Horror thriller Stranger Things is a must watch for fans

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I love Ethan Hawke, but I don’t know if I want him to be mine an imperfect father figure or mine intellectual stimulation of a one-night stand. Black phone, the 2022 horror-thriller currently streaming on Amazon Prime Video, relieves me of that choice by turning a Gen-X idol into an unambiguously unpleasant villain. And I am inside.

To mix together strange things with He isthrowing your favorite serial killer miniseries add a touch of bittersweet to ease the nostalgia, and you have the Black Phone. If you still haven’t seen the mid-budget genre film – yes, you – you should.

Hawke stars as fictional ’70s serial killer The Grabber, a “part-time magician” who never leaves home without his trusty box of black balloons and a can of chloroform spray. And it is often Come back Go home with the kidnapped teenager to lock down his murderous basement, but not before donning one of his grotesque horned masks. (Although I like it Ted Bundy and even Richard Ramirez (Inspiring an inexplicably strong fandom, I guarantee The Grubber’s Mask will make you fall out of love with Ethan Hawke for the duration of the film’s 103-minute run time.)

The film’s main character, thankfully not a serial killer at its center, is Finny Blake (Mason Thames), a young teenager who lives with his alcoholic father (Jeremy Davis) and his smart little sister Gwen (Madeleine McGraw). necklace, stick forever season suburban denver late 70s. There are no good adults here, at worst they are bullies. Children bleed their noses in rage to get through the fragile and anarchic hierarchy. It is an anarchic world of bullying or abuse, ruled by children. Additionally, the town’s children continue to go missing and Gwen has psychic visions of them.

When Finny himself is kidnapped, he wakes up on a dirty mattress in The Grabber’s soundproof basement, with nothing but the titular company phone that doesn’t work. Despite the lack of dial tone, the phone still rings. His Lessons.

The film has a real sense of horror: its source is a short story written by Joe Hill (you know, the son of Stephen King?) and its adaptation Hawke writers K. Reunites for the first time with Robert Cargill and Scott Derrickson. Since 2012 Demand (you know scientifically proven scariest movie all the time?) If I had known about this surname, I certainly would have too afraid to look. But it is there Black phone shine: it’s not so scary.

I am saying this as a compliment, not a criticism. Instead of indulging in overt sadism for its own sake, the film evokes a lingering sense of alien threat that has never been fully quelled. I’d call The Black Phone creepy, creepy, and definitely full of suspense. Yes, it is very dark. But his jump scares are manageable (dare I say superficial?) and his violence, at least in the hands of The Grabber, is largely off-camera. Finney’s limitations? More of an escape room than a torture chamber.

The film is set in 1978, part of the so-called “Golden Age of Serial Murder,” when, according to crime historians, the vast majority of serial killers (that people know of) were active.

The current era can therefore be seen as the golden age of serial killer intellectual property: the serial killer cinematic universe is expanding rapidly as streaming platforms fuel the craze for true crime podcasts with documentaries and “inspired” scripted shows. with built-in features. public. (For example, after the success of Dahmer—Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story, Netflix announced two more seasons to explore “other infamous characters who left their mark on society.”) But what I love about The Black Phone is exactly that. I liked it true crime parody american vandalism – It is what it is not based on a true story.

Ethan Hawke in top hat and face paint

Universal pictures

Bravo for the original narrative! Well done for the individual films! No rush to use innocent victims for “content” and indulge in the heavy fantasy of our ID over a bucket of buttered popcorn!

So who is on the other end of the black phone line? It turns out that Finny’s sister has sensed something supernatural, and it’s the former victims of the Grabber call that have died. The film plays up the scare factor of these phone calls, perhaps because the test audience wasn’t scared enough, but the ghosts are trickier than the ghosts: every kid who’s been abducted in the past gives Finny advice on how to escape the clutches of the Puller. .

What follows is a Mulan-esque second act where I guarantee you’ll root for Finny like you root for a dark horse sports team with an unexpected wide W.

If you’re addicted to serial killers, finish the king, are a fan of Stranger Things, or just miss watching the kids conquer Agro Rock – do yourself a favor and treat yourself to a Black Phone watch. Come for the thrills and excitement, but stay for the awesome feedback vibe. Or: come shirtless Hawke, and when he starts to feel a little weird, expect a surprisingly upbeat neutral story and a wonderfully satisfying resolution.

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