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The Black Phone Review

by Reel World Critic 3 months ago in review
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The latest Blumhouse prodction is a true horror thriller!

Tension in movies is supposed to leave you on the edge of your seat. It should make you watch with anticipation hoping that things go well for the main characters who find themselves in these situations. The Black Phone does just that and even dials up a few twists to keep it even more atmospheric.

Immediately what this film does so well is it gives you a little bit of insight into the main character of Finney Blake. He is a small kid who enjoys Baseball, lives with his alcoholic dad and younger sister and gets picked on at school. Finney is a likable lead who you know will find himself in turmoil later on. That adds to the tension in a big way because you want him to get out of the situation. He is not just another victim of a slasher villain as the film opts to show very little of what happened between the Grabber and the other children he abducted.

The film entirely rides on two performances. Mason Thames as Finney and Ethan Hawke as The Grabber. Both are fantastic. Hawke who barely shows his face does some of the best acting of his career and definitely amps up the creep factor with the sinister way in which he speaks. We never quite know the motivation behind his actions but we know his M.O is a black van with black balloons. Hawke definitely gives one of the best performances of 2022 and one of the all around best performances in a horror film that I have seen in a long time.

There was one aspect that added a secondary layer to the film amidst the thriller elements and that was the supernatural concept of the ringing black phone in Finney's basement room. Everytime he answered he would hear the voice of a past victim who would speak to him. This is where we got small glimpses of their lives and their encounter with Hawkes’ serial killer character. It is explained rather quickly and simplistically that Finney’s mother would hear voices and it led her to do bad things. The simple explanation was the best route because it did not need any flashbacks, any detailed scenes explaining why it was occurring. It was simply stated via dialogue and then the plot continued to move forward at a quick pace. Behind a simple plot is simple execution and sometimes that does add all the ingredients you need in the pot to make a solid movie.

The Black Phone moves quickly and that truly is the biggest strength. It breezes past and leaves you breathless as Finney finds himself in a battle of wits against The Grabber while the town detectives race to solve the case. It is about as perfect as you want a thriller to be. It features fantastic performances from the children actors and the nuanced performances from the veteran actors that blend well together. Check this one out if you love movies that build the tension right up to the final moments and that feature very menacing performances from solid reputable star actors. Hawke is at his best and the film shines because of it. The Black Phone is the must see horror film of the summer and I cannot sing the praises of Scott Derickson enough for this one. He has done big budget but this is a crowning achievement in film making. Grab that big bag of popcorn and your drink but be careful not to throw your popcorn during the more frightening scenes. It will make you jump. Be warned. Be ready.


About the author

Reel World Critic

All things pop culture. Movies, TV, Music,Comics as well as some dabbling into the Sports world. If you can record it, watch it and play it back. I have an opinion.

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