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Derrickson’s ‘The Black Phone’ is a call you won’t want to miss

Derrickson’s ‘The Black Phone’ is a call you won’t want to miss

Derrickson’s ‘The Black Phone’ is a call you won’t want to miss
July 03
13:00 2022

Scott Derrickson and C. Robert Cargill are best known in the horror world for terrifying audiences with “Sinister” back in 2012. Roughly a decade later the duo is back, dialing in with another instant horror classic.

“The Black Phone” squeezes every possible emotion out with roots buried deep in real-life horror. The entire film is oozing with suspense, leaving little to no time to catch your breath. With stellar lead performances and a nightmare-inducing villain, “The Black Phone” establishes itself as yet another horrific masterpiece. 

A kidnapper is on the loose in 1978, and a young boy falls victim to The Grabber. His sudden separation from his sister causes her to do everything in her power to find him. Those powers appear more in the literal sense, with supernatural circumstances becoming crucial in finding her brother. Victims of The Grabber communicate to the boy through a black phone, guiding him towards an escape and stopping the kidnapper forever.

Mason Thames plays Finney, the boy who gets kidnapped. His performance is so perfect that a majority of the time he doesn’t even need words to convey to the audience what his character is feeling. The sky is the limit for what he wants to do next, and whatever project he takes on will be elevated because of him.

Madeleine McGraw is the scene-stealing sister, Gwen. She delivers most of the comedy and the heart in this film. Gwen’s rocky relationship with her father is something certain audiences know all too well. Her raw emotion and love for her brother create a whole different level of immersion, and the film greatly benefits because of it.

Ethan Hawke deserves several paragraphs dedicated to his character, The Grabber. It goes without saying a child kidnapper is a terrible person, but there is something so specifically sinister about his character. The mask and its many variations are equally as iconic as the man wearing it. 

Seeing Hawke in this element was so unfamiliar, but it felt so right at the same time. There are other sources of scares throughout the film, but The Grabber is a specific strand of horror sure to leave a lasting impression forever.

What separates this film from others in the genre is how strong the sibling dynamic is. There are fantastic horror films with sibling interaction in them, and it is one of the easiest ways to earn the heart of an audience.

This film goes above and beyond anything we have seen, giving us two siblings who never fight and go through the same struggles at home. Their mother has passed away and their father is an alcoholic. The movie doesn’t shy away from the intense aspects of parental abuse, but those heartbreaking scenes are immediately followed by moments of love between Finney and Gwen.

Instead of traditional jump scares, the scares come more from the extremely real horrors in our lives. Domestic abuse and child abduction haunt society every day and the film balances scaring the audience with bringing attention to the topics. There was some serious risk to incorporating these elements, but they were handled with care and caution.

If you see one thing this summer, try and make it “The Black Phone.” There are few movies from this year with this special glow. Any negative thoughts are quickly washed away by overwhelmingly positive ones. It sits nicely next to Derrickson and Cargill’s original horror masterpiece, making one brilliant double feature.

To be head over heels for this movie is an understatement. Seeing it as many times as possible on the big screen will be a priority for the foreseeable future. “The Black Phone” is the best movie of 2022, and it will be hard to dethrone this twisted masterpiece.

Jaden’s Rating: 5/5

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Jaden Oberkrom

Jaden Oberkrom

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