Black Phone takes place in 1978, a time where there were a lot of child abductions going on. I remember seeing missing children on the back of milk cartons and watching the coverage on the news. Kids in the late 70’s and 80’s were latch key kids meaning their parents were out working and they had to walk home or catch the bus themselves and were alone most of the time. I was one of those kids. Black Phone focuses on two main characters, Finney Shaw (Mason Thames) and her sister Gwen (Madeleine McGraw) who are being raised by their father Terrance (Jeremy Davies).
Source: Universal Pictures Youtube Channel
Finney is a young man who takes care of his father who has become an alcoholic after their mother’s death. He also has a hard time at school with bullies. His sister, Gwen, is stronger than her brother and doesn’t let anyone push her around. Soon the kids learn that kids in the neighborhood have been taken. It hits close to home when Finn’s best friend, Robin (Miguel Cazarez Mora) goes missing. Soon Finn himself is taken by the Grabber( Ethan Hawke). Gwen has dreams which show her things that could help the police find the victims, including her brother.
Black Phone is a good horror thriller. There are a few horrific scenes which are more in the bully scenes where Finn is getting beat up and Gwen defends him. Gwen and Finn both have supernatural gifts which we learn they may have inherited from their mother. Finn's gifts come into play while he is captured by the “Grabber”. There are different themes within this movie; One being broken people hurt people. This goes for Gwen and Finn’s father Terrance, who is broken by the death of his wife which he blames on her gifts. The “Grabber” is broken but we don’t know how, why or when this occurred but the way he deals with it, is through torturing and killing boys. Another theme is to stand up for yourself. Finn’s best friend Robin tells this to Finn when he protects him from getting beat by bullies.
By the end, many of the characters learn about strength and that all special gifts do not always lead to tragedy. This movie gave you not one but two people to root for. I enjoyed the relationship between Finn and Gwen. Madeleine McGraw, who plays Gwen, shines in this movie and Ethan Hawke as the Grabber pulled off the ultimate creepiness. Mason Thames, who plays Finn, pulled through all the emotions of someone who has always wanted to do better in defending himself but just didn’t have the mental strength to do so. You see so much growth in Finn throughout his ordeal. Black Phone is an entertaining movie that did not have one dull moment. I’m sad I missed this during the theater run but glad I got to see it. Black Phone is a must see.