Aug 202022

The Black Phone is a solid horror-thriller and box office wise another hit from Blumhouse, however I wasn’t quite as enamored compared to others as it got repetitive at times. That being said, I was entertained and Ethan Hawke’s performance was pretty scary.



The Black Phone

Genre(s): Suspense/Thriller, Horror, Supernatural
Universal Pictures| R – 103 min. – $34.98 | August 16th, 2022

Date Published: 08/20/2022 | Author: The Movieman

Director: Scott Derrickson
Writer(s): Joe Hill (short story); Scott Derrickson & C. Robert Cargill (screenplay)
Cast: Mason Thames, Madeleine McGraw, Ethan Hawke

Features: Commentary, Featurettes, Deleted Scenes
Slip Cover: Yes
Digital Copy: Yes
Formats Included: Blu-ray, DVD
Number of Discs: 2

Audio: English (DTS-HD MA 7.1), Spanish (DTS-HD HR 7.1), French (DTS 5.1)
Video: 1080p/Widescreen 2.39
Subtitles: English SDH, French, Spanish
Disc Size: 45.40 GB
Total Bitrate: 45.10 Mbps
Codecs: MPEG-4 AVC
Region(s): A

Universal Pictures provided me with a free copy of the Blu-ray I reviewed in this Blog Post.
The opinions I share are my own.

THE MOVIE — 3¼/5

Plot Synopsis: Set in 1978, Finney Shaw (MASON THAMES) is a shy but clever 13-year-old boy who’s being held in a soundproof basement by a sadistic, masked killer (ETHAN HAWKE). When a disconnected phone on the wall starts to ring, he soon discovers that he can hear the voices of the murderer’s previous victims — and they are dead set on making sure that what happened to them doesn’t happen to Finney.

Review: The Black Phone is the latest horror-thriller from the folks at Blumhouse who have had numerous films from the found footage franchise Paranormal Activity (a series I don’t like one bit), psychological thrillers like Get Out and Split to the horror-comedy which I loved, Happy Death Day (the sequel… not so much). Glancing over their filmography there seems to be a mix bag some more ambitious than others, the latter seem to be pump and dump features (see: Jem and the Holograms, The Gallows and Truth or Dare, all bottom of the barrel crap).

I’m unsure where The Black Phone stands but I thought it was an okay film as a whole, some solid suspense and thrills, thanks to a creepy performance from Ethan Hawke who mostly is behind a mask, sometimes just the top, others the bottom but only seeing his complete face in a frame or two. This does keep the ‘character’, known only as “The Grabber” shroud in mystery and thus makes him all the scarier. Also on the plus side, the two kid leads — Mason Thames (his feature film debut) and Madeleine McGraw (Toy Story 4) — actually weren’t half bad nor were they overly, and annoyingly, precocious.

The issue is, while I do appreciate the simplicity of the plot, I wished there was a bit more depth. Perhaps making “The Grabber” so mysterious makes him even scarier than giving him some kind of background and there might be a point to that as Hawke was scary as hell with just his glares. That said, his creepiness and watching a young boy trying to escape, with the help of The Grabber’s deceased victims (should note, not a fan of supernatural horror in general), did get a bit tedious and the suspense lost some of its luster by the end.

Based on a short story, The Black Phone was co-scripted and directed by Scott Derrickson who previously worked on The Exorcism of Emily Rose and Sinister before going to the big leagues with the hit Doctor Strange, though he departed the sequel due to the old “creative differences” reasoning. So seems fitting for him to return to his roots with the horror-thriller genre and a much simpler project, and one he probably had a good amount of control over. As for the film itself, although I was not in love with this, it still had plenty of elements to appreciate and it would seem a sequel is in the works, probably exploring more about Hawk’s The Grabber character.



This release comes with a matted slip cover and inside is a redemption code for the Digital HD copy.

Deleted Scenes (1:21) — There are only two scenes here that don’t amount to a whole lot.

Ethan Hawke’s Evil Turn (4:25) is an interview with the veteran actor and what drew him to the role.

Answering the Call: Behind the Scenes of The Black Phone (10:40) takes viewers on-set and get insights from the cast and crew on the plot and characters.

Devil in the Design (5:15) looks at the production design and bringing the 1970s back to life.

Super 8 Set (1:48) —This is on the Super 8 footage for the dream sequences.

Shadowprowler (11:57) is a short film directed by Scott Derrickson.

Audio Commentary with Producer/Co-Writer/Director Scott Derrickson


VIDEO – 4½/5

Universal picks up The Black Phone onto Blu-ray where it’s presented with a 2.38 widescreen aspect ratio and a 1080p high-definition transfer. While this is certainly a dark looking picture, detail was still sharp and well defined throughout and there were at least pops of color (like the girl’s yellow raincoat) that show up from time to time. Still, black levels are well balanced and there wasn’t any noticeable signs of aliasing, artifacting or other flaws.

AUDIO – 4¾/5

The movie comes equipped with a strong but well balanced DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1 track. Dialogue comes across with good clarity throughout and there is a fair amount of depth even in the basement scenes while the bass kicks on giving this lossless track a bit of a boost.



The Black Phone is a solid horror-thriller and box office wise another hit from Blumhouse, however I wasn’t quite as enamored compared to others as it got repetitive at times. That being said, I was entertained and Ethan Hawke’s performance was pretty scary.





Check out some more 1080p screen caps by going to page 2. Please note, these do contain spoilers.

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