Black Phone is the sort of movie that sneaks up on you and takes you for a ride that you don’t expect. I didn’t have much expectations for this movie coming into it. The only thing I knew about the movie was that it was based on a Joe Hill short story, but that didn’t mean much by itself since adaptations can go either way. The movie crushed any expectations I had and delivered in a way that I have seldomly seen in horror movies from the past decade or so.
The movie was set in the 1970s in a suburb of Denver. It’s part crime drama, part supernatural thriller. In this town, a serial abductor/murderer has been abducting teens. Finney, the main character, becomes a victim of this abduction. Meanwhile, his sister has dreams that give fragments of these abductions. After his kidnapping by the Grabber, played by Ethan Hawke, Finney is kept in the basement of a house and keeps receiving phone calls on a black phone that has been out of service for decades. The calls come from other kids the Grabber has taken and killed.
This movie is so well written that it comes as a pleasant surprise to the usual drivel I get when watching horror movies such as the Jordan Peele nonsense. I really enjoyed how each of the phone calls lead to the climactic actions. The characters are excellent and the kid actors who play Finney and his sister, Gwen, are surprisingly terrific. The build was suspenseful and intelligent. The climax delivered in a big way. This was the best horror movie I have seen since The Conjuring, and I would give it a strong recommendation. You will not be disappointed.