Oscar nominee Ethan Hawke, known for roles in Sinister and Moon Knight, leads the cast of Scott Derrickson’s latest horror/thriller venture, The Black Phone. Derrickson previously helmed Sinister, The Exorcism of Emily Rose and Doctor Strange, but he returns to his horror roots to direct a child abduction flick based on the 2004 short story of the same name by Joe Hill.
Set in Denver, Colorado, The Black Phone follows a teenager named Finney (played by Mason Thames in his feature-film debut), who gets abducted by a serial child kidnapper known as The Grabber (Hawke). Trapped in a soundproof basement, Finney uses a disconnected phone to communicate with The Grabber’s previous victims, who are hellbent on helping him escape. The Black Phone grossed $149.8 million against a $16–18 million budget and received generally favorable reviews, making it both a commercial and critical success.
Joining the cast is Madeleine McGraw, Jeremy Davies, E. Roger Mitchell and James Ransone. Although it could have been more frightening, like a conventional horror, The Black Phone boasts an entertaining, well-acting and faithful adaptation of the source material, which drowns in unsettling realism. Besides the film itself, Derrickson’s direction and Hawke’s performance received ample praise, but the true magic of The Black Phone is its simplicity. It somehow manages to make the gruelling topic of child abduction feel fresh, enlightening and hard-hitting all at once.
Thames, Hawke, Derrickson and McGraw — in particular — had a blast on set, but you don’t need to take our word for it. Universal Pictures, on the “All Access” segment of its YouTube channel, unveiled a behind-the-scenes video that features the main players of The Black Phone enjoying their shooting experience.
The Black Phone is scheduled for release on Digital on August 12 and Blu-ray on August 16. Alternatively, anyone looking for the full cinema experience can find The Black Phone still playing in select theaters worldwide.