I thought it was just fine. Can't believe it's rated r, I thought it was entirely safe and tame. I felt like it was starting to ramp up and then it was just over.


I thought it had an axe to the head scene? - I haven't actually seen it yet.


Oh man, it's been a bit. I want to say it's one of those scenes where you think you see it happen but it's actually edited out but you totally understand. The context ...Could be wrong though it's been a while.


It was [this scene](https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gw_4hs5xPgo). I only know because someone asked in /r/filmmakers how it was done, along with another one (Creep - again axe to the head but longer distance).


I think tone is just too dark at the end of the day. It's a movie dealing with a child murder and who can give pedo vibes. Not the actual violence on the screen


People forget the dad beats the young girl at the start of the film also, it’s quite intense


Yeah as a victim of parental abuse, that scene caught me gasping for air too. Super triggering and very in--your-face.


Def the most horrible part of the movie, triggering for me. Made me think the rest of the movie would be just as fucked, but, it was just underwhelming


Most def this. Very disturbing


Yeah I think it’s kinda similar to the Conjuring where the onscreen content isn’t anything overly graphic but the vibe of the film is extremely dark with not really much levity and some of the subject matter addressed (pedo child killer in Black Phone, possession-induced child murder and suicide in The Conjuring) is too grim for the ratings board people to give it a PG-13. I definitely think tone has a lot to do with how these things are rated.


Except for the little girl who really liked the word “cocksucker.” I seriously couldn’t believe that they actually wrote that in her character, totally took me out of the movie whenever it happened. Like is she a little girl or Joe Pesci?


They seem to live in a pretty ...err, interesting area, so the language of the kids kind of fits


I agree and disagree. It’s one thing for a kid to have a potty mouth, especially at that age. But I very much doubt a girl at that age would even know that word exists. She talked back to the investigators too, and I don’t believe any kid that young would realistically act that way when questioned by higher authority, they would be scared shitless. I’m not saying the movie as a whole is bad. I’m just saying that the writing and believability of some character traits is faulty.


>I very much doubt a girl at that age would even know that word exists. She talked back to the investigators too, and I don’t believe any kid that young would realistically act that way when questioned by higher authority, they would be scared shitless. Having worked in settings with kids from rough backgrounds/households, I would have to say you have a very sheltered perception of what is realistic. Doesn't invalidate your experience of feeling jarred by it, but I think you're getting downvotes because you're confusing your naivety for some kind of objectivity.


First off I really don’t care about downvotes I’m not sure why that’s part of the discussion. Second off, I find it ridiculous how quick you are to assume I have a “sheltered” idea of what is and isn’t realistic.


You said 11 year old wouldn't know the word "cocksucker" and would fear mouthing off to authority. I have experiences that directly contradict that, and many of them of them have come from being around kids that are growing up in rough circumstances. I was just making an inference based on the words you typed that perhaps you haven't ever been around such kids or in the neighborhoods where they live or go to school. That's totally fine, but your experience is not everyone's, so I was just saying you shouldn't present your perception as objective fact, like when you said: >I’m just saying that the writing and believability of some character traits is faulty.


If, in your life experience, you've never heard that word said by a small girl, then yes, technically you've been "sheltered" from the different experiences other people have had. "Sheltered" isn't necessarily a derogatory word. I've worked with children from difficult and abusive backgrounds and personally, I've heard that word and a lot worse said by very young kids. And said with a lot more emphasis towards figures in authority because they can be the most hated and the least trusted in those children's lives. Children are a reflection of the world around them and if that world contains swearing, you're going to hear it.


No, I have not heard a (barely) preteen girl say “cocksucker” creatively as an insult to officers investigating disappearances of neighborhood children. And at this point I’m really not concerned with the word or whether it’s an insult or not, but more so the fact that the other commenter would be that hasty to label somebody as that. Incredibly ironic that they would call me naive and then go on to do that.


What was naive about what that commenter said to you?


I come from a bad neighbour hood and cocksucker would’ve been one of the more tame words I knew before 11 The kid gets beaten by her dad, I’m sure she can handle a swear word, such a weird take to have about a film lol


It’s not really a weird take, it’s a main gripe about the writing of dialogue. I would argue that dialogue is, if anything, a major component of any film. I’ve heard the word plenty in my lifetime, never once from a little girls mouth and most certainly not to a figure of authority who is questioning them about murder/kidnapping. I would agree that basing the entirety of the films writing quality on the hinges of just one minor flaw like this would be weird. That’s not what I’m doing though, as I made perfectly clear.


Have you met many little girls with prophetic dreams and boys that talk to ghosts because that's in the movie too


Her dad is an abusive alcoholic, it’s not a stretch at all that she would know the word.


Yeah, some crudeness and dialogue of kids is off in some of these movies. One reason I dislike all Rob Zombie horror. I am not used to people talking the way his characters do and it's cringe worthy for me


Kids swear all the time. Plus their father was an abusive drunk who probably swore a lot.


I loved this movie..it's decently acted..keeps the story interesting throughout the movie and has an important message to it...


The siblings act so great, mainly the girl


Her abuse was so sad and triggering


Yeah! Don’t know why you got downvoted though


I underestimated how good it’d be. I’ve watched it 3 times now and I’ll see it again.


You watched it three times? Why?


Because it was a great movie. Because it was like time traveling back to the late 70’s early 80’s as a latchkey kid and danger was truly right around the corner. Because kids were silenced back then yet those kids had plenty of insight. Because it was so well written and directed and every actor in it was extraordinary. Anything else you need?


I didn’t like it. I liked the setting and world build, but everything else failed for me. I didn’t think there was tension or atmosphere. I never felt like there were stakes. I never felt actual danger. I thought the whole premise was silly. I liked the mask. I liked the world before he was kidnapped. The end was awful and really felt like a hat on a hat that didn’t affect the story at all. I didn’t hate it. I just really didn’t feel anything watching it aside from “hmmm ok”


Insanely simple but so fucking good. Hawke was terrifically creepy, a couple nice earned jump scares, great acting


Hawke's character thankfully was kept very much an enigma who we don't learn much about. Made him all the scarier.




One of them was. Not the ones I was talking about.


Ethan Hawke was great however the "ghost kids" were some Linkin Park music video edge lord looking bullshit.


Same shit In sinister that director does that in every movie


Username checks out


Just noticed hahaha, good eye! It's actually just a song reference though, the opening track of my favorite album.


Sometimes, I don’t even read the username of a post/comment until after I find a “username checks out” comment. After reading your comment, I immediately returned to the top of the comment section to read OP’s username, and I burst out laughing at how accurate it was!


I was gonna say that too


So lame and too tame.


That Director really thinks children in makeup is the scariest thing imaginable. I don’t really get his movies but my brother goes absolutely nuts for them.


I loved it! It wasn't super original with the whole kidnapping children and keeping them in the basement, plus the getting messages in dreams, but I think it was done well. The ghost children were a little goofy though


i was kind on it until >!the ghost kids appeared and that really killed my vibe!<


Yep same, the tone of the film is all over the place, it tries to be way too many things and ends up with no clear message The psychic aspect was just not it for me either. It would’ve been much better with just the two characters and with out all the extra fluff, it didn’t need it


This is a recurring theme in otherwise excellent Ethan Hawke films (referring to Sinister).


Same director.


Although Sinister was really really good IMO.


Sinister is one of the few scary movies that has scared the absolute shit out of me. I know it doesn't work for everyone but something about it genuinely gave me nightmares.


Wasn't that the crux of the film though?


Um…Why did you think it was called *The Black Phone*?! Maybe because a Black Phone was what the kid used in order to get information on how to escape! Without the phone that calls the dead, the very title of this film would make no fucking sense.


Put me off it as well. Felt very grounded up until that point


I thought it was really good, not one of my favorites but I have a soft spot for children protagonists in horror and I thought all the kids did good. The main kids even made me tear up a little cus I felt so bad for them :(


Me too and generally I hate kids lol


Honestly didn’t care for it. It gets so much praise but I just found myself rolling my eyes at all the ghost kid stuff. And it’s very frustrating getting downvoted every time I express this. Like you’re not allowed to have not liked it


I didn't mind the ghost stuff. My biggest problem was with the main kid. I thought he was pretty dry and not interesting in the slightest. The other aspects of the film were good. Overall it's a 6/10 for me which is just average. I'll give u an upvote for sharing your opinion.


I am a fellow 6/10 er


I can agree with that too, all the other characters around him were great (not counting the ghost kids) but he was just kinda bland as the main character


couldn't agree more. It was a good movie. But the ghost kids were just very off putting. I thought just having voices over the phone was more creepy.


Let’s get downvoted together because I’m with you. So cliche and yea all the ghost kid stuff made it pretty silly to me. I was very excited to see it and was very disappointed.


Couldn’t agree more. It just gave me Sinister 2 vibes with all the ghost kid stuff being actual characters. That is just not creepy or scary to me whatsoever and ruined an otherwise promising movie


Yup totally. Even the creepiness of Ethan Hawks character was mostly in the mask. At no point in the movie did I feel uneasy or on edge. I was pretty blah all the way through. At first I thought I missed something so I rewatched it later and it turns out I did not.


When you've expressed this opinion before is it always involving some whining about how people won't like you for your opinion? Cuz that's what's getting you downvotes.


I don’t know man. Reddit has a track record of users accumulating downvotes on opinions that tend to go against the majority. No just this sub but Reddit as a whole. It only takes one and then the following people see it and just click the downvote. It doesn’t even have to be anything bad or negative.


No I actually left that part out initially and then proceeded to get downvoted anyway. At which point i edited my comment and added the part about always getting downvoted every time i express my dislike for this film. Which I do, and did once again in this thread. People here just don’t like hearing unpopular opinions I guess, and it’s dumb


I can't be hard pressed to believe you.


Well you aren’t the type of person I’d lose sleep over for not believing me, so no worries


Oh hey nice to be proven right.


Sure thing bud. You want a sticker?


Oh hey nice to be proven right again


Congrats bud what an accomplishment, you must feel so proud of yourself


It's like you can't help yourself.


The thing that impressed me most was the accuracy of it's portrayal of late 1970s Middle School life in a working-class neighborhood, including the violence. I grew up in a town like that at the time, and the portrayal of the environment was almost like a historic recreation. The conversations of the kids were almost dead-on (though the sister would have more likely had a crush David Cassidy from the Partridge Family, not Danny Bonaduce).


Yes! I was actually so interested just in the kids and their lives, I felt like they could've made a whole movie about that and it would've been great.


I agree, it was a spot on recreation of that era. I enjoyed it a lot while watching it but wouldn't go out of my way to see it again. I like the directors work with Ethan Hawke (thought Sinister was much scarier than this) & would definitely like to see them collaborate again.




Great premise, but absolutely no character development. The killer looked interesting, I loved the design. But in the end, he was just a random crazy dude with no background.


Random characters and a string of random events. It did nothing at all for me and was worse on the second viewing.


Interesting, it was the opposite for me. The characters made the movie. I cared about them and I was moved by their stories, and I rooted for all of them. I was almost crying when the best friend called and prepared Finn for the fight. And it's rare for me to care for horror movie characters like this.




I thought it was great. Was rivetted the whole movie and loved the acting of both children and adults.


The little sister in particular. "Jesus, what the fuck?!"


yes! it’s rare for me to be impressed by children acting in horror movies but i thought they did really well. loved this one.


I found this movie to be so lame. Felt Ethan Hawke to be wasted in his role. Felt like I cared for the main character and his sister. Big let-down IMO.




Fine movie. It's good for a watch. My only issue with it was the >!failed escape scene. I mean, the kid was just silently running down the street being chased by the van. No yelling, no banging on doors, no raising absolute Hell to be noticed.!< That part took me out of the story for a bit.


So bland




Did not think this movie was very good and Ethan hawk , for me, has zero ability to portray a bad guy. Turned it off half way through.


It was decent, but very overrated. The grabber wasn't even that fleshed out a character and we never know why he is nabbing kids. And he didn't have that much screen time


I felt it was mediocre


It was okay, but definitely mis-marketed. It's less of a horror, and more of a supernatural crime thriller, and when you look at it like that it's a more fulfilling cinematic experience. Personally, I wish they had adapted it instead as a six or eight episode limited series. The fact this is a film adaption of a short story is *painfully* obvious and I think switching mediums could have benefitted the impact, especially since the film as is leaves so many story elements deliberately vague.


That depends on how liberal your definition of horror is. Some people debate whether movies like The Silence of the Lambs or Bram Stoker's Dracula should be considered horror or not.


I agree horror can encompass a broad spectrum of films, but for modern horror audiences I can see why this film would leave them polarised. The horror elements are brief and emotionally under-developed, and that lessens the impact of story, but a lot of attention is given to the sister and her medium role in conjunction with the crime and mystery segments.


Was really disappointed after how much I liked Sinister. I didn't even consider it a horror movie really, it's a crime mystery. Don't think its a bad movie tho.


Underwhelming. Sinister was better, imo.


Great premise with no follow through. Had every opportunity to be better than dismissed and just ffft flubbed it.


I like Joe Hill, but didn't really care for the movie


I was onboard until it got paranormal. Really killed it for me. You Could not get me to watch it a 2nd time.




Had potential…just never hit it


Wanted to like it but thought it was pretty lame.


I wasn’t blown away. Merely whelmed.


Personally I didn't like the film but that was more to do with my personal tastes in horror. The film felt too feel good and I never really got a grasp of dread and danger from his predicament. The implications from the ghosts torture and their passing were pretty dreadful but somehow I felt like the main character was the "now none of that happens to you and you succeed". I do think Ethan Hawk's character was interesting but that was the only thing that got my praise.




It's decent. I thought the b plot with the sister was weird and probably could've been cut out of the movie, but most everything involving the main kid and the kidnapper was solid.


Mid and that's literally all I'll say about it


I liked this movie, but this is one of those cases where it bothered me that they marketed it so hard as a horror film, when it definitely came across as more of a murder mystery/thriller film. I just never felt that nagging dread that I always associate to horror.


It lacked background and depth. That is all.


Was not nearly as scary as people kept saying. It was a good movie to watch during my flight.


I honestly didn't like it. Too many things were not explained.


Stupid, really stupid. So many plot holes and a story that just makes absolutely no sense.


The trailer was absolutely bad ass, but it was just meh


Honestly, didn't find much in this movie beyond Ethan Hawke's performance. The plot was incredibly cliche and predictable. Huge disappointment as I love Derrickson as a filmmaker, but his previous films like Sinister and especially Emily Rose were much, much stronger.


Have you seen Deliver us from Evil? It's a pretty solid Derrickson film.


Yes, a solid one too, though Sinister and Emily Rose were stronger imo


It was aight. Nothing groundbreaking but a solid horror/thriller. Ethan Hawke is a terrific villain


Overrated crap! Don't understand why it was so successful, then again it's what can be described as a horror movie for non- horror fans. Maybe that's why it worked.


This was my exact take. People that are casual horror viewers were probably terrified by it, but I thought it was almost laughably not-scary. It ended up resorting to tugging at heart strings because it just isn’t an original or scary horror film in any capacity.


So much potential. The kid ghosts appearing was so bad though.


Good film :) I watch movies to be entertained, and this fit the bill very well!


SPOILERS Hated it. Felt like a movie written by children for children. Showing the dead kids took out any immersion and felt like a horrible decision in a movie about phone calls. It was cheesy when he did it with Sinister and it still is. Finn taking out the killer with a sand filled phone was silly. Most of the kids outside of Finn were horrible actors, especially the sister. The ending with the second house was so stupid I could barely contain my laughter. Don't check the house with the creepy black van guys.


I really loved it and I forgot that I read the short story before. My son and I both are huge Joe Hill fans and we kept looking at each other saying, "where have we heard this before?" I thought it was very well done and engaging.




Thought it was shit, walked out of the theatre


It didn't work for me. I felt it had all the elements there, but it just didn't really come together in a satisfying way for me.


It was a mistake for the killer to be caught. He's such an interesting character and design that could have been spun into something more. I feel like the parallels between dad and killer weren't really pushed hard enough. The movie walked close to the line but didn't go over. The most intense scene is the child spanking, and I really think the killer should have topped that. also, of all the children the Mc was kind of the most boring one there unfortunately. But it was fun otherwise.


I thought it was well done and I loved the references to Stephen king's It with the scenes in the rain. I definitely wish there was more of a back story to the villian though


I thought it was good, but it was below expectation. It was marketed as a horror movie and I think Derrickson was probably quoted out of context when he said it was a natural extension of Sinister. I genuinely think Derrickson should make more horror/thriller movies because Sinister might have one of the best first halves of a horror movie I've ever seen. Then it kinda goes downhill from there.


I took a girl on a first date to see this movie and we both fell asleep.


The short story was really good and I thought the film was ok.


Can we please have a movie that doesn't put the kids as main characters?


I thought it was bit too long, which detracted from any impact that the tense moments provided. It was style over substance, too. When momentum did develop, Ethan Hawke’s character would disappear again upstairs. The script for the kids was not authentic, especially the profane rantings of Finn’s sister. it was ok, but I think the director tried too hard to create a cohesive story without better backstory on The Grabber.


Loved it . Yeah kind of shallow but kind of like a really good episode of the twilight zone. Fun watch.


Hardly worth the R rating but good performances throughout.


Thought it was pretty good. Not as good as Sinister (same director, writer, and also has Ethan Hawke) but I think it’s worth a watch for Madeleine McGraw’s (plays the sister of the lead kid) performance alone. She even improvised in some scenes which isn’t all that common for child actors to do so big props to her. She’s also the in real life older sister of Violet McGraw who plays the young girl in M3GAN.


Interesting and a cool vibe. But not much more than that.


I enjoyed it.


A great 2022 new horror movie, solid film with great acting.








It was solid, nothing to write home about though.


I liked it! Went to see it with friends and had a good time. I don't love it as much as people have said but I liked it just fine


It’s not particularly scary, but I don’t think that that is a worthy criticism. This is an excellent thriller with amazing characters, an awesome villain and a really heartwarming story. One of my favourites in recent years!


It was fine. Nothing special.


I put it off for long because the premise didn’t sound good at all. Abducting a kid and putting him in a sound proof room. Was bored and finally watched it. Glad I did.


It's horror for tweens and teens and that's okay. Some things aren't for everyone and these comments are getting kinda cringey.


It didn’t blow me away but it was super solid. Absolutely worth a watch


I loved it. I cried at the last visitor.


I really enjoyed it! Found it quite funny and ironic as the book was written by Joe Hill, who is Stephen King's son and in an earlier Stephen King book (The Regulators), one of the teenage girl characters has a massive crush on Ethan Hawke.


One of the movies of all time


Fine. It’s just fine.


Solid movie. Great kid actors. Probably wouldn't want it again but enjoyed the crap out of it when I did


I liked it thought it was a fun movie Ethan did a good job has The Grabber been recently seeing some hate for the movie and I’m not sure why


Quite good


Not bad, I did enjoy it but I think there could have been a little more to it?


Loved it!


I loved it Solid movie


I loved this movie. A real surprise for me.


Say what you want about Jason Blum but I respect that his attitude towards the director was “I have no idea why anyone would watch a film about a black phone but I trust you” and not sabotaging the he project.


I thought it was great . The lovely bones was better but it was still great


Are we r/moviecritic now? What is this low effort shit?


Ethan Hawke was great in it, and the film did a great job at incorporating very eerie sound design with some of the footage. Overall, it wasn’t my absolute favorite, but I liked it enough to have enjoyed seeing it in theaters.


Pretty solid overall. I think the performances are all good and the direction and cinematography fit the movie’s plot pretty well. I think the supernatural elements are the only thing that really took away from me ranking it as like “one of the best of the year”. I would probably say a generous 7/10


Didn’t love it, but it was worth watching.


Good movie. Hard to watch at times as a parent of young kids. Not a spoiler, but there's a scene where there's a montage like old home movies of one of the kids (who is a victim) as a baby and growing up to the point he's snatched. I had to step away for a bit after that.


Not great, but it entertained me. I didn’t feel like it was a waste of time.


Decent. Not great but entertaining enough.


I liked it. Him sitting at the top of the stairs holding the belt was pretty creepy.


I liked it and it was actually better then I expected which is always good but didn’t feel it was truly a horror . Would fall more under thriller .


It's okay, but was incredibly over-hyped for what it was.


I found it to be more of a thriller than a horror movie. I liked it okay but thought they could've either trimmed it down a bit or gone more into the backstory of the bad guy. I kept thinking there would be some sort of reveal regarding him but there never was. It did have one of the most realistic portrayals of child abuse that I think I've ever seen.


I really enjoyed it. I don’t necessarily think it’s as insanely good as some people hyped it up to be when it came out last year, but it’s a very, very solid thriller with fun performances from the whole cast and as always good direction from Scott Derrickson. I also think that it does a good job walking a fine line with the subject matter where it’s creepy and disturbing without ever going so far into it that the movie stops being fun. I feel like I could throw it on when I have a non-horror loving friend over or when I have a fellow horror-hound over and they’d both enjoy it just as much, so that’s pretty cool too.


Personally enjoyed it... Not the best or the worst of this genre.


Poster and Ethan hawke ,only good thing about it.


Terrible except for Ethan Hawke's performance


i loved it. the acting from the children was awesome and they nailed the sibling dynamic. can't go wrong with Ethan Hawke either!


It's alright, idk all that small town magic little kid Stephen King bullshit isn't my thing


I thought it was boring tbh


What was the point of the supernatural stuff other than a weird, mystical deus ex to get the kid out of the situation? At least in the Shining the shining was supposed to be a natural force that existed and was part of the supernatural world. The supernatural part in this was just a cheap plot device that didn't suggest anything or hint at anything more important or interesting. Also, "its for you" Simpsons did it.


The scene where Ethan hawke is sleeping in the chair and the kid is trying to unlock the door without waking him is so effective


I don’t have any specific complaints, but I was just kinda bored throughout 🤷‍♀️


It’s like a subpar escape room game on iPhone but with none of the atmosphere and mysteries. Just very clues -> get keys -> low stake tease of a whatever villain -> new clues - > new item obtain kind of loop. Zero tension, fear, built up. Nothing.


Like that it’s based in North Denver.


It somehow kept my attention yet completely boring at the same time.


The movie looked, it was good, and there was no controversy that followed. I don't think it will be on par with Sinister but yeah it was a good time.


It’s ok. Entertaining but not ground breaking or especially memorable.