has more to say on this subject. 

As the movie shows, our dependency on our phones is our eventual downfall. The connections that we develop with said devices become a host to the signal that eventually begins to dominate the human race and lead towards the eventual turning of every mind on the planet as people gather in herds to follow the signal. In all fairness this movie could have used a little more development and a few more twists along the way as it did feel a little generic and not quite as in-depth as it could have been. But overall it was still enjoyable and managed to shine a big light on a subject that many people still don’t like to admit since it means copping to a habit that is considered a part of everyday life for a lot of people. Trying to take away a person’s phone these days is treated much like an amputation with some folks since they don’t know how to exist without it. Tell someone that there’s no place to charge their battery and they might have a panic attack, and heaven forbid if anyone tries to tell a person to put their phone down and enjoy the world around them, as this might actually be defined as hate speech at one point. Don’t ask how, hate speech is usually called out by those that have nothing better to say. In any case though, Cell is the kind of movie that makes society look at its own habits and practices and forces people to admit that there IS a problem, and is promptly ignored because of the revelation it brings. 

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