Scott Derrickson’s “The Black Phone” is an amazingly restrained horror film with some original edges that keeps you along for the journey to the final conclusion.
I’m not going to speak too much on it, as not to give away certain plot points, but Derrickson hits it out of the park with the ever-evolving sense of dread and terror. Everything has its place, and every place has its method in the film. If you appreciated his film Sinister (2012) you will no doubt love this feature even more.
The original story was written by Bangor, Maine’s own Joe Hill and from interviews I have read, Derrickson includes every detail of that story and evolves it. The time period, music, wardrobe screamed the 70s without it being shoved down our throats. Not too little. Not too much. Just the right amount.
It goes without saying Ethan Hawke (Moon Knight, Training Day) is great in his role as “The Grabber” and so was Mason Thames (For All Mankind) as “Finney” but holy shit, the performance by Madeleine McGraw (American Sniper, Outcast) as “Gwen” absolutely blew me away. This young girl can act! One scene in particular chilled my bones. “My dreams are just dreams!” Wow. Powerful stuff.
I highly recommend this film, it’s the right amount of a horror and thriller combined without being over the top. Very interesting and original premise with some great (but not forced) jump scares.
The Black Phone was directed by Scott Derrickson (Doctor Strange, Sinister) with a screenplay by Derrickson and C. Robert Cargill (Doctor Strange, Sinister) based on the short story by Joe Hill. The film was released into theaters on June 24, 2022.