The Black Phone hits theaters this week and it’s shaping up to be not just the horror movie of the summer, but even the horror movie of the year. The story unfolds in a small Colorado town in the late 1970s, a town that has been plagued by the disappearance of five of its children by a serial killer dubbed “The Grabber.” Thirteen-year-old Finney shaw, a smart, shy boy who loves baseball, becomes the next on that list of names when The Grabber kidnaps him. Finney wakes up in a locked, soundproof basement with nothing but a disconnected old phone on the wall. But when that phone starts to ring, Finney answers it to hear the voices of the kids the Grabber already murdered. With their help, Finney starts to plot his escape.

The Black Phone has been getting a lot of buzz and strong reviews, and with good reason. There are a few notable factors that have contributed to the hype around it. Here’s why The Black Phone might just be the horror movie to watch this year.

It Has A Veteran Horror Duo Behind It

Director Scott Derrickson might be most known to general audiences for his work on Doctor Strange, but his roots and his heart lie in the horror genre. Derrickson has quite the lineup under his belt, having previously directed Sinister, Deliver Us from Evil, The Exorcism of Emily Rose, and Hellraiser: Inferno. On The Black Phone, he’s accompanied by his regular writing partner, C. Robert Cargill. They may not be household names to the bigger, broader audience, but horror fans know them well. In between writing his numerous books, Cargill found the time to collaborate with Derrickson on the scripts for Sinister and Doctor Strange. They have a close friendship and a great working relationship, and The Black Phone is certain to bear the fruit of their combined effort and easy working relationship. Oh, and as a last little punch of horror bona fides? It’s being produced through Blumhouse and Jason Blum. If you know, you know.

It’s Based On A Story By Joe Hill–Stephen King’s Son

The Black Phone is actually based on a short story of the same name from Joe Hill’s anthology of horror stories, 20th Century Ghosts. If the name Joe Hill sounds familiar to you, it should–as the son of Stephen King, he comes by his authorial skills honestly. While he may not be a household name like his famous father, Hill has carved out his own impressive niche in the literary world. A number of his books and comics have already been adapted into live-action, including Horns, NOS4A2, Locke & Key, and In the Tall Grass, which he co-wrote with King. The stamp of Stephen King’s style is all over Hill’s work, but he puts his own twist on things–enough of his dad’s DNA in his work to feel familiar, but different enough to strike you as something fresh. It’s exciting to see what Derrickson and Cargill will make of Hill’s story.

Ethan Hawke Is Having Himself A Villainous Moment

While Ethan Hawke has never gone away, it could be argued he’s experiencing a bit of a career resurgence in the form of villainy. He’s coming straight off his great performance as supernatural cult leader Arthur Harrow in Marvel’s acclaimed Moon Knight series, and the recent buzz has primed audiences to see him as another villain in a different project. The Black Phone reviews have praised Hawke for his work as The Grabber, citing his flair for dramatic villainy and the sinister fun he seems to be having in the role. Hawke is no stranger to the horror genre and, specifically, has previously worked with Derrickson and Cargill on Sinister, where he played protagonist Ellison Oswalt. As one of our most respected working actors, Hawke has shown a rare kind of versatility, handling understated character roles as well as big showmanship. His collaborative comfort with The Black Phone‘s writer and director clearly allows him to shine here.

And last but not least…

Stephen King Has Given It His Stamp Of Approval

Hey, if the King of Horror says it’s terrifying, you should probably pay attention.

The Black Phone is in theaters Friday, June 24.

Get tickets to The Black Phone.

  • Editorial