Undeniably, this is a well-crafted piece of cinematography in all its technical aspects. This is not the first feat for the Hawke-Derrickson duo, who already collaborated in the movie Sinister in 2012.
Set in a small town in America, a number kidnappings of young teenagers have been taking place, putting the town on edge. Finney Shaw (played by Mason Thames) is a young high school kid, who lives in a dysfunctional home, with his sister, and a violent alcoholic father. Going about his day-to-day in already rather bleak circumstances, everything is about to become even bleaker when he is sequestered by the ominous clown-masked kidnapper. Held captive in a dark, dank and barren basement, he finds himself in the midst of his despair when it sinks in that he will never get out of that place. It is then that the phone rings – yes, there is a disconnected phone in the basement. Finney answers, and on the other side are voices, voices of the psychopathic kidnapper’s previous victims. The distorted voices seem to be trying to help the Finney escape…
The Black Phone is all in all a good film, and, in terms of genre, it is an excellent horror movie. Full of intention and top of line work behind the camera, it is a classic film that counts with a very inspired Ethan Hawke in the role of a psychopath, and in which, Mason Thames has braved to give a really performance – this kid is going places.
It is a classic kidnapping/thriller, until it surprises with a twist where it takes on a supernatural element, thereby elevating it to a horror story. The Black Phone is paced well to meet the horror standards, but also takes it a notch beyond in its approach.
The Black Phone is a film in which everything is in its place, technically, and in the narration. It works with the precision of a Swiss watch: editing; effects; frames; performances; and, above all, direction. Derrickson knows how to make a horror film leaning more heavily on suspense rather than on gore, building climax in all the sequences that require it, playing more on the psychological tension than on the overt scare factor of gore. This is one piece of work to be proud of and quite a feat as far as horror movies are concerned.
It is well executed in terms of atmosphere, timing, editing – such as the insertion of flashback footage – photography, and sound effects.
Without going into whether it’s scary or not (that’s up to each, and the ghouls that might haunt them), we do acknowledge that The Black Phone is an excellent film in all its technical aspects, with a well-crafted and well-executed script, and in which everyone fulfills their part in the elaboration of this movie, achieving thus a movie that will surely be considered one of Blumhouse’s best films of the year.
It is a movie that will not go ignored, given that it has managed to craft together a good horror story, without renouncing to notable film-making. It is well directed, and orchestrated, with great performances and technical savvy.
Scott Derrickson is an American filmmaker known for the movies Sinister (2012) and Dr. Strange (2016).
Scott Derrickson was born on July 16, 1966 in Los Angeles, California.
He made his debut in the Hellraiser saga movies with Hellraiser V: Inferno. He directed: The Exorcism of Emily Rose (2005), The Day the Earth Stood Still (2008), Sinister (2012), Deliver Us From Evil (2014) and Doctor Strange (2016).
And he is now working on an adaptation of the epic poem written by John Milton, The Lost Paradise.
Ethan Hawke is an American actor and writer known for the movies, Training Day (2001) and Sinister (2012), among others.
Ethan Green Hawke was born on November 6, 1970 in Austin, Texas; United States.
Ethan Hawke rose to fame in 1985 thanks to the movie Explorers and the film starring Robin Williams, Dead Poets Society. He has a role in Reality Bites, alongside Winona Ryder and he was nominated to an Academy Award as Best Supporting Actor for Training Day (Denzel Washington).
He was also nominated, but this time for Best Screenplay, for the movies Before Sunset and Before Midnight.
He was married with the actress Uma Thruman from 1998 to 2004). They both starred in Gattaca (1997).
Other Movie Reviews
‘The Black Phone’ marks another solid effort by the writer and director. The scares work, and so does the tension. The small neighborhood town feels lived inMeagan Navarro: Bloody Disgusting
Derrickson can build a mood and craft creepy imagery, and he moves his camera with precision. But this feels like a notebook of compelling visual and narrative ideas that never quite fit together.Jason Bailey: The Playlist
The Black Phone (2021)
Movie title: The Black Phone
Movie description: Set in a small town in America, numerous kidnappings of young teenagers have been taking place, putting the town on edge. Finney Shaw (played by Mason Thames) is a young high school kid, who lives in a dysfunctional home, with his sister, and a violent alcoholic father. Going by his day-to-day life in already rather bleak circumstances, everything is about to take an even bleaker turn, when he is sequestered by the ominous clown-masked kidnapper. He is held captive in a dark, dirty and barren basement, where oddly, there a disconnected dial-phone on the wall. In the midst of his despair considering that he will never get out of that place, the phone rings. On the other side are voices, voices of the the psychopathic kidnapper's previous victims. The distorted voices seem to be trying to help the Finney escape...
Date published: June 13, 2022
Country: United States
Duration: 102 mins
Author: Martin Cid
Director(s): Scott Derrickson
Actor(s): Ethan Hawke, Mason Thames, Jeremy Davies, James Ransone, Madeleine McGraw, Gina Jun, E. Roger Mitchell
It is a movie that will not go ignored, given that it has managed to craft together a good horror story, without renouncing to notable film-making. It is well directed, and orchestrated, with great performances, and technical savvy.
Storyline - 7/10
Photgraphy - 6.2/10
Perfomances - 8/10
Entertainment Factor - 8/10