Ethan Hawke is dipping his toes into the horror genre again but this time as a sadistic killer. Known as The Grabber, the murderer kidnaps 13-year-old Finney Shaw and stuffs him in a soundproof basement. Only left with a disconnected phone on the wall, Finney discovers that he can hear the voices of the killer’s previous victims, who are determined to make sure he doesn’t end up six feet under. The Black Phone is set to be released in theaters on June 24, 2022 (for Americans). Check out the top five moments from the horror thriller’s recent trailer.
Finney Is Kidnapped
In a creepy opening, Finney encounters a man known as The Grabber. He’s a sadistic serial killer, but the 13-year-old doesn’t know that. This twisted horror-thriller seems to have elements of Sinister, IT, and Joker, with the latter notable due to the transformation of Ethan Hawke. The Academy Award-nominated actor has always taken on challenging roles, but this is something vastly out of his normal acting gigs and the first few seconds of The Black Phone immediately grab you by the throat. An oddball man in some Purge-like mask who happens to do magic tricks; The Grabber instantly stands out as something unique and a fresh face in a genre that’s being flooded by reboots and sequels. Given the strong rotten tomatoes score, The Black Phone could easily be this generation’s A Nightmare on Elm Street, finally creating a new horror villain in a crowded genre.
The Black Phone
This is where the central premise comes in. Finney has been kidnapped by a murderous monster who trapped him a soundproof basement. Despite the widespread search for the young kid, there doesn’t seem to be much hope for him except a mysterious black phone inside of the room. Finney answers, and it’s the sound of kids, even though the trailer makes it clear that the wires from the phone has been cut. The Black Phone appears to be more than just a taut, horror-thriller, as supernatural elements are clearly weaved throughout the upcoming feature. More importantly, how can the past victims of The Grabber communicate with Finney? Is the soundproof room more than it’s made out to be? There are so many varying elements of The Black Phone that makes it unique and refreshing original. The film seems to be going for story more than guts and gore, which is always a good indication of truly memorable horror film. After all, despite being slashers, there’s not much of a body count in Halloween and A Nightmare on Elm Street either.
The Man with the Black Balloons
The manhunt for Finney seems to be coming up empty; however, his sister might be the key to her brother being found. However, the real star is The Grabber aka the man with the black balloons; It’s odd to see such a different role for the veteran actor, but Hawke is the reason why his character comes across as so interesting. The insane Halloween mask. The creepy laugh. The menacing stature of the sadistic killer. Just who is The Grabber? Why does he murder children? What’s his purpose for kidnapping Finney (other than murder)? The flashback to the Grabber seems to give more context into the main antagonist, but hopefully The Black Phone doesn’t give too much away. A little bit of mystery can go along way in making The Grabber a memorable horror villain.
The Supernatural Kids
This was touched on briefly earlier, but the supernatural elements appear to be the past victims of this disgusting monster. Just how are these victims able to communicate with Finney? Could this be some twisted game conjured up by The Grabber himself? This is a tricky element as the trailer doesn’t give a strong indication on whether or not including the supernatural elements into this horror-thriller will work. This story appears to be carefully crafted and structured, so hopefully the complete package is as strong as the trailer. It’s intriguing to see just how the filmmakers manage to weave the supernatural elements into the story effortlessly. There’s so many fascinating layers to The Black Phone that the supernatural kids part feels unnecessary, but at the same time, it doesn’t distract from an offbeat horror story.
Finney Tries To Escape The Grabber
At the end, Finney seems to be getting help in escaping the horrific situation he’s in. The catch: He has to go through The Grabber. The trailer doesn’t give away the good stuff fully, but this nail-biter showcases Finney training for his big escape and even encountering the blood splattered villain. While it would’ve been better to not show whether Finney got out or not as it would’ve helped add tension to his journey of getting out of that nightmare, the trailer nicely builds to the final moments thanks to the incredible score and carefully edited together shots. The Black Phone could easily be the sleeper hit of the summer, and a welcome deviation from the typical horror affair.