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The Black Phone movie review / A tale of blind and pointless evil

The Black Phone movie review / A tale of blind and pointless evil

We usually find in horror films where the hero is a serial killer, as in the case of psychopaths, some reference to the suffering that this hero incurred during his childhood and contributed to turning him into a ferocious monster with fangs and claws.

This approach helps humanize these killers, and at times gives the victims clues to sympathize with their tormentors. But it’s not like The Black Phone, and that’s the first point of its uniqueness as a horror movie.


Director Scott Derrickson does the exact opposite; by stripping his hero, The Grabber (Ethan Hawke) of his past; We don’t know anything about his childhood, and everything that the movie reveals, indirectly, indicates that we are in front of a completely normal person.

And the horror of the case is that we are faced with violence for which we do not know the cause or the end, and we do not know for sure what prompted The Grabber to do these horrible acts, all we see is a frightening mask and an angry man whose behavior cannot be explained.

To my mind, the emphasis on the ordinariness of this killer was intentional; You are in front of a man who uses common tools to kidnap children, then traps them in his basement, where he lives and hides in the suburbs undetected, despite multiple search efforts by the police and the people of suburban Denver.


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The Grabber’s house is also quite ordinary, and besides his basement, there is nothing to indicate the man’s sinister nature. Finally, The Grabber has a brother living with him, completing the image of an ordinary human whose visible life is devoid of any hint of potential violence. In short, The Grabber is someone who can pass us by on the street without ever realizing that there is a wolf in sheep’s clothing.

Part of the killer’s puzzle lies behind the fact that his evil is irreparable, and has no aim or purpose other than violence.

The story of the movie The Black Phone.. a wolf in sheep’s clothing

In 2012, actor Ethan Hawke and director Scott Derrickson collaborated in the movie “Sinister”, which is also a horror movie.

The film, based on a short story by “Joe King”, son of Stephen King of the same name, takes place in 1978 when serial child kidnapper The Grabber (Ethan Hawke) roams the streets of a Denver suburb.

Two children Finney (Mason Thames) and sister Gwen (Madeleine McGraw) confront not only The Grabber’s horrific and violent behavior but also the abuse of their alcoholic father, as well as the bullying of their classmates.

Vinnie is one day kidnapped by The Grabber, who hid him, in turn, in a soundproof basement. As tragic as their circumstances are, they play a big role in the movie – their story is the most humane narrative line in The Black Phone – as the two children decide to take care of the abusive parent, not to mention that Gwen will lead the police investigation into finding her brother. Lost in the basement of The Grabber’s house.

In the basement there is a black phone – hence the name of the movie and perhaps the story it is taken from – The Grabber says that it never worked, but the boy Finney starts receiving calls from previous victims who not only want Finney to escape from his executioner’s captivity but also want him to avenge them for This hangman.

Stylistically, the film is nostalgic, reminiscent of vintage photos and the era of striped kids’ T-shirts and flared jeans, as warm browns, oranges, and filtered light floods the screen. But this charming suburb of the 1970s is spoiled by Derrickson’s horror.

The truth is that “The Black Phone” is not just a horror movie, but it is also a well-made work that does not underestimate the intelligence of the viewer. The film does not aim to present supernatural ideas, but rather puts its mark on providing a compelling and disturbing story. You could also say that the movie is an epic of wit and resilience disguised as a serial killer.

Buoyed by emotional performance in most action, “The Black Phone” outperforms its competitors; Through some crucial and nuanced nuances, such as the emphasis on showing the serial killer in surveys of a perfectly normal human being, as we have indicated before.

Although blood is secondary to the story; As we don’t find much mutilation and shredding, the development of the characters, especially that of The Grabber and the child Finney, ranks first, although the film does not neglect the excitement in any way.


In The Black Phone, the villain is unpredictable

The Grabber (Ethan Hawke) shows off his masterful ways in this film, a volatile and unpredictable villain who expertly tiptoes the line between agile youth and depravity.

With a mask that covers the lower half of his face for most of the movie, Ethan Hawke’s acting relies on body language and the emotional sparkle in his eyes, and although he’s been reluctant to play the villain, Hawke pulls it off perfectly.


Defend yourself, hero!

Derrickson and Cargill do an excellent job establishing the world of suburban Denver in the 1970s before the horrific accident caused by Hook. Vinnie is soon established as a character who can’t stand up for herself; Which is why the script forces him down a path where he must learn how to do it. After running into The Grabber, who suddenly stumbles and falls claiming to be a wizard, Vinnie is kidnapped and locked in a basement with a bed and a phone hanging on the wall.

From here, The Black Phone is on an ominous path; It combines a suspenseful survival story with supernatural elements. The plot, unsettling musical notes and sound design complement the never-ending sense of awe; Where Vinny is placed in a situation where he must find sanctuary.

The film spends a lot of time in an enclosed space; Vinny tries to find his way to escape, the film demonstrates how to build the backstory and expose contradictions and knots one by one, and director Derrickson takes his time to unravel with a multi-layered and suspenseful narrative.

All The Black Phone has to offer is a good old-fashioned “Defend Yourself Champion”. Perhaps this is still the same for the original story, and the screenwriter did not feel the need to explain it at all.

The Black Phone movie review / A tale of blind and pointless evil


The Black Phone movie crew

The main cast members are also giving excellent performances. The Thames is Vinnie’s kid who will be kidnapped by The Grabber, and the movie will revolve around this kidnapping story, and McGraw, Vinnie’s sister Gwen, who will play a key role in helping the police find her brother.

Although Ethan Hawke played the main role in the film, his role would not have been complete without these two children, and to be more precise, it can be said that the film’s starring is at least joint between him and Thames or the child Finney.

Indeed, the performance of the cast was excellent, not to mention the direction and scriptwriting, which managed to hold our attention for the duration of the show.


Attractive fast pace

Despite that, the movie itself feels like a short story, not to mention the 100 minutes pass without you noticing. But The Black Phone’s origin as a short story has its drawbacks. While the padding added to lengthen the film’s time is natural enough to be unrecognizable or unnoticeable, the film fails to go beyond the limits of its short story themes.

Short stories, by definition, should be short. As a result, the themes of the short story are often not only surface-level but quite direct and directed. This usually works for a short story, but not so much for a movie.


Absence of a narrative element

This movie was a huge success, starting with its opening scene, and it’s not a horror movie in the traditional sense, but it does get the viewer involved in the tale; By allowing him to realize his imagination, trying to reach a solution to the knot and discover the narrative line that organizes the rhythm of the whole film.

Although, the lack of complexity and depth in the story is something that resonates throughout the entire time of the movie. Despite the quality of the movie, you feel like there’s a part missing. It is as if there is one last, floating narrative element that remains stuck in the film, and its absence prevents the film from being perfect.

The Black Phone movie review / A tale of blind and pointless evil

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