Cell (2016) Ending Explained

Cell (2016) ending explained

Last updated on April 5th, 2024 at 11:17 pm

Directed by Tod Williams, Cell (2016) is a science fiction horror film based on the 2006 novel of the same name by famous writer Stephen King. The movie is set in a world where a mysterious pulse from a cell phone signal turns people into mindless zombies.

The movie explores the consequences of a mysterious pulse from a cell phone signal that turns most of the world’s population into mindless mobile zombies. Starring John Cusack, Samuel L Jackson, and Isabelle Furhman in the lead roles, it is a must-watch movie for sci-fi horror film lovers.

Cell (2016) Movie Ending Explained & Plot Story in Details

* * * Spoiler Alert – If you haven’t seen the movie yet, turn back now! * * *

The movie story revolves around Clayton Riddell (John Causack), a comic book illustrator, who is about to go home from the Boston airport to meet his family. His son and wife live in Manchester, whom he didn’t meet for almost a year.

On the way home, Clayton’s gadget loses connection, and he goes to a nearby pay phone booth to talk to his family. Of a sudden, Clayton notices that whoever brings the cell to their ears begins to convulse around him. He also notices that some electronic signal has been sent through the cell phones of the people, and that turns the people into violent mobile zombies called phoners by being controlled by an unknown resource. The electronic signal is like an infectious disease spreading among people and harming humankind.

In this situation, Clayton can’t connect with his family through the phone. Within a few moments, Clayton understands that this hysteria is a global catastrophe. His first thought was to save his son Johnny, who usually never uses the cell phone. Johnny had written many letters to Clayton.

Clayton’s journey home became deadliest with fights of blood and survival. He gets some companions in survival Tom (Samuel L Jackson), Ray (Anthony Reynolds), Denise (Erin Elizabeth Burns), and Jordan (Owen Teague). It was pretty hard for Clayton and his companions to survive, as the cell zombies were everywhere, killing and recruiting norms to their team. With the increasing number of phone zombies, surviving was becoming too hard for Clayton and his companions.

With the increasing number of humans turning into zombies, those still retained their human appearance are dying. Clayton’s friends: Ardai (Stacy Keach) and Alice (Isabelle Furhman), were among them. Clayton and the survivors desperately confront terrible monsters. Somehow surviving, the survivors arrive in Maine, and from there, Clayton and his companions arrive at his home.

In Clayton’s house, he finds a note from his son that says, “mom has become one of them.” And Clayton kills the mutated Sharon, who attacked him. He gets to know from the neighbors that Johnny has gone to Kashwak, an area inaccessible to radio signals, and they can escape there.

Read more, You Should Have Left (2020) Ending Explained

After knowing about Kashwak, Clayton sets on a mission to find his son and rescue him, which is pretty difficult. Clayton is unable to contact his son as he must refrain from using a cell phone. During the course of the film, Clayton has already killed a lot of people who have been affected by the electronic signal and have turned into cell phone zombies.

Clayton and his companions go there, but there is a huge trap waiting for him; a cellular relay tower that feeds the cell phone zombies led by mobile zombie leader Torn. A phone zombie herd (called phoners) starts circling around Clayton and walking closer to him. In the crowd, he meets his son Johnny, who he was searching for eagerly.

Clayton finds his son near Lake Kashwakamak, but he needs to be in order. Johnny was already infected with the hysteria and appeared with a fixed look, a wide-open mouth, and slow movements.

Noticing infected Johnny was a great shock for Clayton. Despite that, he clutches his son and presses the call button on the phone to explode the detonator Clayton’s companions planted. With the explosion, the tower takes off into the air, and together with a herd of mobile zombies, their leader Torn is destroyed. Torn was the person who seemed to have started the whole infectious signal.

In the very last scene, Clayton and Johnny are seen walking through woods in autumn. The next scene shows Clayton is among the mobile zombie herd and walking like he is one of the phoners.

What Happens to Clayton and His Son Johnny At the End of the Film Cell (2016)?

The ending part shows Clayton killing Torn with the explosion, who was behind the infectious phone signals. He got surrounded by the phoners who were coming closer to him from everywhere. Johnny was waiting for Clayton, but he got compromised. Clayton hugs Johnny and blows up the place to kill all the phoners. As the film goes by, Clayton and his son Johnny are seen walking in the woods. The movie’s last scene shows Clayton being among the phoners crowd and walking with them.

It is possible that Clayton also turned into phoners by getting infected by the signal, as he was walking with the phoners like phoners. Or possibly, he was strolling to an after-life situation with Johnny where they remain unharmed forever; as he walks through the woods with Johnny.

What Happens at the End of the Film Cell (2016)?

The ending of the film “Cell” did not adopt the ending written in Stephen King’s novel. Tod Williams kept multiple interpretations for the viewer at the movie’s end. So, you’ve room to support your interpretation of the movie’s ending as a viewer. At the last minutes of screen time, there are two possible outcomes of the mobile zombie hysteria.

One interpretation is that Clayton saves the world from the mobile zombies by blowing up the explosives. As the zombie leader Torn dies, all the humans are safe now. After that, Clayton takes a stroll to an after-life situation with Johnny where they remain unharmed forever.

Another possible interpretation is that; Clayton also got infected when he got in contact with the mobile zombies or his son. This will also imply that the whole film, which portrayed Clayton as the savior of the world, was just his imagination after getting infected. Possibly for this, Clayton was seen walking among the mobile phone zombies with his son, looking like he was one of them.

What Caused the Pulse in the Film Cell (2016)?

In the film Cell (2016) it seems a computer program caused the pulse that was broadcasting signals into the battery-powered cell phone network. The program becomes corrupted with a malicious computer worm that infects the newer phoners with a mutated Pulse, making them vicious for humankind. Possibly, Torn is the guy who started all this in the film “Cell”.


The film “Cell” explores the dangers of technology and the power it can have over humanity. The movie’s well-developed characters and fast-paced actions will keep you on the edge of your seat. We suggest you watch the movie. The brainless pen stops for now; happy streaming, and have a great day.


Original Title: Cell

Genre: Horror/ Thriller/ Survival

Runtime: 1hr 38min

Original Language: English

Directed by Tod Williams

Release date: June 10, 2016 (United States)

Origin Country: United States

Rate The Movie!
[Total: 12 Average: 3.6]

Continue reading, The Forest (2016) Ending Explained