An imposing older man sits on a chair.

‘Mr. Harrigan’s Phone’: Release Date, Trailer, Cast, Plot & More

The Stephen King Universe is expanding once more and we’ve just gotten a first look into the Master of Horror’s latest spine-tingling adaptation, Mr. Harrigan’s Phone. Based on the novella of the same name (from King’s 2020 anthology, If It Bleeds), Mr. Harrigan’s Phone will see the return of Jaeden Martell (It) into yet another chilling tale featuring iPhones and calls beyond the grave. The film was written and directed by John Lee Hancock, who is joined by producers Jason Blum of Blumhouse Productions, Carla Hacken, and Ryan Murphy. Here’s everything we know about the upcoming horror movie.

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The Plot

Mr. Harrigan’s Phone follows a young boy, Craig (Martell), who befriends their neighborhood’s reclusive billionaire, Mr. Harrigan (Donald Sutherland), after working jobs for him at his estate. The two form a bond, with Craig often asking the older man for advice, and later on, after he wins a nice sum of money from a lottery scratch card Harrigan gives him and Craig gifts him with an iPhone. In the trailer, we see that they’re using the much older models, with the gift to Harrigan being what appears to be the original iPhone (so we can probably guess that the adaptation is set somewhere in the early to mid-’00s). 

Anyway, Harrigan is initially hesitant to use the phone but eventually relents. Sometime later, Craig visits him only to find that the old man has now passed away. He finds the old iPhone he had given Harrigan and decides to take it back before returning it during the funeral by placing it in his coffin. I mean, he could have just left it on his doorstep or something…so that was definitely a…choice. When he enters high school, as shown in the trailer, Craig finds himself lonely and bullied, and as a way of coping, he listens to Harrigan’s voicemail (understandable) before one day, out of utter anger and frustration, vents that he wants to see his bully pay (slightly understandable but also already creepy) only to find out the next day that—you guessed it—the bully is dead. 

Fans of King’s Apt Pupil will surely love this one. Its official synopsis reads as follows:

When Craig, a young boy living in a small town (Jaeden Martell) befriends Mr. Harrigan, an older, reclusive billionaire (Donald Sutherland), the two begin to form an unlikely bond over their love of books and reading. But when Mr. Harrigan sadly passes away, Craig discovers that not everything is dead and gone and strangely finds himself able to communicate with his friend from the grave through the iPhone in this supernatural coming-of-age story that shows that certain connections are never lost.

The Cast and Team

Martell and Sutherland are, of course, not the only actors to expect to appear in this scare-fest. They are joined by Kirby Howell-Baptiste (The Good Place) as Ms. Hart, a kind teacher from Craig’s high school, Joe Tippett as Craig’s dad, Colin O’Brien as a younger version of Craig, and Cyrus Arnold (8-Bit Christmas) as Kenny Yankovich, as Craig’s bully. 

Jason Blum, Carla Hacken, and Ryan Murphy also collaborated with a couple of other familiar faces: Blumhouse Television’s Marci Wiseman and Jeremy Gold, who both worked as executive producers. The two notably worked on four other King adaptations with Netflix: 1922, Gerald’s Game, and In the Tall Grass

Release Date

Filming for Mr. Harrigan’s Phone wrapped in December of 2021 after beginning just two months prior. It is set to release this coming October 5th on Netflix, just in time for Halloween.  

More If It Bleeds

Having written over 64 books (and counting), Stephen King is no stranger to having his work adapted for the big screen, and as exhibited by Mr. Harrigan’s Phone, his novellas and short stories are no exception. As previously mentioned, this upcoming film comes from his 2020 anthology If It Bleeds, which features three other stories: Rat, Life of Chuck, and Let It Bleed. The first two are currently in talks for early development with actor Ben Stiller for Rat and acclaimed director Darren Aronofsky for Life of Chuck

Stiller is expected to not only direct but also star in and produce Rat, which follows a writer suffering from massive writer’s block, who finds himself stuck in an old family cabin during a bad storm (sounds familiar). In a state of seeming delirium, he strikes a Faustian deal with a rat (hence the title) to get out of his rut, only to realize, when he comes home, that the deal was more than just some sort of weird dream.

As for Life of Chuck, it was optioned by Aronofsky’s Protazoa and will center on a man named Charles Krantz, who dies at the age of 39 and has his life retold in several creepy and odd supernatural chapters. Sounds right up Aronofsky’s alley.

For the last installment in the anthology, Let It Bleed, we have yet to receive any announcements of an adaptation, however, its main character, the clairvoyant detective Holly Gibney was also featured in the recent HBO miniseries The Outsider.

As Deadline keenly observed, this is probably the first time in quite a while we’ve seen a consecutive number of King adaptations stemming from just one anthology. The last time was with 1982’s Different Seasons, which featured Rita Hayworth and the Shawshank Redemption and The Body, which both became Frank Darabont’s The Shawshank Redemption and Rob Reiner’s timeless classic Stand By Me (rest easy up there, River), respectively. That anthology also contained Apt Pupil, which eventually also got a movie starring Ian McKellan and Brad Renfro. Like with If It Bleeds, we have yet to see an adaptation of the fourth installment—The Breathing Method—although, it’s been long speculated that Blum will be producing (together with Sinister) and Doctor Strange director Scott Derrickson will be behind the camera. 

Will you be watching Mr. Harrigan’s Phone? And what other Stephen King adaptations are you looking forward to? Let us know in the comments below!

(featured image: Netflix)

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Danielle Baranda
Danielle is a twenty-something writer and postgrad student based in the Philippines. She loves books, movies, her cat, and traveling. In her spare time, she enjoys shooting 35mm film and going to concerts.