Director: Scott Derrickson
The Black Phone is a horror/drama movie. The Black Phone is based on a short story by Joe Hill. It tells the story of a teenager – Finney (Mason Thames), who gets kidnapped and locked up in a soundproof basement by a child abductor, “The Grabber”. In the cellar, Finney notices a black phone on the wall that is disconnected but is still able to receive calls from “the Grabber’s” dead captives. These dead captives try to help Finney escape.
The Black Phone is set in North Denver in the year 1978. It is about a shy but clever teenage Finney, who usually gets bullied by his peers. Finney has a sister Gwendolyn who can see future events in her dream. Finney and Gwen lived with their widowed abusive dad – Jeremy Davies . Gwen usually visits her friend Suzie on Fridays for a sleepover while Finney takes care of his dad at home. Children have been missing in the community for a while, and the police had little, or no leads towards capturing the person responsible for this disappearance. When the cops discovers that Gwen could dream about future events, they tried to get as much information about his disappearance from her.
Although Gwen could see future events in her dreams, she never saw the kidnap of her brother coming. On a Friday, while Finney was walking home after dropping Gwen off at Suzie’s place, he gets kidnapped by the Grabber. He is put in a basement where screaming is of no use. Finney discovers a disconnected phone on the wall in the basement, which could receive calls from some of the dead captives. The dead prisoners try to help Finney escape by telling him what they did in their various attempts to escape and what he should do and shouldn’t.
Ethan Hawke plays a good role, in my opinion. He is scary and creepy. Mentally deranged and despicable. He displays a softly intimidating façade. Hawke did not waste any time summoning a nasty venomous streak when the circumstances demanded it. The Grabber is so terrifying. Hawke wears a mask for most of his on-screen appearances, yet even behind the mask, He gives the Grabber a menacing personality. He develops a villain that fits perfectly with the movie’s tone by using his voice and movement to compensate for his disguised face traits.
I was pleased with the performance of both Thames and McGraw. They each get their turns in the limelight and exploit every minute of individual attention to sever any emotional distance the screen provides. They powerfully show an impermeable sibling relationship in the face of suffering, whether the agony came from their dad or the bullies.
The movie was good though the action scenes at the beginning of the film were not up to standard. It was terrible, in my opinion. Asides from Mason Thames and Madeleine McGraw, I felt other kids did not really play a perfect role. For Robin (Miguel Cazarez Mora), it seems like he was reading his words from a screen. All the issues I had with the movie were at the beginning. As the film goes on, the performances get better.
The black phone contains violence, use of drugs, foul language, and bloody images. I wouldn’t recommend this movie to anyone younger than 16 years.
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