Netflix’s ‘Mr Harrigan’s Phone’ fails to fit the horror genre


Graphic by Margot Richlin '23

Released to Netflix on Oct 5, 2022, Mr. Harrigan’s Phone leaves viewers unfrightened despite being labeled as a horror movie.

Fall is undoubtedly the best time of year. The cool autumn breeze, the spooky music, the decorations and the general spirit make the month of October beyond comparison. But the one aspect of the spooky season that I just can’t stand are horror movies

When I was 6, I received quite a scare from a G-rated Halloween movie, and from that point forward I vowed to never watch anything scary again. Dramatic, I know, but I’ve stuck to my word. 

That is, at least, until “Mr. Harrigan’s Phone” was released on Netflix on Oct. 5. So, for whatever unknown reason, after a decade-long promise… I watched a “horror” movie. And I was not very impressed.

“Mr. Harrigan’s Phone” is an adaptation of one of Stephan Kings’ novels from the collection “If It Bleeds.” The movie follows the relationship between a young boy named Craig, and a retired businessman, Mr. Harrigan. The relationship develops after Craig’s mother dies. 

Though at first Craig is simply tasked with reading to Mr. Harrigan, they quickly become friends despite their age difference. Later in the movie, Craig buys Mr. Harrigan a phone with money he receives from a lottery ticket. When Harrigan unexpectedly dies, Craig slips the phone into his suit pocket during his funeral. Craig later uses his own phone to call and text Harrigan, and is shocked when he receives an answer from the deceased Harrigan.

The general plot of this movie was entertaining and I enjoyed watching the friendship between the two main characters develop. Jaeden Martell, who acts as the main character Craig, did a phenomenal performance throughout the movie. 

However, that being said, when I sat down to watch, I was anticipating to scream at least once, and I did not.

If you enjoy coming-of-age type movies with deeply rooted morals, and an eerie plot line, this movie is for you.

— Margot Richlin '23

Personally, I was relieved to find out that this movie wasn’t very scary, as it made my experience watching much more enjoyable. But, if you’re a horror movie connoisseur, you’re bound to be disappointed. 

My primary complaint about this movie is how slow the plot progressed. Had this been a television series it would have been much more enjoyable, but as a so-called “horror movie,” I was largely disappointed at the pace. I was more intrigued by the underlying message of the dangers of technology in our world rather than the supernatural element of talking to the dead that the movie is based off of. I did find that the ominous vibe that lasted throughout the movie enhanced the storyline, but overall, I was much more impressed with the trailer than the actual movie itself.

For the future I think I will stick with comedy and go back to boycotting the horror genre as a whole. As my first horror movie experience, I would rate “Mr. Harrigan’s Phone” a 3 out of 5 stars.