Of all the Stephen King adaptations, Mr Harrigan’s Phone, a film following the relationship between Craig (Jaeden Martell), a young man and his lasting friendship with the titual Mr Harrigan (Donald Sutherland), is easily the most infuriating. Framed as a mystery film, the real mystery here is why anyone chose this property to adapt as it meanders from an occasionally touching story of an unconventional friendship to a supernatural story of murder and regret. It’s quintessential King but because of this in is a tale with an unnecessary dive into the mysterious instead of sticking to a simpler, more affecting story
Not only do neither tales told here mesh with the other, it wastes the talents of Martell and Sutherland who craft an excellent friendship out of their very limited screen time together. There is genuine care in building up this genuine connection. When director John Lee Hancock changes gears, even his film seems reticent to move on from what works. The film also suffers from the structural changes of a film that works through its various vignettes of Craig’s times reading to Mr Harrigan. It’s not the worst Netflix feature of recent years but it begs the question of why this property was adapted in the first place, never justifying a story that never feels relevant or important enough to entertain an audience outside of King fans.