From the twisted mind of Scott Derrickson, director of Doctor Strange and Sinister, comes The Black Phone. Starring Ethan Hawke as one of those mask-loving, top hat-wearing murderous magicians you’re always reading about, The Black Phone brings Derrickson out of Marvel Universe and back into the Blumhouse.
Finney Shaw, a shy but clever 13-year-old boy, is abducted by a sadistic killer 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.
The Black Phone marks the first collaboration between Hawke and Derrickson since Sinister. And Hawke looks to be having a ball as the Pennywise-meets-Wonka child killer that drives around in an inconspicuous black van with the word “abracadabra” painted on the side. Which reminds us, what is this, a town from Scooby-Doo? Can’t the cops spot a murdering magician from that van? Obviously not, because Finney Shaw, the kidnapped boy trapped in the basement, is going to have use his wiles and the ghosts of Hawke’s victims to get out.
But the real selling point here is Ethan Hawke—even if his face remains hidden behind one of the masks from Batman Returns. The trailer does give us a little taste of Hawke’s creepy killer in the beginning.
The Black Phone is Derrickson’s first horror movie since getting swept up in the maniacal hands of Doctor Strange. After creative difference-ing his way out of the sequel, the director is returning to his horror roots. It’s probably not as lucrative, but making an original horror film over another Marvel movie is perhaps more satisfying.
The Black Phone opens in theaters on February 3, 2022.