The Black Phone exceeded all expectations


Courtesy of AP News

From a normal baseball game in play to five kids being kidnapped, The Black Phone was a thrill. It isn’t your typical dumb main characters with a monster chasing after them type of horror movie. Instead, it is a more realistic situation with a little twist.

The Black Phone is based on a kidnapping of five children in the 70’s. Different from any other typical horror movie, The Black Phone introduced a realistic horror aspect and had astonishing character relationships that paired well with the plot.

The main character Finney Shaw, played by Mason Thames, is a middle school boy with an abusive father and “future/past” seeing sister. By the time Finney is introduced, three kids have already been kidnapped by the “Grabber”.

After Finney’s best friend Robin, played by Miguel Cazarez Mora, is kidnapped and killed by the “Grabber,” Finney is kidnapped and locked in a basement. Through calls from the “Black Phone,” voices of past kidnapped kids give Finney clues on how to escape from the “Grabber.”

Director Scott Derrickson, as usual, did an excellent job. With his past experience with the Sinister series and other horror movies, the high expectations placed on his work were met flawlessly.

The use of the “black phone” as a way to learn to escape from past kidnapped kids was a cool aspect of the movie. Paired with Finney not acting like an oblivious fool who makes the worst decisions possible, this element made the film.

Though parts of the plot were messy, such as the underused ability of Finney’s telepathic sister and the cliche useless detectives, the movie was still thrilling to watch. 

On the flip side, it was surprising that such serious elements like an abusive father and son relationship and severe bullying were included in the movie. Even though at times the film was hard to continue watching, seeing Finney resolve those hardships counteracted those tough scenes.

Every character in the movie was crafted exceptionally well, each having different personalities and thoughts. It was amazing seeing how almost every role in the movie would end up relating to Finney’s escape.

Not only was the character development great, but the retro theme of the movie sealed the deal. The setting of the movie matched the 70s and 80s timeline the movie was set in. When done right, seeing a retro movie in today’s world was a delight to watch.

In spite of The Black Phone having some obvious flaws, the type of horror movie style this film had compared to other horror movies, is exceptional. With techniques like this, it is no surprise that the film grossed over 157 million dollars. New release horror films should take a page out of The Black Phone’s book if they ever want to compare to the standards set by this film.