The Black Phone review

There has been hype out there for Scott Derrickson’s The Black Phone, pretty much since everyone saw the above image of Ethan Hawke.

The first thing to get out of the way is…Hawke’s performance is something else, for an actor who hasn’t dabbled in the horror genre extensively. Yes, he has featured in the Sinister and Purge but not in the sort of unhinged and visceral way he features in The Black Phone.

Hawke’s character The Grabber is an abductor and murderer of school children in a small town in the late 1970s of America, and when one of his victims starts hearing from his previous victims via a black phone in his nightmare dungeon things get interesting.

What is refreshing about The Black Phone, is how it wears its supernatural strands on its sleeve. It would be so easy to make this a straight-up procedural, find the killer investigation movie, but it goes firmly beyond this.

Setting it in the 70s is a smart move as it takes away the obvious technological tropes that could have derailed some of the plot. He really captures the vibe of a small town gripped by fear of if and when the next kidnapping may happen.

There is your standard jump scares but it is the dialogue and actions of the Grabber that make this stand up above your average horror thriller.

Hawke is ably backed up by resourceful latest victim Mason Thames as Finney, who gives us a really layered and engrossing performance.

The Black Phone delivers on its hype and gives us the first five-star horror film of 2022.

The Black Phone is playing now in UK cinemas.

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