The Black Phone; A Detailed Review

Potential Spoilers Ahead. Score 10/10

Careful who you help with spilled groceries!

The Black Phone is one of the latest releases from Blumhouse, featuring Ethan Hawke as the films lead antagonist. The film is of the few that has left theaters and has hit streaming services which is honestly a MUST WATCH!

Most would say or think Blumhouse productions bring a lot for the horror genre. But they usually have the classic jump scares and “I’m trying to scare you with imagery” tones to them which is not for everyone yet are still entertaining pieces. But The Black Phone definitely steps into the spotlight for the studio’s normal path for storytelling.


Ethan Hawke is the clear movie seller when dealing with publicity, and for good measure as he is a talented actor that has begun to be seen on the big screen again. The film brings out the “monstrous” side of his acting abilities compared to his Sinister role and he executes it phenomenally behaving like a psychotic serial kidnapper/killer. The overall film brings out fear of the real world with children being kidnapped, especially in the year this film takes place (around the 70’s/80’s). It definitely has intense moments but also adds its thrilling action points to not just leave the viewer terrified but also satisfied with the ending. Mason Thames and Madeline McGraw, who play Finney and Gwen, the two main protagonist siblings in the film do an amazing job in their roles while giving their all in their scenes. It’s honestly worth the watch if you have Peacock’s streaming service or just the weekend rental choice if you’re wanting a spooky movie night!

(From left) Finney Shaw (Mason Thames) and Gwen Shaw (Madeleine McGraw) in The Black Phone, directed by Scott Derrickson.


As I mentioned, Ethan Hawke is the main antagonist to Mason Thames’ protagonist role. Both men give an amazing performance especially seeing as this is Thames’ first breakthrough role! We are familiar with Hawke’s acting skills, so I’ll keep his section to a minimal, focusing on his co-stars.

Hawke’s skills have jumped from dramas, action, thrillers and so forth. He’s not shy of being a villain, as seen in his latest role from Marvel’s Moon Knight series, or being in a horror/thriller film as seen in Sinister. But his performance as “The Grabber” really show his unhinged side, even leaning on the side of performing a little TOO close to a serial killer. This film just brings you in to give him a hand for coming back into acting with such an ease in skill.

Now, Mason Thames does a great job at being a kid with cool calm headed demeanor while still being a scared having such a thing happen to you. We see throughout the film that he knows how to handle situations but lets himself be attacked by the other kids only to be in a situation of, he either allows this killer to finish him or finally fight back in order to survive. Although, he is minimal in showing emotions of the character, the small mannerisms he chose really gave the film an intense viewing even to the point of doing what all the viewers would be thinking; like the classic “don’t go in there” or “I would do this” responses we say or think while watching scary movies.

In the case of McGraw, she goes all out with showing her reactions to the situations on screen. Like giving the cry of the year when she was being spanked by her on screen father, to the point that I asked myself “DID HE ACTUALLY HIT HER ON SET?!” She does a great job at playing a hardcore little sister looking for her brother, even if she had to curse out God himself to get clues. She’s a wonderful addition to the film and ultimately doesn’t feel like a different film when viewing her side of the story.

Furthermore, without going on a long typing spree I highly recommend this film for anyone who wants a well written and directed horror/thriller movie. But you don’t have to take my word for it, check it out yourselves as it’s out now for VOD and available on Peacock.

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