The black phone review

the black phone it is set in a landscape of the 1970s before the age of the Internet, cell phones, or Amber Alerts. It takes place in a time when serial killers and kidnappings were rampant and difficult to solve due to the paucity of trailers. Director Scott Derrickson has mentioned in other interviews that he is not a nostalgic person. Where some see the past through rose-colored glasses, he has a less favorable view of the “good old days,” as some would say.

One could see this as the reason he chose to adapt Joe Hill’s short story of the same name. the black phone it thrives on its solitude and disconnected environment in the age of feeling powerless against the monsters that stalk the streets at night. Plus, it’s a horror story that surprisingly has a spirit of empowerment that involves overcoming abuse and trauma.


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The film centers on Finney Shaw (Mason Thames), a teenager who has a troubled childhood. His father is an alcoholic with anger problems and abusive tendencies. A scene in which his sister Gwen (Madeleine McGraw) is punished will provoke some viewers. His mother passed away leaving both brothers with no one but his father (Jeremy Davies) to care for them. And at school, Finney is constantly bullied and beaten up by his classmates.

Meanwhile, the neighborhood youths are going missing, being kidnapped by a stranger the news has dubbed “The Grabber.” To add to the strangeness of it all, Finney’s little sister has visions of the kidnappings and knows details that only the police should know. This adds even more tension to the home as the cops start pressuring the unstable dad to talk to Gwen.

All of this comes to a head when Finney himself comes face to face with The Grabber (Ethan Hawke) and is plucked off the streets in broad daylight. The story then turns into a mostly one-scenario survival movie as Finney is placed in a cemented basement with only one door to escape, guarded by a creepy Ethan Hawke who sports a haunting horned mask and a devilish grin. wide.

Empowerment comes into play with the added supernatural element. Inside this basement prison is a black phone that keeps ringing despite being unplugged. And the person(s) on the other end are previous deceased victims of The Grabber who help “Kid Finney” maneuver a means of surviving the malevolent kidnapper of him.

Hawke’s portrayal of The Grabber will give one goosebumps as he makes suggestive comments to Finney that could be interpreted as perverted, violent, or both. His actual plans for Finney are never very clear, but the ambiguous intent is more disturbing to the imagination. This is some of Hawke’s best work, offering a performance that, while understated, has dimension. Hawke demonstrates a man with self-loathing and a disconnect from his immorality. between this movie and moon knightcontinues to prove that he is an extremely underrated artist.

The child actors in this movie are amazing as they mostly take center stage in The Black Telephone. Mason Thames is the heart and soul of this movie. He has the burden of selling fear and carrying the weight of the film for most of the runtime. Thames also has scenes that convey a genuine vulnerability to the situation that leaves him hopeless and trapped. And while these scenes are heartbreaking, the acting communicates the stakes. It’s an impressive job for such a young talent. However, the show stealer in the black phone It’s Madeleine McGraw. Her scenes range from devastating to shockingly hysterical. The script requires her to have a hardened soul that is accompanied by a “no filter” attitude. Her dialogue is hilariously fierce and the acting is just as equal.

The script itself is one of the best adaptations of a Joe Hill story. has essences of stay by me and one can see glimpses of the sandlot either radio brochure here, films that showed camaraderie among young people to overcome fear. There are even sparks of influence from Wes Craven’s The people under the stairsan extremely underrated horror movie.) That was another movie that showed victimized youth fighting their tormentor.

the black phone it is not without problems. The film has a surprise story in the third act that requires some gymnastics in the suspension of disbelief department. It is a small detail in a sea of ​​well-made decisions. However, that’s all that can be said about this mishap without giving away spoilers.

the black phone it’s a tense, heartfelt, and decent flashback horror experience. Scott Derrickson’s return to horror after tackling doctor strange it’s continual proof that he’s a master of the genre. the black phone The direction (along with the screenplay by C. Robert Cargill) handles beautifully with immense suspense and rich themes of overcoming trauma and fear. It’s a reminder that while the present may not seem as wonderful as the past, the lack of connection and access to information in the days before the Internet had its pitfalls. The days when there weren’t as many cameras on street corners and kidnapped children were harder to retrieve may not be as nostalgic as people think.

the black phone opens in theaters June 24.

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