Rent The Black Phone (2021)

3.4 of 5 from 353 ratings
1h 39min
Rent The Black Phone (aka Static) Online DVD & Blu-ray Rental
  • General info
  • Available formats
Synopsis:
Finney (Mason Thames), a shy but clever 13-year-old boy, is abducted by a sadistic killer (Ethan Hawke) and trapped in a soundproof basement where screaming is of little use. When a disconnected phone on the wall begins to ring, Finney discovers that he can hear the voices of the killer's previous victims. And they are dead set on making sure that what happened to them doesn't happen to Finney.
Actors:
, , , , , , , , , , Spencer Fitzgerald, Jordan Isaiah White, , Tristan Pravong, , , , Parrish Stikeleather, ,
Directors:
Producers:
Jason Blum, C. Robert Cargill, Scott Derrickson
Writers:
Joe Hill, Scott Derrickson, C. Robert Cargill
Aka:
Static
Studio:
Universal Pictures
Genres:
Horror, Thrillers
BBFC:
Release Date:
03/10/2022
Run Time:
99 minutes
Languages:
English Audio Description, English Dolby Digital 5.1, French Dolby Digital 5.1, German Dolby Digital 5.1, Italian Dolby Digital 5.1
Subtitles:
Dutch, English Hard of Hearing, French, German, Italian
DVD Regions:
Region 2
Formats:
Pal
Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen 2.39:1
Colour:
Colour
Bonus:
  • Deleted Scenes
  • Answering the Call: Behind the Scenes Of 'The Black Phone'
  • Ethan Hawke's Evil Turn
  • Feature Commentary
  • And More
  • 'Shadowprowler' - A Short Film by Scott Derrickson
BBFC:
Release Date:
03/10/2022
Run Time:
103 minutes
Languages:
English Audio Description, English DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1, French DTS-HD High Resolution 7.1, Italian DTS-HD High Resolution 7.1
Subtitles:
Dutch, English Hard of Hearing, French, Italian
Formats:
Pal
Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen 2.39:1
Colour:
Colour
BLU-RAY Regions:
B
Bonus:
  • Deleted Scenes
  • Answering the Call: Behind the Scenes Of 'The Black Phone'
  • Ethan Hawke's Evil Turn
  • Feature Commentary
  • And More
  • 'Shadowprowler' - A Short Film by Scott Derrickson

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Reviews (2) of The Black Phone

Average Horror/Thriller - The Black Phone review by GI

Spoiler Alert
15/05/2023

Comparisons with Stephen King's It and the film adaptation (2017) are inevitable, indeed the style and story are almost a homage to King. The director Scott Derrickson describes this film as paranormal thriller and that's about right. It's a serial killer and ghost story combination that has its moments but the sheer implausibility of some basic areas of the story weaken its power and the end result is a watchable but unfulfilling film. A serial killer, dubbed 'The Grabber', is terrorising a 1970s Denver neighbourhood abducting boys (although there seems no attempt within the community to put in place simple cautionary measures and victims are easily caught wandering alone in isolated places... Der!). When shy, bullied and intelligent Finney (Mason Thames) is grabbed he finds himself locked in a dismal basement and taunted by the villain in a scary mask. When an old wall mounted and disconnected telephone rings Finney finds the ghosts of the previous victims on the end of the line and trying to help him avoid their fate. An intriguing idea thus begins and the voices on the phone gradually give Finney the means to escape. Although this involves a lengthy and detailed preparation which seems somewhat daft considering the daily visits of The Grabber to the basement. The ghostly aspects of the story are simply plot devices to allow a complicated way out gradually emerge creating the tension intended by the director. Meanwhile Finney's younger sister is revealed to have some psychic abilities and begins to help the police who seem to go along with this child psychic all too quickly and easily. As much as the film has a suspenseful atmosphere its narrative is dragged out a bit overly long and Hunt in a scary mask is not that frightening. It's ok but nothing memorable.

1 out of 1 members found this review helpful.

Great film but abrupt ending - The Black Phone review by TH

Spoiler Alert
16/11/2022

This was a really creepy film. Ethan Hawke is great as the creepy kidnapper. Mason Thames is great as the kid to root for. The film holds your attention throughout however if I have one criticism it would be the ending. The last 5 minutes seem to end very quickly. This is my criticism with Barbarian as well.

0 out of 0 members found this review helpful.

Critic review

The Black Phone (aka Static) review by Mark McPherson - Cinema Paradiso

The Black Phone comes from Scott Derrickson and reflects much of the same creepy fascination of the past and missing kids present in his previous horror film Sinister. Here’s a tale of 1970s terror where a suburb is terrorized by a mysterious kidnapper known only as The Grabber (Ethan Hawke, returning for another Derrickson production). Nobody has truly seen The Grabler as kidnaps and kills kids all while wearing a mask at times when nobody is around to stop him.

So it seems unlikely that the meek preteen Finney would be able to find a way to defeat The Grabber and escape his basement-turned dungeon. Not only has Finney been unsuccessful in combatting the daily bullies but he’s been traumatized by his single father drinking and often beating his smart-mouthed sister Gwen. Finney soon finds himself kidnapped and held hostage with no means to escape, remaining locked in an inescapable room. But hope comes in the form of a phone call. The black phone in the room rings and Finney answers. He’s getting hints on how to escape. The hints are coming from the dead kids who previously tried to escape, guiding him about when to move and when to stay put.

Hawke’s performance as the masked killer is perfectly creepy. Even for being hidden behind a mask for 95% of screentime, Hawke dives into this role with a sinister chuckle and vicious threats. While we never see many of his murders being committed, the very presence of his dark character really makes one believe there’s great horror within his heart. One of the most terrifying scenes is when The Grabber intentionally leaves the door unlocked and waits next to the stairs, sitting with a belt in hand and readying himself to punish his captive for daring to escape. If not for a warning phone call, Finney would already be dead for taking the bait.

While Finney’s underdog story of defeating a serial killer is highly engaging, I think Gwen more or less steals the show as the investigating sister with the biggest leads. Gwen has the ability to perceive danger in her dreams, often seeing visions of The Grabber and his victims, highlighted by the black balloons within his van. She’s also incredibly cutthroat with her dialogue, cussing out cops who try to badger her for info. She even bites back at Jesus when she thinks he may have a role in guiding her toward the killer. Her visions are also highly trippy and intriguing as she becomes a central player in this murder investigation with supernatural support.

The direction of the many scenes where Finney communicates with the dead makes for some neat sequences as well. The ghosts speak in a haze of memory and frights, often getting lost in loops and forgetting who they are. They give Finney valuable advice on how to dig into the next room or how to turn the phone itself into a weapon. The ghosts are sometimes visible and usually when they are they pace around the room, stuck between the time when they were alive and the time they were dead. Sometimes they’re unwittingly communicating with Gwen at the same time they’re talking to Finney. They also make for great jump scares when they suddenly appear from behind or are sucked away into the darkness.

Everything about The Black Phone just works. It embodies the retro style of the 1970s but never spends much time lavishing in the nostalgia of yesteryear suburbia. It builds on its scariness easily with the progressive phone calls and a sense of determination and bravery that builds within Finney. This is one horror film that I highly recommend watching with a crowd considering how pleasing it is for the gritty conclusion. Watching Finney finally take charge and strike back at a child killer is so satisfying to witness and carries the perfect amount of grit. Horror films don’t get more satisfying than this one.

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