The Black Phone: Ethan Hawke Takes Off His Belt

4/5         

Written by Luke Barnes

Summary

After being abducted a young boy, played by Mason Thames, must fight to escape armed only with the past experiences of his abductor’s other dead victims.

What is it with Scott Derrickson and dead kids? Whether its Sinister, Deliver Us From Evil or this, the director seems to use dead children as his main horror gimmick, however, I am not complaining they work incredibly well in a creepy sense. I would say the horror here is a mixture of supernatural elements along with the obvious fear surrounding a man abducting and killing kids and for the most part it works well and is incredibly effective. Moreover, for once I didn’t see the jump scares coming and the few that this film does employ made me jump each time.

I think the performance from Ethan Hawke is terrific, despite only being in the film for a short amount of time his character’s impact is felt in all areas and Hawke really does a good job of bringing The Grabber to life and rounding him out as a character. I also think Thames does a good job as the lead, which is saying something as usually child actors give distractingly bad performances, however, that was not the case here.

My only complaint would be that the sub-plot surrounding the Sister, played by Madeline McGraw, and her prophetic dreams feels a bit too filler like for my tastes. I suppose it does bare fruit in the end as it results in the police finding the boy, however, all the scenes of her on her knees calling out to Jesus feel almost a little silly.

Overall, a very enjoyable horror film boosted to no end by Hawke.

Pros.

Hawke

Thames

The scares

The ending

Cons.

The sub-plot with the sister feels like filler

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