THE BLACK PHONE
THE BLACK PHONE. Scott Derrickson, director, producer, co-script. C. Robert Cargill, producer, co-script: from the short story by Joe Hill (2004). (Third producer: Jason Blum.) USA: Universal Pictures (production and distribution), 2021 (sic, per IMDb; 2022 [re]-release). 102 or 103 minutes.
THE BLACK PHONE got generally positive reviews and made money: estimated budget of US$16-18M, and a world-wide gross as of 28 June 2022 or nearly US$43M. It's a well-done work of cinema, but emphatically not SF within our limits and should carry warnings that it reinforces the mischievous ideas of "stranger danger" — most abductors of children are known to the kids — and that, as in for a strong example STRAW DOGS (Sam Peckinpah, 1971), manhood and redemption are achieved through fairly extreme violence.
The film is urban gothic horror, with spiritualism and other paranormal suggestions, set in a Denver suburb in 1978, with some soft-porn sadism. Significant here for "The Black Phone." It's a "dead" wall phone from the period, in the dungeon of the kidnapped protagonist, and the means by which the abductor's earlier victims communicate with that protagonist — an adolescent-male version of The Last Girl — who uses this spiritual help to prevail.
RDE, finishing, 30Jun22