The Black Phone (2022) is a supernatural horror film directed by Scott Derrickson who is familiar for his previous work like Sinister (2012) and Deliver Us from Evil (2014). I really enjoyed The Black Phone for its new age concept and satisfying ending.
The Black Phone plot story and ending explanation
* * * Spoiler Alert – If you haven’t seen the movie yet, turn back now! * * *
The movie starts in Denver CO in 1978. Kids and their parents have come for a baseball game.
Finney is a young boy. He is pitching on the ground. His sister Gwen is chewing him on. Two of Finney’s pitches result in strikes. But on the third ball, Bruce hits and scores a home run. For this Finney’s team lost the match. After the match, Bruce appreciates Finney that he has a great arm for bowling.
Later on, Bruce is seen riding his bike throughout town. Along the way, other schoolgirls welcomed him. A black van then arrives in front of Bruce. He comes to an abrupt halt.
Finney and Gwen live with their abusive alcoholic father. Their mother committed suicide and their father still mourning the loss. He does not like any kind of sound. So, Finney & Gwen has to be careful about every little sound.
The sibling starts walking to school the next day. They notice a school bully Moose is taunting another kid Robin. To everyone’s surprise, Robin is turned skilled at fighting. He dominates Moose and beats his face to a bloody pulp very badly.
Finney and Gwen keep walking. Here she mentions a strange local kidnapper known as “The Grabber”. This guy kidnapped several kids from the town and no trace was found for them. Very soon they learned that Bruce has gone missing and everyone suspects that he is taken by “The Grabber”.
At school, Finney is bullied by three boys. He runs to the bathroom and they also chase him. They almost got him to beat but at that time Robin enters. Robin intimidates the bullies into staying away from Finney. Robin exhorts Finney to defend himself as well.
Two detectives visit the school in the interim and speak with Gwen in the principal’s office. Gwen alleges that she has had dreams about the kidnapped children who are still missing. But she is unable to articulate the significance of these dreams.
The following morning, Finney awakens to find his father abusing Gwen. Because of the police officers who came to his place of employment and questioned him about Gwen’s dreams and their connection to Bruce’s disappearance. Her father abuses Gwen more severely after she breaks his wine bottle. Gwen is told to claim that her dreams are unreal by him. Similar dreams that her mother experienced were thought to be premonitions.
Later, Robin is zipping around the neighborhood on his bike. When he turns the corner, The Grabber is standing there with black balloons, ready to greet him. He has also vanished.
The neighborhood’s parents are told of Robin’s absence. Then Finney is pursued by the school bullies, who begin to beat him. Gwen, though, stands up for him by hitting one bully in the head with a rock. He had heavy bleeding as a result. While the other two bullies continue to abuse Finney, Gwen receives a kick to the face. Later on, in class, Finney’s scientific partner is assigned to be his crush, Donna. She expresses remorse for Finney being assaulted.
While walking home, Finney breaks off from Gwen. He comes across the van of The Grabber. In his act, he spills his groceries like a typical man. Finney, however, notices the dark balloons. Finney is attacked by The Grabber, who uses chemical spray to put him to sleep. He is then placed inside the van.
Soon after Finney goes away, Gwen and other students at the school find out.
Finney is taken to The Grabber’s cellar where he is held captive.
There is only one window, so if he yells, no one will be able to hear him. While mocking Finney, The Grabber assures him that he is “unique.”
A disconnected black phone is mounted on the wall. The Grabber asserts to have previously heard ringing.
Later, Finney answers the ringing phone. He hears Bruce’s voice, who describes Finney’s baseball arm as “mint” after noticing it. Bruce, however, is unable to recall his own name or his previous activities. Finney receives advice from Bruce regarding a spot on the floor where he can lift a tile and start excavating. Finney digs and flushes the dirt down the toilet all day long.
In a dream, Gwen witnesses a flashback to Bruce’s early years and the emergence of his baseball passion.
In his conversation with Gwen, Mr. Blake mentions how Gwen’s mother would mention having nightmares that are visions. He also believes that she killed herself as a result of this. He, therefore, wants to save Gwen from making the same mistake.
Finney is given eggs and a Sprite by the Grabber, who assures him that the food is hygienic. In addition, he leaves the door unlocked, but Finney approaches it. A local paperboy named Billy may be heard on the other end of the phone’s repeated ringing.
Finney’s spirit appears next to him as they converse. He had cuts on his face from The Grabber. Billy warns Finney that The Grabber will be waiting upstairs for him with a knife and that the unlocked door is a trap.
Billy refers to a cable that was left in a wall crack. The wire is slid up to the window bars while Finney grabs a rolled-up mat and makes an attempt to get out. But the bars are yanked off by his weight. He is unable to stand back up as a result.
Billy’s time as a paperboy is depicted in a further flashback. Before The Grabber caught him, he was doing deliveries with his dog.
The investigators approach Max while they are walking around the neighborhood. He is looking into the missing children on his own. He admits to the cops that he is temporarily residing with his brother.
As she searches for her brother, Gwen tries to glean whatever information she can from her dreams.
Finney is asked his name by the Grabber. But he makes it up. Finney receives a newspaper from the Grabber that reports on his disappearance.
After he hangs up, the phone rings once more, and Finney picks up to talk to Griffin. Griffin’s spirit materializes next to Finney and shares with him a lock combination that he had noted down. This is a portion of the “Naughty Boy” game that The Grabber enjoys playing with his victims.
Finney locates the figures. Griffin, however, can’t recall the exact combination. Finney creeps upstairs and tries every possible combination till he unlocks the door when The Grabber is sound asleep. Unfortunately, Samson, The Grabber’s dog, barks at the sound of the unlocking, rousing The Grabber from his sleep. Finney flees the house, but The Grabber captures him just as he is about to cross the street. The Grabber threatens to kill Finney there and then if he makes a disturbance when neighbors switch on their lights. Before taking Finney back, he waits until the lights are turned off.
Later, the phone rings once again. This time, Vance Hopper, a local punk, can be heard speaking to Finney. In a flashback, Vance is seen fighting with two children at an arcade after one of them messed with his high score. He was promptly taken into custody.
In the flashback, Gwen is seen standing next to Vance as he converses with Finney on the police radio. Finney, however, is unable to hear Gwen appealing to him. They arrive at a residence. Gwen makes an effort to recall the number. Later, when she searches for the house on her bike through the neighborhood, she is startled by the ghosts of The Grabber’s victims.
Following Vance’s guidance, Finney locates a freezer in a hidden area behind a wall. Finney exerts all of his force against the door but to no result. He starts to sob as he realizes he might pass away there.
He picks up the phone when it rings once more. Robin answers and recalls his own life as well as Finney’s. He claims that he has always been Finney’s friend. And so right now is when he really needs to defend himself. Robin instructs Finney to practice using the phone as a weapon and to stuff dirt into the receiver to give it weight.
Gwen gets in touch with the detectives and goes to the address she saw in her nightmares with them. As this is happening, Max deduces that the missing children are in the residence he is living in. because he is the brother of The Grabber.
When he enters the basement, he is surprised to see Finney there. The Grabber kills Max with an ax to the skull as he tries to assist. He pursues Finney, but the boy has made use of all the ghost kids’ assistance available to him. By using the cord to trip The Grabber and dump him into the hole, he covers the hole he dug with a rug. After it strikes the window’s bars, he breaks his ankle.
The phone then rings once more as Finney starts sobbing into The Grabber. The Grabber is killed after Finney makes him hear the voices of his victims mocking him for dying. To divert Samson, he takes a steak out of the freezer and hands it to him.
The house is empty when the investigators examine it, but one of them discovers the basement. The other five lads’ deaths are discovered buried in the ground by the detectives instead of Finney. Across the street is the home where Finney was being detained. Gwen notices him and runs to her brother as he opens the door and steps outside into the sunshine. The kids are taken care of by the authorities, and their father, who apologizes to both of them for how he treated them, picks them up.
Finney is more assured than ever when she goes back to school. The bullies no longer dare to bother him, and the other kids regard him as a legend for murdering The Grabber. When he rejoins Donna in science class, he requests that she refer to him as Finn.
The phone is dead. And it’s ringing.
Director Scott Derrickson returns to his terror roots and partners again with the foremost brand in the genre, Blumhouse, with a new horror thriller.
Finney Shaw, a shy but clever 13-year-old boy, is abducted by a sadistic killer 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 set on making sure that what happened to them doesn’t happen to Finney.
Starring four-time Oscar® nominee Ethan Hawke in the most terrifying role of his career and introducing Mason Thames in his first ever film role, The Black Phone is produced, directed, and co-written by Scott Derrickson, the writer-director of Sinister, The Exorcism of Emily Rose and Marvel’s Doctor Strange.
The film’s screenplay is by Derrickson & C. Robert Cargill (Doctor Strange, Sinister franchise), based on the award-winning short story by Joe Hill from his New York Times bestseller 20th Century Ghosts. The film is produced by Derrickson & Cargill’s Crooked Highway and presented by Universal and Blumhouse. Jason Blum, Scott Derrickson and C. Robert Cargill are producers on the film, which is executive produced by Ryan Turek and Christopher H. Warner.
Original Title: The Black Phone
Other Titles: O Telefone Preto (Brazil), Black Phone (France)
Genre: Supernatural Horror
Runtime: 1hr 43min
Original Language: English
Directed by Scott Derrickson
Written by Joe Hill
Tagline: Never Talk to Strangers.
Release date: June 24, 2022 (USA)
Origin Country: United States
Filming locations: Wilmington, North Carolina
Cast of Characters
|Actor/Actress Name||Characters Name|
|Ethan Hawke||The Grabber|