The Black Phone Quick Review 2.5/5
Review below Rating Scale
Difficult to Watch
Watchable if you can't find anything else
Must Watch / Benchmark
I'm Sid Sadistic, I am a videographer, editor and effects/graphics/audio engineer. I specialize in a wide array of macabre content, including everything you see on this site. 90% of the movies I watch are horror and I likely watch less than 5 non-horror movies per year, all my dreams are demonic nightmares and I'm thankful for it. 💖
The Black Phone feels like a spiritual collage of other movies and TV shows namely IT and Stranger Things. Some of these play well, some don't.
Spoilers will be in Purple so if you don't want to see those skip the purple text, I will however keep the spoilers from ruining any surprises.
I like to keep my reviews short so lets knock it out.
Synopsis; The Black Phone follows a boy who is bullied in school in a town where there is a current pattern of children going missing, this boy's little sister has been having dreams about a man in a mask holding black balloons, this becomes a recurrent event in the movie which the children's abusive father doesn't respond well to. Eventually, the protagonist ends up getting obducted himself and this is where the majority of the movie is set. This show contains both physical and spiritual world elements.
Good cinematography, the color grading and filters are consistent throughout.
The special effects that are done, are unique and done well.
Some of the actors are good.
Contains a few unique concepts.
Maintains the same mid-level of suspense throughout.
The main protagonist and antagonist are two of the better actors.
The choice to set this in the late 70's fits well.
There are MANY glaringly obvious plot holes.
There isn't enough time in the movie to build the proper storytelling in order for it to feel complete.
Most of the acting is bad, and the police's acting is so bad it breaks immersion.
The police show zero doubt in believing the antagonist's very young sister's dreams as an indicator of what's happening in the real world and act on it WITHOUT A WARRANT. 🤣
The police see cocaine on a character's table and just brush it off easier than if they pulled over the Mayor going 2mph over the speed limit.
The way the protagonist was bullied and abused and how it plays later into the story is lackluster and unnecessary as it doesn't really impact his actions AT ALL aside from causing a little whimpering, despite occupying a large chunk of the overall content.
There is NO backstory on the main antagonist which is extremely disappointing since there were many ways to write this making things more sinister, this character is as hollow as a Fry's Electronics.
There were so many more effective ways that the protagonist could have escaped earlier, that I probably said "why didn't he...." 5+ times during the movie.
Not worthy of an R rating. This is a waste of a rating because the content is that of a PG-13 movie, and the R rating was simply used on poorly placed swears.
You develop no connection to the characters when this is specifically the type of movie that needs this type of storytelling.
It has an in-your-face shoutout to Steven Kings IT in the movie that is so unnecessary, it feels like you're watching a half-serious youtube film for a moment.
Did you notice how much longer the CONS list is than the PROS? I think this movie is clinically better than 55% of other horror movies, but I am unsure if this would make my top 100 horror movies list. There are MANY other horror movies that are more so worth your watch, even many movies I would rate clinically lower but are much more artistically unique creating more justification to watch in my opinion.
"A mostly passable hollow story" 2.5/5 (Average)
How could he have escaped earlier? ⛔HEAVY SPOILERS
Stabbing the grabber in the neck while he was sleeping
Beating him with the grate he pulled out the window
Folding the carpet many times and jumping to the ledge (They say it's not possible, but it definitely was)
Rubbing the metal panel of the refrigerator on the ground sharpening it into an effective blade
Beating him with the upper toilet cover rather than the wall, or shattering it into usable sharp pieces
Stabbing him in the neck with the toilet flange bar
Running between houses rather than trying to run obviously on the sidewalk when escaping
Screaming earlier, more and louder the second he saw the van while escaping