A decade ago, the horror team made up of writer/director Scott Derrickson and co-writer C. Robert Cargill was forged, thanks to their work on the horror favorite Sinister. Since then, the pair have been pretty inseparable, opting to work on projects together, or not at all. That attitude yields another spectacular-looking result today, as the pair have re-teamed with Blumhouse Productions, and actor Ethan Hawke, for the feature film adaptation of Joe Hill’s short story The Black Phone. And from what we’ve seen so far, Hawke’s serial killer character makes this tale even more horrifying.
Set in a Colorado town in the 1970s, The Black Phone centers its story around “The Grabber” (Hawke,) a child-abducting killer whose actions plague the lives of the townsfolk. His latest would-be victim is Finney Shaw (newcomer Mason Thames,) the young boy who you see fall for The Grabber’s initially silly antics. Imprisoned in a dark basement, with only a black phone that’s disconnected, Finney seems to be destined to be the next casualty of The Grabber’s hideous deeds. And then, the phone starts ringing, with some very interesting callers on the line.
The titular black phone, as it turns out, is a thing of magic, as Finney is given a connection to The Grabber’s past victims. Each of them has a piece of advice crucial to his survival and, with time running out, all that stands between Finney Shaw and certain death is a bridge between the living and the dead. Which could also explain how his sister, Gwen, (Madeleine McGraw) is having strange dreams that hold clues of their own.
It cannot be stated enough that Ethan Hawke’s performance in The Black Phone looks absolutely terrifying. Working with masks, and a low-key menace that really amps up the terror, Hawke’s return to the Blumhouse family looks like it’s doing the trick. Knowing he’s at work with his Sinister collaborators Scott Derrickson and C. Robert Cargill is also pretty heartwarming, even though the group is looking to use the film to dial up some chilling and horrific tension.
As the man who was intrigued by Bughuul in Sinister and fought masked intruders in The Purge, having Ethan Hawke become a masked menace is the movie's coup de grace. With the film already having its debut at this year’s Fantastic Fest, the buzz has started to build for Joe Hill’s latest adaptation. Which is such a shame, considering horror fans probably want to get their hands on this movie as soon as possible but will have to wait until the new year to do so.
The Black Phone rings its way into theaters on February 4th, 2022. So there’s plenty of time to check out what creepy offerings are headed to theaters throughout the rest of 2021’s release schedule. Though if you want to get a jump on the year ahead, the 2022 release schedule is also waiting to show you horrific delights.
CinemaBlend's James Bond (expert). Also versed in Large Scale Aggressors, time travel, and Guillermo del Toro. He fights for The User.
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