The Black Phone

Featured In Issue 263, September/October 2022

WSR Score5
Basic Information on new release titles is posted as soon as titles are announced. Once reviewed, additional data is added to the database.
Universal Studios Home Entertainment
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Violence, bloody images, language and some drug use
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Single Side, Dual Layer (BD-50)
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Scott Derrickson
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DTS HD Lossless 7.1
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In "The Black Phone," Finney (Mason Thames), a shy but clever 13-year-old boy, is abducted by a sadistic killer (Ethan Hawke) and trapped in a soundproof basement where screaming is of little use. When a disconnected phone on the wall begins to ring, Finney discovers that he can hear the voices of the killer's previous victims. And they are dead se on making sure that what happened to them doesn't happen to Finney. (Gary Reber)

Special features include commentary by Producer/Co-Writer/Director Scott Derrickson; "Shadowprowler," a short film by Derrickson (HD 11:57); two deleted scenes (HD 01:21); four featurettes: "Ethan Hawke's Evil Turn" (HD 04:25), "Answering The Call: Behind The Scenes" (HD 10:40), "Devil In The Design" (HD 05:15) and "Super 8 Set" (HD 01:48); upfront previews and a Movies Anywhere digital copy.

The 2.39:1 1080p AVC picture, reviewed on a Sony Bravia Z9D 4K Ultra HD HDR display, upconverted to 2160p with greater resolution and luminance, was photographed digitally in anamorphic Hawk Scope using the Arri Alexa Mini and Bolex 155 Super camera systems and sourced from a 2K master Digital Intermediate format. The production design is creepy during the imagery contrasts between Feeney's sister's dreams of the "grabber," flashbacks, TV footage and the "grabber's" soundproof basement dungeon where Feeney is prisoner. While the image quality varies as a result, it all works well. There are the real-time settings that appear generally natural as well as the dungeon setting, which is shadowy dark with natural lighting that is turned on at times. Overall, the color palette is often generally dimly filtered to create aa stylized appearance. Colors range from natural to dark grays. Flesh tones are generally natural. Contrast is varied and stylized with excellent shadow delineation and decent black levels. Resolution ranges from intended soft to sharp with fine detail exhibited in many instances, such as in the concrete walls of the dungeon and the real-time imagery, as well as facial features. Overall, this is a uniquely stylized visual experience that is chillingly creepy. (Gary Reber)

The DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1-channel soundtrack is dynamic sounding with a strong music score, which at times is enhanced with deep bass. At times bass rises to strong levels. Sound effects are often powerful and atmospheric. Surrounds are aggressive and strongly enveloping. Atmospherics are powerful as well. The entire effect is heighten creepiness and horrific. Dialogue can be a bit forward due to ADR, a bit unintelligible and muffled, and also clear. This is a well crafted thriller soundtrack that will keep viewers on the edge of their seat with thrilling holosonic® surround envelopment and dynamic impact. (Gary Reber)