Hellphone Movie Review
Written by TGM
DVD released by Film Whisperer Productions
Written & Directed by Jason Marc Pierce
2010, 88 minutes, Not Rated
DVD released on November 17th, 2010
April Billingsley as Alex
Nathan Moore as Graham
Phillip Ward as Bill
Scott N. Stevens as Paul Baker
Larry Parks as Chief Casey
Caroline Avery Granger as Elisha (as Caroline Granger)
Mack McClain as Charlie
Matthew B. Moore as Hiker 2
Slade Blackburn as Hiker 1
Dan A.R. Kelly as Wes
The sadistic lifeforce of a sociopath responsible for a slew of murders in the ‘50s is somehow transferred to the world’s most basic cellphone when it is accidentally dropped into a mistakenly unearthed grave. From that point on, the possessed phone begins to drunk-dial people in search of a late night booty-call, err, I mean vengeance. Those who answer the call are greeted with an annoying high pitched whine (think your ex-girlfriend hopped up on Red Bull), and an electrical shock to the brain causing instantaneous death. A small town’s comely deputy, her former boyfriend, and the local coroner attempt to solve the mystery behind the bizarre rash of deaths.
It’s difficult to be overly critical of a movie shot on a micro-budget (reportedly less than $20K), which was clearly a labor of love for writer/director Jason Marc Pierce. Pierce certainly gets the most out of what he has to work with. He seems to squeeze out every ounce of talent this (mostly) no-name cast has to offer, with performances that are clearly above average for a limited production. Even the low-rent CGI is no worse than what can be found in the latest weekly SyFy Channel debacle.
Unfortunately there is a monumentally wasted opportunity here. The majority of on-screen kills are anti-climactic, with a myriad of small town bumpkins simply crumpling to the ground like ragdolls. However, one death that showcases a computer nerd’s head exploding in all its Scanners-esque glory hints at sheer brilliance and, if expanded upon to the other victims, might have cemented Hellphone’s place in the pantheon of B-movie horror infamy. Exploding heads, good. Impersonating a narcoleptic, bad.
Despite the obvious constraints its miniscule budget provides, Hellphone still manages to be a relatively entertaining endeavor. The ending does unfortunately veer off into some unnecessarily strange territory when the evil spirit ultimately takes the form of a large Gollum made from thousands of CGI rendered cellphones. It’s almost as if Jason Marc Pierce’s mother forced him into hiring a down-on-his-luck cousin with a ne’er used Computer Arts degree. Well, it was an odd and disappointing choice, but at least it got him out of sweatpants and forgetting about his impending divorce for a couple weeks. Right?
Despite its flaws, Hellphone would be a great movie to watch buzzed with a bunch of friends while embracing your inner Mystery Science Theatre 3000 snarkiness. Let’s just hope that in the sequel, Hellphone 2: Roaming Charges, we are privy to a demonic iPhone or Android based device and not something from the septuagenarian skewed Jitterbug catalog.
Video, Audio and Special Features:
Video, audio and special features will not be graded as this was a screener.