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The Black Phone

Opening Date
21 Jul 2022
NC16 Coarse Language And Some Violence
103 mins
English with Chinese subtitles
Scott Derrickson
Mason Thames, Madeleine McGraw, Jeremy Davies, James Ransone and Ethan Hawke
Finney Shaw, a shy but clever 13-year-old boy, is abducted by a sadistic killer and trapped in a soundproof basement where screaming is of little use. When a disconnected phone on the wall begins to ring, Finney discovers that he can hear the voices of the killer’s previous victims. And they are dead set on making sure that what happened to them doesn’t happen to Finney.
By InCinemas  15 Jul 2022
Terrifyingly good.
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Writer-director Scott Derrickson returns to his roots with one of the year’s best horror films, featuring a bone-chilling performance from its lead Ethan Hawke.

Based on a short story by Joe Hill, The Black Phone follows the story of young Finney (Mason Thames) who's been kidnapped by a man named The Grabber (Hawke). Trapped in a basement room, the boy's only hope lies in a mysterious disconnected black phone hanging on the basement wall. The phone rings at night with the whispers of the kidnapper's previous victims.

The abduction plot of the film is nothing new but Hill’s inclusion of supernatural elements gave it an interesting edge which Derrickson made good use of. Much of the film is gripping and nerve wracking but also unexpectedly funny thanks to Madeleine McGraw who plays Finney’s smart and intuitive younger sister Gwenny. Her snarky one-liners helped break the tension and provided comic relief that’s usually not present in a film like this but is much better for it.

Lending to the film’s atmosphere is also its carefully constructed set and costume design. The attention to detail on the period will make you almost forget you’re not watching a film that was made in the 70s. 

For a film that relied heavily on Hawke in their marketing, he does feel a tad under-utilised in the end but not all’s lost thanks to his younger co-stars who truly kept it alive with their strong performances. While we may never truly see his face on screen, his eery presence is felt through his tone and delivery as the terrifying masked villain. 

True horror fans might find The Black Phone a juvenile entry to the genre with its subtle use of horror elements but even they can’t deny falling prey to the film’s cleverly plotted jump scares that’ll keep viewers on the edge of their seats. 
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