Review: The Black Phone

Director: Scott Derrickson

Screenplay: Scott Derrickson and Robert Cargill

Year: 2022

As is often the case with high-anticipation movies in the horror genre, when viewing the announcement and expectations behind “The Black Phone” avoid viewing any trailers or promotional materials. Usually I prefer to see a movie knowing as little as possible and to be surprised. Sure, it’s impossible to avoid them entirely when you’re running a platform dedicated to horror movies, and what little I saw led me to have the wrong expectation of what the plot of this movie would be.

Seeing the name of Ethan Hawke as the lead, Scott Derrickson as the director, the one with a supernatural theme and the plot having to do with the disappearance of children, I couldn’t help but think of “sinister”. If you don’t know which movie I’m talking about, do yourself a favor and consider watching it after reading our review we posted about it a while back. However, despite their apparent similarities, these are quite different movies, although they work very well to watch in a double feature.

While “Sinister” bases its plot on a purely supernatural and much more sinister aspect (intentional joke), “The Black Phone” bases its plot on a much more realistic aspect and using the supernatural aspect as a complement. The basis of the plot of “The Black Phone” is based on the kidnapping of several children from a community by an individual known as The Grabber. Finney is his most recent victim and through whom we learn about the atrocities that this criminal commits.

Once Finney is kidnapped and locked in a basement, we understand the reason for the movie’s name. In the basement there is a mysterious black telephone that according to The Grabber does not work, but which rings several times during Finney’s forced stay in this place and allows him to communicate with the criminal’s past victims. It is through this interaction that we witness most of the supernatural aspect of the film, which is well worked but, for the expectations I had from my association with “Sinister” feel somewhat limited in the horror aspect.

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Although somewhat timid in horror, “The Black Phone” is full of suspense. Audiovisual effects, such as set design and sound design play an important role, performances are crucial to achieve this. The entire cast does a great job in this section, but it is Ethan Hawke who shines with his portrayal of the villain and gives him a terrifying presence from the first minute we see him on screen.

Although far from offering the horror we expected, “The Black Phone” feeds on its incredible performances, technical section and supernatural elements to bring a dark story to life. While we expected a theme with a lot of weight in the supernatural aspect, the plot is based on a more realistic aspect but still relies on the supernatural element to develop it. Horror fans won’t regret watching it.

Review: The Black Phone