We don’t get to see Ethan Hawke as the villain that often, especially in this manner. Coming out next February, The Black Phone already looks like an interesting story that will hopefully be showing more than has already been seen. The trailer gives a rather strong feeling of what the movie is all about when Finney, a young boy that is captured by a man proclaiming his status as a part-time magician and is locked in a barren basement that holds only a dirty mattress and a non-functioning wall phone. The kidnapper even goes so far as to tell Finney that the phone doesn’t work, taunting Finney, who promises to scream and kick. What’s truly terrifying is that the killer doesn’t appear too concerned about Finney’s threats, which tends to fall in line with the idea of kidnapping since many such offenders in the movies don’t really take into account the ingenuity of their captives. If not for a strange but fortuitous stroke of fate though, Finney might not stand a chance against the man that took him.
While the black phone on the wall might not work as it should, this doesn’t mean that it doesn’t work at all. When the phone starts ringing it’s definitely a bit creepy, since it could be a trick being played by the kidnapper, or it could be just what Finney believes it to be. It becomes kind of obvious that the kidnapper has done this before, as the ghosts that start talking to Finney tell him of the things they left behind that might help him, and that he needs to get out soon before his jailer tires of him and finishes whatever he’s going to do. On top of that, Finney’s friend begins to have visions of where he’s being held, though it feels likely that the police are going to remain doubtful for a while since this is common practice in the movies.
However it plays out, this movie looks like it could be one of the more interesting releases of 2022 since the suspense is bound to be worth watching, and the opportunity to see Ethan Hawke as the villain is likely going to be intriguing enough to attract several viewers. Kidnapping movies tend to bring out a lot of emotions in people since like it or not, this issue is a very real problem in the real world. But while the movies do manage to bring this to light, they also succeed at staying light enough at times by adding in certain elements that cut down on the realism just enough to allow people to enjoy what they’re seeing and not think too hard on the whole aspect of how devastating kidnapping really is. The supernatural element that’s injected into this movie definitely looks as though it will give it a punch that might otherwise be missing. One thing that does stand out is the fact that a person does need to wonder just what kind of psychosis the kidnapper possesses that might make him more dangerous than the average psycho that feels the need to abduct kids and eventually kill them when he’s done doing, whatever.
Trying to get into the head of someone that would see fit to kidnap and murder kids is a tough prospect that only a handful of people in this world can really do on a regular basis without going psychotic as a result. In the movies, however, these individuals usually have some deep-seated issue that’s hard to pin down but eventually comes to light after a while as the ‘aha’ moment finally hits and people begin to realize why the antagonist is doing what they do. There are those rare times when that moment never comes because the antagonist has been allowed to remain unhinged and not entirely fleshed out, but it does feel as though this movie has a plan that will be able to describe what’s going on in some way since it would appear that the police are already tracking the kidnapper, or trying to, and know at least part of his M.O. since apparently the individual leaves a little something behind with each abduction, either accidentally or intentionally.
Having seen the trailer now it’s fair to state that plenty of people will be checking this movie out if only because it stars Ethan Hawke, while others might want to figure out the motivation of the antagonist in order to better understand the story. However it happens, The Black Phone is already a movie that looks interesting but has a lot to deliver if it’s going to make any kind of impact when it’s released. It needs to be said again, we don’t usually get to see Ethan Hawke as a villain, so it’s going to be kind of different to see this happen, but it should be something worth taking a look at.