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The Black Phone Blu-ray Review

‘The Black Phone’ is the best Joe Hill adaptation to date. 

Based on the short story by Joe Hill (the author son of Stephen King), “The Black Phone” is a 1978 set supernatural horror film that is set in a Denver suburb that is being terrorized by a masked child abductor/killer known as The Grabber. The story revolves around a boy named Finney who finds himself becoming the next victim of The Grabber. He winds up in an empty basement with a broken phone only the phone isn’t broken for Finney. It seems the voices of past victims are able to reach out to him with tips on how to maybe get out alive. Elsewhere in the story is a pivotal subplot involving Finney’s sister Gwen who may have psychic abilities that will allow her to track down her brother before it is too late.

After departing ‘Doctor Strange In The Multiverse Of Madness,’ director Scott Derrickson and writer C. Robert Cargill teamed up once again to return to their horror roots with this adaptation of a Joe Hill story. Although there are certainly shades of Joe’s father Stephen King’s work and some undeniable ‘Stranger Things’ vibes at times, ‘The Black Phone’ is a simple and effective story about childhood, survival, trauma, and family. The combination of excellent performances (more on that shortly), a focus on characters, sharp and atmospheric direction by Scott Derrickson, impactful themes, and an original new villain in The Grabber make this one of the best horror films of the year. There’s something about Derrickson, Cargill and Blumhouse that just mix so well together. They’re kindred horror spirits.

Going back to the cast, Ethan Hawke has been flexing his acting muscles time and time again and this time he tackles a deeply unsettling villain role. Some viewers have been critical that his backstory is too vague, but there’s always room to explore the character more if there are prequels. It’s more engaging to see The Grabber be a little shrouded in mystery with subtle hints at his past and who this human monster really is. The young cast (Mason Thawes as Finney and Madeleine McGraw as Gwen) is truly the heart and soul of this movie and they knock it out of the park. It’s safe to say they will be popping up in more films soon enough. Lastly, it’s great to see Jeremy Davies again as the children’s deeply messed up father. He has and always will be an underrated actor.

Video/Audio:

Presentation: 2.39:1 1080p. How does it look? The stylistic visuals shine in hi-def.

Audio Track: 7.1 DTS-HD MA. How does it sound? An effective soundtrack for this horror chiller. 

Extras:
* Digital copy
* DVD copy
* 2 deleted scenes
* A short film by Scott Derrickson titled ‘Shadowprowler.’
* Commentary by Scott Derrickson.
* ‘Ethan Hawke’s Evil Turn’ features cast and crew interviews, set footage, and Hawke talking about taking on a villain role.
* ‘Answering The Call: Behind The Scenes Of The Black Phone’ contains interviews, discussions about the film’s origins and source material, ilm clips, and set footage.
* ‘Devil In The Design’ is all about the production design.
* ‘Super 8 Set’ revolves around the Super 8 film elements of the movie.

August 12, 2022 - Posted by | Blu-Ray review | , , , , ,

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