You answer an unknown call on your cell phone and seconds later you're a raging, homicidal maniac. No, it wasn't your ex-girlfriend or your mother-in-law, it's a strange pulse that has transformed you -- and everyone else with a cell phone -- into a new breed of zombie. As if it needed any more introduction, welcome to the insane mind of Stephen King, the literary luddite whose "Cell" is being adapted for the big screen for director Eli Roth.
Scared of the living dead? Don't be. It's the plain living who should trouble you, Roth insisted. "Everyone on a cell phone gets zapped with this pulse and they all go completely insane. But, what happens is, the generators go out, the power goes out, the water goes bad, so the people that survive suddenly become more dangerous than the phone crazies," Roth said of the frights in his next flick. "Like, the people outside running around killing, they actually become the least of the problems."
It's an insidious and fantastical premise, sure, but one indebted to a very human problem, Roth contended -- our over-dependence on technology. "It's something very real, it's a very real fear that people have, how fragile the system is. What happens if everything completely collapses, if all the utilities suddenly don't work, if nothing works anymore?" Roth asked. "All this technology is there to make our lives easier, [but as a result] no one knows how to cook, how to plant or grow vegetables, nobody knows how to do that stuff because we don't have to."
Think it couldn't happen? Look no further than New Orleans for proof that it could, said Roth. "You can really look at New Orleans almost as an allegory for it, I mean look what happened there, within hours people were like going crazy and killing each other. The army didn't show up for five days and the police force quit and nobody knew what to do. Think that it's already happened in this country so recently."
Roth confessed that he won't start working on the project until the fall, plenty of time for everyone to cancel their cell phone service.