The Black Phone Poster

The Black Phone (2021)

Director Scott Derrickson best known for his terrifying horror movies such as Sinister and Poltergiest, not to mention Doctor Strange returns back to his roots in – The Black Phone.

Which features one of my favorite actors Ethan Hawke as The Grabber, and is based on the short story from Joe Hill who originally published his book on the 16th of October 2006.

Finney Shaw is a 13-year-old boy that is kidnapped one day after walking back from school by a child killer known as The Grabber, who locks him up in a scary soundproof basement that strangely has a disconnected black phone.

But what’s even stranger than that is when Finney begins to receive calls from the particular phone, calls from all the previous victims of The Grabber, warning him and guiding him on how to survive and beat The Grabber at his own twisted game.


Though I have not seen any of Scott Derrickson’s horror films such as Sinister and The Exorcism of Emily Rose, I have heard nothing but good things about this man’s work which is why I gave The Black Phone a try, and what a film this is.

The beginning sets up this utopia-like feel of a town that is carefree and has children running away, playing, and children competing with others but that is all a façade.

There is bullying going around on school grounds with no teacher stepping up to address this, parents are negligent, and some parents are alcoholics that are physically abusing their children because of ghosts that are haunting them.

The Black Phone peels off the Band-Aid on our eyes to quickly bring you into the perspective of reality, not all things are as good as they appear in the beginning.

It’s a pretty straightforward film that doesn’t beat around the bush, with a great way of keeping you as the audience fully attentive to the screen without realizing just how much time has passed.

The Grabber played by Ethan Hawke is a phenomenal character, how he tries to come off as a gentle guy that just so happened to kidnap a child whilst setting up a devious trap for any that dear risk it will keep parent awake.

It’s unsettling in so many ways to watch that the hair on my hands would stand up as if I were being electrocuted just by his sight. That mask also plays a direct link to the terror he emulates.

One of my favorite moments of the film even though the act is small, it’s the gesture that sends chills down my spine.

For example, that change of masks. The moment I first noticed the angry mask I knew right there and then that this man is a deranged psychopath.

Though most of the cast is made up of children aside from a few detectives and parents in the film, the children are what make this film, alongside Ethan Hawke of course.

Gwen Shaw played by Madeleine McGraw is the star of the show, her character is so raw and passionate yet still a child that is only trying to save her brother.

Throughout the entire film, I only had one thing running in my mind; which is that I hope Finney survives this inhumane situation and gets to tell his tale of how he survived this crazy scumbag.

Overall, The Black Phone is truly a thriller. Keeps to its genre in the simplest of ways, never going overboard with the scares or false tension build-up.

When you hear that sinister music play in the background you get exactly what you are expecting, it also has a way of forming your bond with the characters relatively quickly.
So that when things happen to them, you honestly feel like you knew these people, The Black Phone will make you react, it will make you feel as if you are there.

A truly great thriller that I’ll give a happy 7 out of 10.

Let me know in the comment section below what you thought of The Black Phone by director Scott Derrickson.

Thanks for reading…Black Phone

Scott Derrickson

“‘Doctor Strange’ is a personal movie. I think that it feels personal to me, and I don’t think anybody but me would have made that movie the way I made it. But this is a whole other level of personal. This is the most personal film I’ve ever made by far.”

Finney is a shy but clever 13-year-old boy who’s being held in a soundproof basement by a sadistic, masked killer. When a disconnected phone on the wall starts to ring, he soon discovers that he can hear the voices of the murderer’s previous victims.
Ethan Hawke
Mason Thames
Madeleine McGraw
Miguel Cazarez Mora
Tristan Pravong
Brady Hepner
James Ransone
E. Roger Mitchell
Universal Pictures
1h 42mins

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