Do You Hear It Ringing? Will You Pick Up? - The Black Phone
A new horror/thriller hits theaters this weekend, The Black Phone. This film follows a young boy named Finney (Manson Thames) who is abducted by a crazed killer (Ethan Hawke). Finney is held prisoner in a basement where an old black phone begins to ring. When Finney answers this clearly disconnected phone, he finds he can hear the voices of the killer’s previous victims. These victims are reaching out to Finney in an effort to help him avoid meeting the same fate they did.
What follows is The Good, The Bad, and The
Spoilers of The Black Phone.
There were so many good things in this film. The Black Phone is
based on a short story written by Joe Hill, son of the great horror writer
Stephen King. I did not know this during my first viewing of the film, but upon
reflections it made some of the elements of the movie that I loved make a
little more sense. I felt like The Black Phone gave me similar vibes as Stand
By Me, a short story by Stephen King. Also, throughout the movie, there are
many little tributes paid to Stephen King, like the killer having balloons and
a little girl in a bright yellow rain coat.
I will have to rewatch the film to see if I can spot even more than I
saw the first time.
Another great part of this movie are the kid actors. Yes, you read
that correctly. Manson Thames and Madeleine McGraw, who plays Thames’ sister,
were both amazing. These characters were well written and portrayed in a way
that felt both natural and believable.
I only have 2 small negative points from The Black Phone. First,
I did not like that this movie was pushed as a horror movie. In my opinion this
movie is clearly a thriller, but does not fit that general “horror” mold. There
are a couple jump scares thrown in, but you do not spend this movie scared, or
creeped out. You spend it wondering what’s going to happen next. The Black
Phone is the same level of “horror” as the 1999 film The Sixth Sense.
The other negative point was related to the film antagonist. While
Ethan Hawke was great, the character left me wanting more. I left the theater
wishing they had given some backstory on the character. Why was he abducting
and killing kids? I guess that audiences are just supposed to accept he was a
crazy person and that was all the information viewers needed.
My Overall Opinion
If you do not enjoy
scary movies, then you probably have already decided that you are planning to
skip this one, and that it understandable. I love scary movies, and the first
trailer for The Black Phone did not get me excited about the movie. After seeing
it, I would HIGHLY recommend it. It keeps you on the edge of your seat guessing
how things are going to end. I plan to see it again soon!
What are your thoughts on this one?