Mr. Harrigan’s Phone is a classic example of over-promising (a horror thriller) and under-delivering (not a horror thriller) with an extremely faithful adaptation of highly underwhelming source material. I didn’t get how this film could be marketed as a thriller or even a horror film. The latter could be seen in some way, with the supernatural element. However, it was just bizarre and left me confused as to what was the point of all this. Is adapting anything Stephen King writes the norm? With garbage like this, a King gem may be omitted in the future. Had they presented this movie as a critique of how humans are never truly free of technology, it may have been received better.


Mr. Harrigan’s Phone Plot Summary & Movie Synopsis: 

Mr. Harrigan’s Phone commences with the ominous sound introducing us to the main players, i.e. Craig, his father, and Mr. John Harrigan. Craig reads a passage in church and is subject to a gig offer. His task – visit the wealthy retired man’s estate and simply read to him. This arrangement continues well into adulthood, right up till the young boy attends High School. This is where his life changes as he secured a phone and gifts one to the lonely Mr. Harrington. Initially, he remains hesitant about keeping said phone with him and talks about its evils. Content being given away for free is one issue, and the phone being a distraction is the other. It is true that with technology at one’s fingers; they spend more time on it with there being more scope for misinformation or people simply whiling away their time. He presents David Thoreau’s theory of things owning people to drive home his point. This led me to believe that the film can be viewed as a take on how we are tied to the world.


Once Mr. Harrigan passes, Craig remains distraught and caught in sentimentality. He stuffs a device into the deceased’s pocket and receives a message the next day. His father says that it was a result of hacking and rules out a buried alive theory. Nevertheless, Craig receives responses and sees justice meted out to certain people in a way that Mr. Harrigan made him promise he would deal with bullies, i.e. “Harshly”, ‘Dispatch enemies with haste without an iota of guilt for doing so.’


High On Films in collaboration with Avanté

This is exactly how Kenny Yankovic and Dean Whitmore meet their end, which leads Craig to wonder if he has a supernatural contract killer at his hands. We have to put aside the obvious, of how Mr. Harrigan’s phone was charged. Craig investigated and came to a conclusion, a rather Black Mirror-esque conclusion, and got rid of his phone entirely.

Mr Harrigans Phone
Mr. Harrigan’s Phone. (L-R) Jaeden Martell as Craig and Donald Sutherland as Mr. Harrigan in Mr. Harrigan’s Phone. Cr. Nicole Rivelli/Netflix © 2022

The ending didn’t provide any certain clarity with respect to a definitive close. There are two-three possible theories. This kind of worked well for me personally, or else the movie ending explained article would have not been required. Or even if it was, there may have been one definite conclusion to talk about but nothing to speculate on.

Mr. Harrigan’s Phone Ending, Explained:

Is Mr. Harrigan’s Phone a take on Oscar Wilde’s line?

“When the Gods wish to answer our prayers, they punish us.” This is the line mentioned by Mr. Harrigan to Craig in this Netflix film. 

Craig called Mr. Harrigan’s phone and spoke to the voice he recorded as the answering machine’s reply. He communicated his troubles with Kenny and his desire to see Dean pay for his actions. The manner of both deaths provided enough evidence to show audiences that Craig, or someone he shared the information with, was responsible for the same. 

This saw Craig get distraught, especially after the latter murder. It’s almost as though Wilde’s line came true with the guilty conscience weighing down the college student. Why would the Gods want to punish Craig? Perhaps, for his evil thoughts? But he didn’t wish ill on Kenny.


Mr. Harrigan’s Phone shows us how people are married to their cellular devices

When Kenny was found near his house, there was a polish container in his hand. It was the same shoe polish container he had tried to use to haze Craig. The teen never recounted this incident to anyone, well, anyone except on call to Mr. Harrigan. He also told the phone that he was facing trouble with the bully, and the problem received a, for lack of a better word, solution. 

For the second kill, the fact that his teacher’s killer used her favorite soap to end his life was another example of how the phone was provided with all the data.


By stuffing Mr. Harrigan’s phone in Mr. Harrigan’s pocket, Craig ensured he would remain connected with the world above the ground. Even whilst he returned to dust, Harrigan wasn’t free of the chains of the mortal world.


Was Craig the killer?

This is a rather farfetched theory, as Craig was in Boston when Dean Whitmore swallowed Ms. Hart’s favorite bar of soap. He was also in his hometown when Kenny ‘leaped’ out of his window. Had Kenny been the killer, possessed by Mr. Harrigan, John Lee Hancock may have shown the audience some signs of how the teenage boy had some marks on his hand or was in a strange place. Also, while this theory may be possible with Kenny, there was no way a college student could have sneaked into a rehab facility to visit an unknown person. So, no, Craig was not the killer. 

Mr. Harrigan’s Phone. (L-R) Bennett Saltzman as Billy, Alexa Niziak as Margie, Conor William Wright as U-Boat and Jaeden Martell as Craig in Mr. Harrigan’s Phone. Cr. Nicole Rivelli/Netflix © 2022

Was there a third-party killer?

This seems possible, but not believable. Craig wasn’t the killer, and Mr. Harrigan couldn’t have been the killer, as he was six feet under. Also, there is no way an iPhone would be in the hands of a villain. Hence, the hacker theory could be true with someone delivering vigilante justice to whoever Craig had an issue with. Mr. Harrigan was rich and not averse to getting rid of enemies. His bond with Craig, and the way in which he financially took care of the boy, led me to wonder whether he made an arrangement for one of his contacts to watch over the teenager.

Unless this person was stalking Craig and replied to him when he asked for the ‘knock three times’, it seems impossible.

High On Films in collaboration with Avanté

How did Craig solve his ‘supernatural’ problem? Or was it the problem of being tied to the world? 

Craig visited Mr. Harrigan’s grave and wondered aloud whether the texts were him being told to stop. The ‘stop’ is vague as it talks about him using the phone, or just coming to visit Mr. Harrigan. He decides to get rid of that particular phone that can ‘connect’ him to his old friend. Craig sprints to a lake and hurls the phone into its depths. He even considers sending the second phone (the replacement after he was convinced that a hacker was troubling him) he got into the lake, but mercifully, he just pocketed it. I’m confused as to why he didn’t take the storeman’s advice and just delete the ‘Pirate King’ contact. That would have eliminated his supernatural connection and ensured that he didn’t waste a perfectly good phone. 

What was Craig’s wish?

Seeing how connected people are with their phones, and maybe remembering Mr. Harrigan’s words about it, Craig came to an understanding that the wealthy man wasn’t completely free. Hence, in the film’s final few seconds, the protagonist, who also served as the narrator, had one wish. To be laid to rest without a phone in his pocket. This, as it would ensure he wasn’t connected to the world once he was put to rest.


To conclude, Mr. Harrigan’s Phone showed that a phone is so powerful that one can be woken even in death. Technology will just not let us rest, and it is the world’s fault only.

Read More: I Came By Movie Ending, Explained: Can Hector Blake Escape Arrest?

 Mr. Harrigan’s Phone (2022) Netflix Trailer

Mr. Harrigan’s Phone (2022) Movie Links – IMDb, Rotten Tomatoes
Mr. Harrigan’s Phone (2022) Movie Cast – Jaden Martell, Donald Sutherland, Kirby Howell-Baptiste, Joe Tippett, Cyrus Arnold
Where to watch Mr. Harrigan's Phone

Similar Posts