Black Phone (2022)

Director: Scott Derrickson
Starring: Ethan Hawk, Miguel Cazarez, Mason Thames, Madeleine McGraw, Jeremy Davies USA. 1h m

Black phone does all it can to NOT be the typical horror movie, and what it achieves is something not only beautifully crafted but it will keep fans puzzling over the finer details for decades.

Initially kicking off with the troubled life of 13 year old Finney Blake (Thames) , he’s shy and spends his days avoiding bullies and amusing his adorable little sister Gwen (McGraw), their father is constantly at his wits end and often beats the kids more from anger than from being a tough parent but the family get along in their own troubled way, Finney’s best friend is the toughest kid in school, Robin a kid who’s got a mean right hand but needs Finney’s help with his math homework so they look after each other.

Never Talk to Strangers

When kids start going missing in the neighborhood, Gwen has some freaked out psychic moment and realizes that black balloons are involved, but the kids psychic abilities don’t exactly save them as Finney is snatched by the “Grabber” the next day, finding himself chained in the soundproof basement of the child killer. Finney’s only life is a disconnected black phone where he can talk to the other children who perished in the basement, including Robin.

It’s quite shocking how Derrickson manages to conjure this world where the ghosts of dead children and the psychic abilities of the living ones blend seamlessly into a late 70’s world that would be familiar to some. It’s never seen as an unusual thing for these spirits to cross over, but generally the entire film is surreal and filled with different tensions.

Hawke is the “Grabber”, the infamous unnamed child snatcher extraordinaire, a masked abductor who likes to play little games with his prey, but Finney and his guides are able to stave off the killer while the youngster attempts to stage an escape. He really pushes the mask’s ability to change his character’s mood, and man this killer is moody, when he’s not taunting the boy trying to get him to play games he’s brooding over not being able to slay the kid. sticking to his rigid rules and struggling through the frustration. Basically Finney has to try and escape for the game to begin but through wise advice from a bleedy floating ghost he hangs tight in the creepy basement.

I wasn’t able to stop that puta so now it’s up to you

– Robin

The film deep dives into the habits of the killer, each child learning a little bit more about him before their untimely deaths, but can Finney put all the pieces together in time, after all this madman has slaughtered so many children and evaded the cops every step of the way.

Despite the intensely dark overtones, and super creepy ghost sightings, there is a bit of a warn family story underneath it all, that no matter how bad things had become the family does pull together. It feels one step aw3ay from Stranger Things, the retro kids in mortal danger with questionable supernatural goings on.


Rating: 6/10

Related: Stranger Things (2016-) IT (1990-2017),
Lists: Kiddy Killer Flicks
Spotlight:Ethan Hawke


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