The warning phrase “never talk to strangers” is a common one for parents. They tell kids to avoid people they don’t know, especially those of the disturbing variety, but kids don’t listen. Sometimes it is harmless. But, a new Blumhouse film shows how dark things can get when a stranger lures a kid into a conversation. The Black Phone, written and directed by Scott Derrickson, brings real-life horror and supernatural happenings together. And if the trailer is any indication, this will be one intense escape story.
The film stars Ethan Hawke as “The Grabber,” a creep who skirts around a neighborhood in a black van. Apparently, he’s been kidnapping and killing kids in his soundproof basement. His black balloons and a string of missing kids are legend in this town but he is too elusive to get caught. (It’s always a small town with some weird BS, right?)
His latest target is Finney, played by newcomer Mason Thames, a shy 13-year-old who runs into him on the way home. Hawke’s character is practically hurling red flags at this kid with his black “magician” van, weird hat, and unsettling goofy vibe. But Finney doesn’t pick up on them and he vanishes. His younger sister Gwen is distraught and vows to find her brother.
Finney finds himself in the basement and facing The Grabber, who wears a haunting mask and intends to kill him. There’s a single black phone in the room with the lines cut. This is when things get supernatural. Gwen dreams up clues about The Grabber and Finney begins to use the dead landline to connect with the killer’s deceased victims. Through this otherworldly help, the sibling duo will try to save Finney’s life.
The Black Phone is based on the award-winning short story by Joe Hill from his bestselling book 20th Century Ghosts. The trailer sparks interest but horror/thriller fans will have to wait until February 4, 2022 to experience it in theaters.