The Black Phone is one of the best horror/thriller films of recent years.
It benefits from a very tight and compact story which is tense and full of suspense from the get go. What I really enjoyed though was how the story doesn’t get bogged down in unnecessary details. There is no over-indulgent character backstory or clunky exposition. The screenplay doesn’t spoon feed the audience and lets us get on with enjoying the film.
Ethan Hawke is superb in his role. The way he uses the mask to elevate his performance and not hamper it is fantastic to watch. He injects so much creepiness and tension into every scene. Even when he isn’t on screen his presence is felt which makes for a very engaging film.
Mason Thames as Finney is a very solid lead, but Madeleine McGraw as his sister steals the spotlight with a fantastic performance.
The direction from Derrickson is very crisp and clean. A grey hue to the film solidifies the creepy atmosphere and the pacing is spot on.