Clayton Riddell is on the way home after he sold his comic work when a man bites off the ear of a dog. A woman charges to a vendor. Numerous distant screams. Before Clayton knows it, the world is already in chaos. He realizes that the cell (phones) makes a person crazy when he listen to it. Clay, together with his pick-up friends, Alice and Tom, races from Boston across Kent Pond when he remembers that his son owns a cell. Stephen King’s “The Cell” pulls off a not-so horrifying thriller in a gory zombie tale.
When I was reading “The Cell”, Stephen King’s “The Gunslinger” keeps reminding me that this is not worth the time but I am actually impressed to see a dramatic improvement from his writing, which is reasonable since King admits he haven’t been in writing workshops until, I guess, when he started writing the second book of the Dark Tower series. In this work, he chooses the words carefully and manages to tickle you in serious moments but one thing is still disappointing, he’s not a compelling storyteller or should I blame it to the plot? In the middle, when the dynamic trio escapes to an English boarding school, or even before that, the story slouches, no not being a slow pace but it gets boring. He narrates the zombies and what they are doing but it gets worn-out to see the little progress of these creatures. At first, zombies eats another zombies, then they learn how to team up and start to flock to right then to left, then they start to sing and on and on. It would have been fine if these things plays a great role or even a satisfying epiphany in the end, but no they just get blown up. This just shows that these zombies’ deteriorated brains can’t think well.
As Clayton travels an unwinding road littered with battered, left over cars and settles for a place, he dreams of a dark person with a hood, that is supposed to be terrifying. Clay supposes this is the master mind of all the zombies and has an unsurpassable technology that he can transmit his message by telepathy. The “hoddie” tells Clay that they have his son and this urges Clay to get to Kent Pond. King may have develop many plot devices but these things seem to be plucked out of nowhere. At one point, these zombies gathers boom boxes to have a grand karaoke reunion, they start singing from their glowing throat. They flock at day and sleep at night. I just can’t connect the dots.
The zombieness is contagious and is transmitted by a virus from a cell but it isn’t sure what the motive is. The third-person narrator says it could be terrorism or a scientist’s experiment that have gone wrong but for some reason that narrator himself isn’t sure what is going on. Who are we to believe then? If the motive isn’t important, why does the narrator keeps mentioning it?
If King had made a Ted Bundy zombie or a Bonnie and Clyde, this would have been an exciting read. No zombies really stands out.
Before reading “The Cell”, I was planning to read “The Shining”, of the same author, but after this I’m doubting to pick it up. I just don’t know.