Saturday, June 25, 2022

BONUS: The Black Phone

Ooookayyy. Creepy.

So yeah, pretty effective I'd say. I knew it was gonna be one of those weird movies that if nothing else would be interesting, and I'm happy to report it's pretty good. Set in 1978 a rash of child abductions has plagued a small town in Colorado, police are more reacting than acting, parents post missing pictures everywhere, and a 13 year old boy named Phin is the next unfortunate victim. Locked in a bare basement, with bars on the window, a rickety bed, and no clue as to exactly what will happen next tries to plan his next move, while the unhooked phone keeps ringing. I mean it's a pretty terrifying and horrific story before it goes weird, almost a prolonged The Lovely Bones before the girl gets murdered and it plays it's cards well. Very very few jumpscares from Blumhouse, focusing more on the tension and how to get out of this situation from a smart but still entirely young boy. They sure nailed the 70s aesthetic down though, from horror movies playing on TV which I of course knew was The Tingler from 1959 directed by William Castle and starring Vincent Price because I'm a nerd (though I think they screwed up with Texas Chainsaw Massacre which was released in 74' not 78'), to the owl embroidered nightgown so aces across the board in terms of sets, clothing, and media. It even has some brief moments where the film gets grainier than a grindhouse flick, and the colors saturate almost to the point it's hard to discern the environment. The director did very well setting up this atmosphere and world we step into, not to mention bringing out strong material from his actors. Man, these kids were damn good. Mason Thames gives it his all and truthfully doesn't seem like he has to do much acting, thinking logically but still has moments where he breaks down. Same goes for his sister played by Madeliene McGraw, now I know you're not supposed to laugh when kids cuss but Jesus, this girl was on another level. She is not here for this nonsense and is awesome. I am happy they didn't do my guy Jeremy Davies dirty, cause I liked him a great deal in Hannibal, and at first he seems like this abusive piece of shit to the kids but they make him more than one note. He lost his wife to her commiting suicide, he drinks too much, and crosses the line between a whoopin' and child batterment, but he has moments where you see he actually cares about his daughter and son and wants them to have a better life. That's good writing, well done. But now we get to talk about Ethan Hawke, holy crap. I didn't think this word was possible in this day and age but he is eerie in this movie. He doesn't even really do anything to the kid until the tail end, and you have f*** all what his motives or intention is, just that he's this creepy dude with a panel van wearing a few masks that can only be described as kabuki tengu/samurai face masks and wants your kids buried in a shallow grave. God damn. Like, I despise the fact that I live in a world where you just can't let your kids go out alone and play. That upsets me a great deal, cause I lived in a small enough town in a slightly secluded neighborhood with trees on every side and it was the late 90s/early 2000s so it wasn't an issue. But when I was in like maybe 5th grade my momma told me to always carry a cell phone for emergency purposes when I went out. It's just sad man, we got a ways to go before things are actually better. And on that depressing bombshell it is time to end, thank you so much for joining me, see you next week.

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