Ethan Hawke, a crazy murderer

Horror fans, take note: The black telephone is currently ringing in our theaters.

Ethan Hawke, a crazy murderer

Horror fans, take note: The black telephone is currently ringing in our theaters. And you don't want to miss that call.

We've been waiting for this Black Phone (or Black Phone, in its original version) for a long time. First presented in world premiere last September at Fantastic Fest in Austin, Texas, this new offering from Scott Derrickson has finally made us wait longer than expected, its theatrical release being constantly postponed due to the pandemic.

Each passing month helped raise expectations, with horror fans licking their lips in anticipation.

Why ? Because the American filmmaker reconnects there with Ethan Hawke, star of his excellent Sinister, released in 2012. And even if 10 years have passed – and the two plots are as different as they are distinct – the relationship between the two works is undeniable.

This time, we are taken back to the heart of the 1970s, when a murderer terrorizes a quiet suburb of Denver, Colorado. Roaming the streets in his sinister black van, he kidnaps young boys to sequester them in the soundproof basement of his house, where he enjoys tormenting them.

And the black telephone in all this? It is thanks to this obsolete device that the young boy will be able to communicate with the previous victims of his captor who will guide him in his attempts to escape.

An iconic mask

If The Black Phone does not reinvent the genre, it can nevertheless boast of being among its best offerings. That's largely thanks to Ethan Hawke, absolutely brilliant in his perfectly crazy interpretation. It's a safe bet that his mask - designed by none other than the master Tom Savini - will become an icon of horror on its own, like those used in Chills or even Halloween.

The actor is also particularly well surrounded. Young Mason Thames (dazzling in his first film role) succeeds in instilling credibility and determination into the character of a young hero, while Madeleine McGraw steals the show as her younger sister with prescient dreams.

Truly, after a, shall we say, sparse offering in horror this year, The Black Phone feels like a much-needed oasis of thrills and adrenaline.

★★★ 1⁄2

A film by Scott Derrickson

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