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September 24, 2009 9:03 AM   Subscribe

No Signal - A montage of cellphones in horror movies.

(link via waxy, who has an archive of more montages like these here)
posted by flatluigi (24 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite

 
I suppose it's not surprising. The "Why didn't they just call someone?" plot hole has to be dealt with somehow. Cellphones have really ruined the basic "alone and helpless" setting of horror movies.
posted by CaseyB at 9:13 AM on September 24, 2009 [4 favorites]


The "Why didn't they just call someone?" plot hole has to be dealt with somehow.

That's why Romeo And Juliet 2009, Act 4 consists of one SMS saying "im OK jst asleep. drugged, see u in 2 days" and ends very differently than the original.
posted by mhoye at 9:17 AM on September 24, 2009 [10 favorites]


There needs to be a montage of the heroine trying over and over to start the car as the bad guy approaches.
Or it's modern-day equivalent, the progress bar on a computer as a file downloads or deletes, ("C'mon, come ON!!!")
posted by chococat at 9:20 AM on September 24, 2009 [5 favorites]


This is my most frequent nightmare - calling for help and 1) the phone/connection doesn't work; 2) the person on the other end can't understand me; 3) the person on the other end doesn't care.
posted by desjardins at 9:24 AM on September 24, 2009


Cellphones have been terrible for movies. The problem with them is that there is absolutely no way to make someone speaking into a phone cinematically compelling. One movie it almost ruined for me was The Departed, which must have had close to an hours' worth of scenes consisting of people talking on cellphones, plus a "suspenseful" texting scene.
posted by The Card Cheat at 9:28 AM on September 24, 2009


Cellphones have been terrible for movies. The problem with them is that there is absolutely no way to make someone speaking into a phone cinematically compelling. One movie it almost ruined for me was The Departed, which must have had close to an hours' worth of scenes consisting of people talking on cellphones, plus a "suspenseful" texting scene.

Yes, but think of the product placement opportunities...
posted by acb at 9:30 AM on September 24, 2009 [1 favorite]


Wow, seriously? I guess this is no worse than me spending an entire year of a high school class drawing intricate circles on a notebook cover, but damn.
posted by cashman at 9:36 AM on September 24, 2009 [1 favorite]


The problem with them is that there is absolutely no way to make someone speaking into a phone cinematically compelling.

Michael Mann's The Insider has some pretty tense phone scenes.
posted by EarBucket at 9:41 AM on September 24, 2009 [1 favorite]


THIS is why we need satellite phones. To escape the zombies.
posted by DU at 9:52 AM on September 24, 2009


> Michael Mann's The Insider has some pretty tense phone scenes.

I like that movie a lot, but it was actually one of the ones I was going to cite in my earlier rant. The situations are tense, the dialogue is tense...but visually-speaking you're stuck with someone standing (still, usually) by themself with brow furrowed and their hand pressed to their ear. It wouldn't be that big a deal, except that in movies set in the present day it's more or less to be expected that every character will have a cell phone all the time.
posted by The Card Cheat at 10:03 AM on September 24, 2009


there is absolutely no way to make someone speaking into a phone cinematically compelling.

but typing on a keyboard however...
posted by TWinbrook8 at 10:07 AM on September 24, 2009


The "Why didn't they just call someone?" plot hole has to be dealt with somehow.

Oh, that one's easy. "Fucking AT&T! Gah, why couldn't Apple have gone with Verizon? Okay, we're just going to have to hope someone drives by..."
posted by Tomorrowful at 10:09 AM on September 24, 2009 [1 favorite]


Michael Mann's The Insider has some pretty tense phone scenes.
I was thinking of this one too. I actually haven't seen this movie because the trailer consisted entirely of people yelling into phones.
posted by fantabulous timewaster at 10:13 AM on September 24, 2009


This is my most frequent nightmare - calling for help and 1) the phone/connection doesn't work; 2) the person on the other end can't understand me; 3) the person on the other end doesn't care.

4) the person on the other end has decided to go electronics-free for the day and has their cell phone turned off.
posted by Lucinda at 10:14 AM on September 24, 2009


I don't think it's much of a stretch to say we'll no longer have this problem in a decade or two. What will horror movies do then?
posted by naju at 10:17 AM on September 24, 2009


(And eventually we won't even have the "cell phone" as a discrete object you carry in your pocket.)
posted by naju at 10:19 AM on September 24, 2009


As long as the killer remembers to lurk more in the rebar-reinforced concrete garages, he or she should be good. Plus, if you're a diabolical murderer, you should be bright enough to solder up any of the cellphone jammer kits.
posted by adipocere at 10:58 AM on September 24, 2009


I worked on a movie that's edited into that compilation, The Roost. Indeed, at the barn where The Roost was shot, outside of Kennet Square, Pennsylvania, there was spotty cell phone reception (in 2003). The director's newest film, The House of The Devil, was set in the early 1980's for a lot of reasons, one of which would be to avoid modern trappings like cell phone issues. Ironically, there are a dozen scenes in the film in which the main character makes calls from a pay phone, misses calls because she wasn't at home, or is walking around a kitchen talking on the phone, tethered by a comically long tangled phone cord. So I guess in any time period you'll end up having some sort of "phone play."

In a different sort of irony - The House of The Devil was shot in upstate Connecticut in 2008, outside of Torrington... and no one on set ever had any cell phone reception.
posted by SmileyChewtrain at 11:44 AM on September 24, 2009 [1 favorite]


Er, not in *any* time period...
posted by SmileyChewtrain at 11:45 AM on September 24, 2009


I read a script, once, where a bunch of trapped characters manage to eek out ONE! SINGLE! TEXT! to someone who, upon receiving it, gets struck by a car.
So that's ONE way to solve the problem.
posted by 235w103 at 1:07 PM on September 24, 2009 [1 favorite]


Actually, all that frustration and cursing at cell phones seems very realistic to me.

Kudos, Hollywood hacks.
posted by rokusan at 1:34 PM on September 24, 2009


Wait, how can a circle be intricate?
posted by Eideteker at 4:01 PM on September 24, 2009


There's also that movie trope, though less popular, of the antagonist turning public restroom taps on and leaving them running for various nefarious purposes. This has been defeated by the near-universal use of automatic taps in public restrooms.
posted by Pomo at 4:28 PM on September 24, 2009


Somewhat related: If All Movies Had Cell Phones.

"I don't really give a shit..got Google Maps."
posted by The Biggest Dreamer at 6:47 PM on September 24, 2009 [1 favorite]


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