- horror reviews - MOH 2022

The Black Phone

IMDb Info

Release Year: 2021
Runtime: 1h 43m
Country: USA
Language: English
Genre Tags: Horror, Thriller
Plot Summary: After being abducted by a child killer and locked in a soundproof basement, a 13-year-old boy starts receiving calls on a disconnected phone from the killer's previous victims.

Poster - Title Card rating: notes: I don't get the hype for this movie. The first act is just kids getting the crap kicked out of them by bullies and abusive parents. Like, a LOT. It's unpleasant, and has no commentary behind it besides, hey, this sucks. The rest of the movie is a perverse coming-of-age story. The kid who is bullied finally overcomes his fear by killing the guy that kidnapped him. Now he's more confident with girls at school! Hurray for trauma! It's nicely shot, well-acted, and feel very real, but never gels into anything other than "here are some things that happened." I felt dirty watching the bullies, but otherwise felt no tension or scares.

Outside Reviews:

Peyton Robinson
4 out of 4 stars -

"The Black Phone" is a saga of support and resilience disguised as a semi-paranormal serial murderer flick. Underpinned by emotional performances across the board and a commanding atmosphere, "The Black Phone" aces its foundational qualities and allows its nuances to take control. The gore is secondary to the story, with character development taking first string, but by no means does the film neglect to thrill. Rather, it's your care for Finney and the intensity of the film's skillfully crafted suspense that draws your knees to your chest and your nails to your teeth.

Todd Gilchrist
Grade: C- - The Black Phone dials a wrong number

Ultimately, Cargill and Derrickson lay down tracks for two different provocative ideas—a masked serial killer and a family that unwittingly can communicate with the killer's victims. But those concepts, much like the film's needle-drop soundtrack and 1970s period re-creation (down to some racist and homophobic slurs), never tie together into a cohesive story. Which is surprising, because The Grabber is exactly the kind of urban legend that would strike terror into junior high kids, and to make a movie set in an era when that legend would be shared with feverish excitement by kids worried they might become the killer's next victim (and with no internet to consult) seems like a home run in the making.