GOOD: The Black Phone

Ethan Hawke as the Grabber in The Black Phone

Released: 24 June 2022

Based on a short story by Joe Hill, The Black Phone follows the story of a young boy named Finney after he is abducted by a masked man known as the Grabber. Helped by visions of the Grabber’s previous victims, Finney attempts to resist his captor in a tale that’s both dark and gently supernatural in nature. With there already having been a near-endless slew of unimpressive pseudo-supernatural horror-thrillers, the consensus on The Black Phone ahead of its release was that it would be generally underwhelming.

Thankfully, this wasn’t the case. With Ethan Hawke starring as the unforgettably creepy Grabber, The Black Phone struck an incredibly tense chord from the off, with its scares amping up as the depth of its story began to set in. There was far more nuance at play in The Black Phone than anyone initially suspected, leading to one of the best horror movies of recent years.

With the underwhelming performance of the previous Joe Hill adaptation Horns, it’s understandable that expectations were relatively low for The Black Phone. However, its use of key horror tropes while also exploring much deeper themes of abuse and the captivity of youth was something that made it a surprisingly strong offering, and it turned out to be among 2022’s best releases. Though it may not have made the biggest splash at the box office, The Black Phone was certainly one of the year’s most pleasant (yet horrifying) surprises.