Midnight Mass creator Mike Flanagan praises The Black Phone, Sinister and Doctor Strange director Scott Derrickson’s new horror movie coming in 2022.
Midnight Mass creator Mike Flanagan praises Scott Derrickson’s new horror movie, The Black Phone. The Blumhouse Productions film adapted from a Joe Hill short story of the same name marks Derrickson’s return to the genre, after having directed the MCU’s Doctor Strange in 2016. The Black Phone had its world premiere at Fantastic Fest on September 25 and recently shifted its release date a week to February 4, 2022.
Set in suburban Colorado in the 1970s, Derrickson’s film primarily follows a kid named Finney Shaw (Mason Thames), who, after being kidnapped and held in a soundproof basement, looks primed to become the sixth victim of a serial murderer known as The Grabber (Ethan Hawke). When Finney picks up a disconnected phone left in his room, he discovers he can hear the voices of the killer’s previous victims, and they try to prevent the boy from meeting their fate. The Black Phone sees Derrickson re-team with Hawke and screenwriter Robert C. Cargill, both previously collaborators on 2012’s Sinister, a movie that just recently slipped to #2 in a scientific study’s ranking of the scariest horror movies ever.
With that premise and pedigree, expectations for Derrickson’s new movie are understandably high, and at least one of his peers believes it delivers. Mike Flanagan, a key figure in today’s horror landscape who is behind projects such as The Haunting of Hill House, Doctor Sleep, and most recently the Netflix miniseries Midnight Mass, took to Twitter to express his excitement after seeing The Black Phone at Beyond Fest. Praising the film’s adaptation of Hill’s original story, Flanagan singles out the performances of the young stars and urges audiences to circle its release date on their calendars:
Early reviews of The Black Phone have largely agreed with Flanagan, highlighting the film’s intensely dark tone and expansion of the source material as particular strong points. As the result of an intentional focus on character, some critics have warned that hardcore horror fans might feel the movie is a little light on scares, which Flanagan’s assessment of the film’s balanced emotions would seem to support. However, reviews also say that Hawke’s performance as the child killer, a rare villainous turn from the acclaimed actor, is on its own worth the price of admission.
While plenty of horror fans might be interested in critical reactions to an anticipated movie, most are more interested to hear from those who truly know and love the genre, which makes Flanagan’s endorsement especially meaningful. The Midnight Mass creator is known for projects that seek to balance horror elements with more conventional drama and character study, and his praise suggests The Black Phone might lean more towards Flanagan’s style than what audiences might have expected from the Sinister filmmakers. Viewers looking for a scare-a-minute thrill ride might want to search elsewhere, but it sounds like Derrickson’s latest is a well-made, chillingly dark tale that should please genre enthusiasts.
Source: Mike Flanagan
- The Black Phone (2022)Release date: Feb 04, 2022
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