Mr. Harrigan’s Phone Plot Synopsis
Based on the Stephen King short story of the same name, this latest adaptation focuses on a young boy called Craig and his friendship with Mr. Harrigan, an elderly billionaire who hires Craig to read for him.
Craig is glad to read to Harrigan because he values the old man’s company but their relationship is cut short when the old man dies a few years later.
Craig is understandably distraught by his friend’s death but to remain connected to him, he messages Harrigan’s phone, which is buried with him in his coffin.
The grief-stricken teen doesn’t expect to get an answer from Harrigan – the guy is dead, after all – but when he starts getting cryptic texts from Harrigan’s phone, he realises the old man is reaching out to him from beyond the grave. Not only this but the ghost of Harrigan then starts wreaking vengeance on Craig’s enemies.
To break his connection to the spirit, Craig needs to let go of his phone. But is he able to hang up on his old friend, despite the change in their relationship? Let’s take a closer look at the movie:
How does Craig meet Harrigan?
The two meet at their local church after Harrigan hears Craig give a reading. Due to his failing eyesight, the old man hires Craig to read three books a week to him at his home. The young boy gladly agrees because Harrigan promises to pay him for his services. But over time, their relationship grows and Craig continues to visit Harrigan, not because of money but because of the bond they have formed together.
Craig continues to read to Harrigan over the next five years. On his birthday, Craig receives an iPhone from his widowed dad and he also receives a lottery ticket from Harrigan. This isn’t the first ticket the old man has bought him but on this occasion, Craig wins $3000. As a thank you for the gift, he uses some of his winnings to buy Harrigan a phone.
Is Harrigan interested in the phone?
Initially, no. He doesn’t see the point in having a smartphone and is worried that the phone will take over his life if he starts to use it.
But when Craig shows Harrigan how to access the stock market on the phone, his opinion changes. During Craig’s later visits, it becomes clear that the phone has taken hold of Harrigan, as the old man had predicted, as he spends more time scrolling through the internet than listening to Craig reading to him.
Not long after, tragedy strikes when Craig returns to Harrigan’s home for another reading session and finds the man dead in his chair.
It could be assumed their friendship is now over but the two are still able to communicate using their respective phones.
How can Harrigan talk to Craig?
Craig slips Harrigan’s phone into the dead man’s pocket while he is lying in his coffin. He does this so he can remain in contact with Harrigan, even though he doesn’t expect to get an answer when he messages the man as an outlet for his grief.
But Harrigan does answer and he sends Craig some cryptic messages. One message reads “C C C sT” but the meaning of this is never fully explained. Still, the messages are the least of Craig’s problems.
At the school dance, Craig has a nasty encounter with Kenny, the school bully, and the young thug knocks Craig to the ground. Later, Craig sends a voicemail to Harrigan’s phone detailing his experiences. Not long after, Kenny is involved in a freak accident and is found dead. Bizarrely, his body is found in the position that Craig’s body was in after he was pummeled by the bully.
Craig suspects the ghost of Mr. Harrigan killed Kenny and when he later finds out Harrigan had an evil side, he starts to believe his suspicions were correct.
Does Harrigan kill again?
Craig is unwilling to delete Harrigan’s number, despite the violent incident that took place after leaving the voicemail. However, he replaces his phone with a new one and puts his old phone in a shoebox and stores it away.
Years pass and because Craig hasn’t been able to communicate with Harrigan on the old phone, no further deaths take place.
But while at journalism college, Craig learns of the tragic death of his beloved Biology teacher, Ms. Hart. She was killed in a road accident caused by a drunk driver called Deane Whitmore.
When Deane is let off lightly by the judge at his court hearing, Craig is angered, and he returns home to retrieve his old phone. He leaves Harrigan another voicemail asking the man’s ghost to kill Deane. Not long after, Deane is found dead in the shower at the rehab centre where he was ordered to stay. He died by choking on half a bar of soap which, it turns out, was Ms. Hart’s soap of choice when she was still alive.
Craig freaks out when he hears about Deane’s death, despite being technically involved. Eaten up by his guilt, he decides it’s time to say a final goodbye to Harrigan.
Does Craig hang up on Harrigan?
Craig visits Harrigan’s grave to apologize for making his murderous requests. He then runs to the nearby lake and throws his old phone away, thus ending the connection between himself and the dead man’s spirit.
He pauses for a moment and contemplates throwing away his current phone too. But as is the case for many of us, he struggles to let go of the device that has taken hold of his life and decides to keep it.
What does CCC sT mean?
As I mentioned earlier, this was never explained. But it might be that the letters stand for ‘Craig, stop!’
What does this mean? Well, Harrigan may have been asking Craig to stop making requests of him while he was trying to rest in peace from within his grave. Or he may have been reminding Craig that vengeance wasn’t the answer to his grievances. It might also be that he was telling Craig to give up his reliance on his smartphone.
Whatever the case, let’s just hope Craig never retrieved the phone to awaken Harrigan’s spirit again. As Stephen King once wrote, ‘sometimes dead is better.’
Read More: Mr Harrigan’s Phone Movie Review