Ethan Hawke is typically known for playing genial, affable guys, from his Jesse in the “Before” movies to his scrappy dad in “Boyhood.” If 2018’s “First Reformed” showed signs of Hawke tipping into sinister territory as a priest with a death wish and a serious spiritual crisis, then he’s going all in for director Scott Derrickson’s “The Black Phone” as a child killer. Watch the trailer for the Blumhouse horror movie below.
Hawke reunites with Derrickson after their sick 2012 horror film “Sinister,” one of the most truly creepy movies of the last decade. Here’s the synopsis of “The Black Phone”: “After five children go missing in a suburban Colorado town in the 1970s, Finney Shaw is soon to become the sixth victim when he is kidnapped by a serial killer and trapped inside of a soundproof basement. Finding a disconnected phone, Shaw discovers its ability to transmit the voices of the killer’s previous victims, who try to help him escape.”
The fact that the trailer includes the spooky theme from Alan J. Pakula’s “Klute” should be enough to excite genre fans alone. But the reviews at festivals like Fantastic Fest and Beyond Fest have also been hugely positive. IndieWire called the film “a violent zeitgeist of a horror film that captures the audience’s emotions as quickly as the film’s antagonist kidnaps children in broad daylight. Ethan Hawke stars as a masked kidnapper (nicknamed ‘The Grabber’) who terrorizes a suburban Colorado town in the 1970s. Hiding behind the facade of a clumsy magician, he lures kids in with kindness before eclipsing their world with mace and a swarm of signature black balloons. The story is told through Finney’s perspective as audiences get a glimpse into his home and personal life before he becomes the kidnapper’s latest victim. In between dodging his classmates on the prowl to beat him up, Finney has to walk on eggshells at home in order to avoid any further abuse from his alcoholic father. The only solace he can find is alongside his sister Gwen (Madeleine McGraw), a sweet yet religious spitfire in pigtails, who has no qualms about cussing out cops or smashing a rock over a bully’s head.”
“The Black Phone” opens in theaters from Universal Pictures on February 4, 2022.