I was looking forward to The Black Phone since I saw the first trailer last year. When the original release date was at the beginning of the year it was one of my most anticipated movies of the first half of the year. After seeing it I understand why it was pushed back I was disappointed that I would have to wait to see it. I had to wait to see The Black Phone because of my coverage of the Chattanooga Film Festival but I was able to avoid spoilers while seeing the praise for it.
Scott Derrickson and C. Robert Cargill wrote a hell of a movie. I would rank this above their previous movies, which is saying something when Sinister was so good. The way they adapted Joe Hill’s short story of the same name brings a lot to the story. Derrickson is masterful in the way he movies the camera as well as the performances that he was able to get out of actors. Derrickson directing the script that he co-wrote helped him translate the script in a way that writers don’t always get to. The performances he was able to get out of the cast is stellar.
Mason Thomas, Madeleine McGraw, Jeremy Davies, James Ransome, and Ethan Hawke all put in performances that are standouts. Madeleine McGraw has my favorite performance in the movie. She also gets all of my favorite lines, which includes “Jesus, what the fuck?” and that is my line of the year so far. This is a very different performance from Jeremy Davies than anything else I’ve seen from him. Mason Thomas has to carry some of the heaviest stuff in the movie and he does so with ease. He’s everything you want in a young protagonist. Ethan Hawke is immediately iconic as The Grabber. His performance is only amplified by the mask he wears.
The mask that Ethan Hawke wears as The Grabber is iconic. The different pieces involved in the mask make it so iconic. The way it was designed by Tom Savini to have different pieces that could be mixed and matched amplify the already terrifying performance from Ethan Hawke. The production designer did an amazing job of recreating the late 70s. The music from Mark Korven is next level. The score goes hard into the atmospheric dread inducing but ventures into tender and heartfelt and does so with ease.
The Black Phone is an amazing adaptation that tells a hell of a horror story. This solidifies Derrickson and Cargill as masters in the horror genre. This is another great movie in a year that’s jampacked with great movies. I also realized the reason that the studio pushed the movie back, because it was just that good of a movie. If you can and haven’t yet I recommend seeing The Black Phone in theaters. I give The Black Phone 10 black balloons out of 10.