The Black Phone Review
By Paul Anthony
I will always start a review on a Blumhouse production by saying yes, they produce a lot of horror films but at the same time these films can be a hit or a miss, so the question is The Black Phone a hit or miss? The film was made on a budget of about 18 million and as of the writing of this blog has made 157 million dollars which makes you seem like it is a hit, but we got a lot to talk about here. The film is based on the 2004 short story of the same name by Joe Hill. The film is led by Ethan Hawke. So, let’s take a look at the plot.
The film takes place in 1978, here we meet Finn and his younger sister Gwen. Finn plays baseball and life seems normal though we quickly learn that this little town north of Denver. The little town is dealing with a child murderer, well at this point it’s just a kidnapper because the bodies haven’t been found just yet. The Kidnapper is dubbed the Grabber by the town and kids that are close or have been around Finn start to disappear. One day the police interview Gwen because word got around that she said something regarding the cases that haven’t been made public which annoys her alcoholic father and punishes her by beating her because she tells him that her dreams come true, and these are visions. We quickly learn that Finn’s mother had these dreams as well and that’s why she committed suicide, and he doesn’t want that fate for his daughter. The worse thing happens, and Finn runs into the Grabber, and he becomes the next victim. The Grabber informs Finn once he awakes that he is in a soundproof basement so he can scream but no one will hear him and the black phone that’s been in the basement and hasn’t worked since he was a kid. Nothing happens over the next few days but then the phone rings and each time the phone rings it’s a voice from a past victim and gives him advice how to escape but reveal they never did because they ran out of time and its game to the grabber. The last call is his friend who teaches how to use the phone as a weapon. At the same time Gwen finally has her father approval to use her visions to help Finn and the cops finally agree to work with her and with her help they find a house though no one is home and cops can’t find any bodies until they find the basement where he buried the victims and at that point Finn is fighting the Grabber and gets the upper hand then break his neck and kills and only to escape. We learn that he was only across the street from where the victims were buried. Finn shortly returns to school and now has more confidence from him surviving the grabber.
Now, some of the things I like about this film was Hawke’s performance and how the film used him, he wasn’t in every scene, and he didn’t need to be. The film didn’t rely on jump scares to move the movie along. Instead, it told a story and when the grabber was on screen, he was a threat. The movie made good use out of a small buget, and the effects were on par. Now in the end I am giving this film a Hit and a great grade of a A rating and think if you are true horror fan then you’ll enjoy this film.