‘The Black Phone’ Review- Calls In Some Genuine Frights

Based on a short story by Joe Hill, The Black Phone is a horror film directed by Scott Derrickson who also co-wrote the screenplay with C. Robert Cargill. The duo and Jason Blum co-produced the movie for Blumhouse Productions and Universal Pictures.

Finney (Mason Thames) lives at home with his widowed abusive alcoholic father Terrence (Jeremy Davies) and his sister Gwen (Madeleine McGraw), who seems to have psychic dreams. The town is discussing the Grabber (Ethan Hawke), a criminal who has been kidnapping kids and leaving black balloons at the crime scene. When Finney is kidnapped, he thinks he is done, only for a mysterious black phone in his makeshift cell to ring. He hears the voice of victims who give him survival tips. Meanwhile, Gwen is trying to work with police detectives in piecing together her dreams to find her brother.

Scott Derrickson may have lost out on a second venture into the MCU, but after viewing this flick, I think he is better for it. He provides a genuinely scary movie that brought on the chills and frills with a nostalgic look at thrillers, making it take place in the seventies.

Hawke was brilliant as the Grabber. He was creepy, frightening, and utilized the villain’s mask to the best of his ability. I truly felt his presence and focus on bringing about this murderer in a way that was realistically chilling.

Thames is the breakout role here. You could tell he was all-in when it came to the role of Finney. You felt his pain, hurt, fear, frustration, and even the moments of courage as he tries to survive one of the most horrific circumstances a kid could be placed in.

I was glad to see that Gwen sees her “psychic” abilities as a gift from God, but I was kind of disappointed that they turned her into a little cuss. What is with this boring Hollywood trope where every female character has to be a jerk, rude, or obnoxious? Now, that is not to say the role did not have its charm, but it felt inconsistent with who they were trying to form. That being said, McGraw was brilliant in the role and brought a lot of spunk to her character.

Bottom line, The Black Phone is a superb horror film that brings on the chills and terror. This is highlighted by the brilliant performances of the cast, bringing out one frightening movie.

PARENTAL CONCERNS: Disturbing scenes, Strong foul language, Bloody violence

FAVORITE QUOTE: Hang up the phone! NOW!

Check out the trailer below:

What do you think? Let me know in the comments below. Tell me if there is a comic book, movie, or novel you would like me to review. While you are at it, read my reviews of Shattered and Prey. Don’t forget to like, share, and subscribe for more posts like this one.

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