The Black Phone Review: 6 Ups & 4 Downs

A strong cast elevates this surprisingly by-the-numbers horror flick.

The Black Phone Ethan Hawke

There's been a considerable lack of major studio horror films released in cinemas since Scream this past January, but after many pandemic-related delays, The Black Phone is finally here to provide genre fans with some welcome relief.

From Sinister and Doctor Strange director Scott Derrickson, The Black Phone adapts the 2004 short story of the same name by Joe Hill (son of Stephen), centered around a kidnapped teenager, Finney (Mason Thames), who uses a phone to interact with his kidnapper's (Ethan Hawke) prior victims and hopefully affect his escape.

While The Black Phone certainly falls a little short of the ecstatic festival hype, it is a solidly entertaining horror-thriller that benefits tremendously from its strong cast and an abundance of mood from director Derrickson.

See it with an open mind and yet without expecting truly revelatory results and you'll likely have a good time, even if you couldn't be blamed for wishing that Derrickson and co-writer C. Robert Cargill pushed things just a little bit further overall.

And so, here's first what doesn't quite work in The Black Phone...


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