The Black Telephone | For Ethan Hawke’s performance ★★★

A 13-year-old boy kidnapped by a sadistic killer and locked in a soundproof basement is left with a dead phone as his only rescue, connecting him with the killer’s previous victims.

Posted at 12:00 p.m

Martin Gignac
special collaboration

Doctor Strange was a minor misstep for filmmaker Scott Derrickson. After abandoning his “creative differences” suite, here he returns to his favorite genre: horror. The black phone (The black phone in French version) could also be related to a spiritual cousin of his own Creepy (2012), in which an author played by Ethan Hawke tries to explain the mysterious disappearances of children.

That star This time he crosses the mirror and he is the reason for all these kidnappings. In the shoes of a creepy masked man nicknamed The Grabber, the actor embodies one of the most memorable villains of recent years. A disturbing and elusive being, sort of an unlikely cross between the Joker and Willy Wonka. The one we saw in the cinema this year The Northman had never embodied such a devilish being and he’s having a great day modulating his voice to perfection. A role that runs the risk of sticking with him for a long time.

Too bad the movie isn’t as captivating as its portrayal. Based on the short story by Joe Hill (Stephen King’s son), the screenplay, drawn by Derrickson and his accomplice C. Robert Cargill, lacks originality. It’s a simple variation of It. The villain with the black balloons also becomes a metaphor for the violent climate in which our young hero develops (persuasive Mason Thames). The voices he hears on the phone will help him get rid of it…by drawing blood, of course.

Too long to get going, the initiation story behind closed doors is captivating. This is where the staging comes into its own, developing a tension at every moment that arises less from random outbursts and more from the care taken for gloomy images and sound textures. A sense of uneasiness and melancholy that sadly disappears when the plot returns to the police investigation and the protagonist’s young sister (the feisty Madeleine McGraw) with dreams that are a little too comfortable and revealing.

The black phone is shown in the original version and in the French version.


The black phoneby Scott Derrickson

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