31 Days of Horror: The Final Countdown

This post contains Amazon Affiliate links. I am an Amazon Affiliate and will receive earnings on any purchases made through those links. I appreciate your support and hope you enjoy the article on the 31 Days of Horror.

We’re back this week with the next seven movies in this year’s 31 Days of Horror. This is the third iteration of the 31 Days of Horror; you can find the one chock full of classics here. As for this year, we have classics, newbies and deeper cuts peppered in here and there. You can check out the first week here, the second week here and the third week here if you see a movie you missed on the calendar below.

Now let’s finish this thing with the final ten days of October–eh hem, I mean horror.

October 22nd: Alice Sweet Alice (1976)

Alice, Sweet Alice (1976) | MUBI

Whether you have seen this film or not, one can agree that this film has one of the creepiest masks of all time. Alice Sweet Alice is an underrated gem that tackles head on Catholic thought and the effect of sin–not to mention it’s a great slasher film as well. On the day of her first communion, sweet Karen is strangled to death and a string of murders break out with her jealous sister Alice as a suspect. From then on, a strange timeline of events occurs. Inspired by Don’t Look Now and Hitchcock, Alice Sweet Alice has plenty of twists and turns throughout its runtime while being surreal to the eye at the same time.

For food, I did a lot of digging as to what is served at a first communion and such. Turns out, ham is one of the top things, so let’s make it ultra-tasty with these Baked Ham and Cheese Sliders that keep things handheld and also incorporated the bread aspect of communion. Next comes the wine, and while you can sip on a nice glass of red wine during this film, jazz things up a bit with this red wine cocktail the 1870 Sour. If you still want some grape juice but the non-boozy kind, craft up this Grape Lime Rickey Mocktail. For a double feature for this film, why not try some more Argento with Deep Red?

Add Alice Sweet Alice to your physical collection or you can rent it on Amazon Video. Check out this creepy baby doll sticker here on Redbubble.

October 23rd: The VVitch (2015)

Robert Eggers on The Witch - Projected Figures

Before The Lighthouse, Robert Eggers created one of the most iconic horror films from the 21st century. The VVitch is a beautiful film as much as it is a suspenseful one. Arthouse horror meets a colonial period piece, in which the eldest sister in a Puritan family is blamed for the youngest sibling’s disappearance. Hysteria breaks out amongst the family, and it leads to dire consequences as their greatest fears manifest once spoken. This one is a slow burn, but the ending rewards us with a great payoff. You also will never fear a goat more.

This film caused me to deep dive into colonial times and try to find recipes. While majority were either basic or disgusting, I dug out a few that will help us live deliciously. First off, party like a revolutionary with this Philadelphia Fish House Punch. If this doesn’t tickle your taste buds, try out something new and follow this Mom’s Homemade Apple Cider to make some cider for this film and beyond. I went for something sweet and crowd pleasing with these Colonial American Molasses Cookies–because who can resist cookies?

You can rent The Witch on Amazon Video or have it as an arthouse gem on your shelf by purchasing it here. You can also check out the design I made around this film on Redbubble.

October 24th: A Classic Horror Story (2021)

Watch A Classic Horror Story | Netflix Official Site

If you would’ve told me a decade ago that Netflix would release its own Giallo-style film, I wouldn’t have believed you. However, they gave us A Classic Horror Story in 2021. A fusion of genres and a wicked good time, A Classic Horror Story is a must watch if you’re in the mood for something more brutal. Strangers getting stranded in the woods as they fight for survival–a very basic premise that we’ve seen time and time again. However, we’re in Southern Italy this time. There’s not much more I can say, it is full of tropes and homages that it will feel familiar and new at the same time. The perfect kind of watch for spooky season.

I got way too into the Italy setting for this film which has led to some of the tastiest pairs yet. For our snacks, we had to get some variety up in here. Therefore, follow this Crostini 8 Ways recipe and have a display of colors. Pair it with a refreshing Limoncello Lemon Drop or if you want to relax the zero-proof way, try out this Italian Strawberry Basil Shrub–shrubs are the best. As for a double feature, go ahead and check out Haunt to see tropes subverted in a different way. It’s gonna be a spooky night!

Check out A Classic Horror Story on Netflix. You can check out my very simple-but-cool design on Redbubble.

October 25th: Train to Busan (2016)

Train to Busan (2016) - IMDb

Ready to watch one of the best zombie flicks of all time? Train to Busan is a harrowing, intense and beautiful experience that took the world by storm eight years ago. South Korea has been attacked by a viral outbreak and have established a Safe Zone in Busan. When passengers try to take a bullet train to this safe zone, an outbreak occurs on the train itself, leaving them trapped in a dire situation. This film will grab onto you and not let go during its runtime–probably cause a few tears to shed as well.

From Italy to South Korea, we have a complete change of culinary scene. For the drink, I found this Makgeolli Old Fashioned which can add a nice bitterness to the semi-sweet rice wine. If we are looking for something a bit sweeter and fall-like on the booze area, look for Kuk Soon Dang’s Babamba (Chestnut) or Jolly Pong makgeollis in your local Asian grocery store. Pick up Milkis Drinks while you’re there or order them off Amazon–they’re a great non-alcoholic choice for viewing. As for the snack, I was recently introduced to Korean Cheesy Corn and it is simple but game changing. Try it out immediately. For the double feature, I have to recommend another stellar South Korean horror, The Wailing–just make sure that you hydrate properly as I’ve sent you on a pathway of tears and sadness.

You can rent Train to Busan on Amazon Video or have it proudly on display on your shelf by buying it physically here. I designed a spoiler free design on Redbubble.

October 26th: Werewolves Within (2021)

Werewolves Within' Review: Small-Town Chaos - The New York Times

Usually, I am not one for video game adaptations, but this one truly is a treat. This film was one of my favorite releases during the pandemic and is worth a regular spot in your Halloween rotation. A newly hired forest ranger and postal worker get snowed in with the residents of a small town who are being terrorized and attacked by a vicious beast–a presumed werewolf to be specific. It’s a romp with a touch of whodunit that is simply irresistible. It also might have you side eyeing your neighbors if you happen to live in a town with a similar vibe as this one.

This film does take place in a snow-covered winter horror land, so it’s not just you that’s feeling cold. Warm up with these tasty hot drinks. While I am not the hugest hot toddy fan, this Fire Cider Toddy sounded oh-so-intriguing. If we’re not fancying that, opt out for a Hot Buttered Pineapple Mocktail which can easily be made boozy with a touch of rum. As for food, it seems like every small town has a bar that has surprisingly good food. Therefore, let’s class the pub fare with these Gooey Manchego Cheese Fritters. I want these at every bar ever.

You can rent Werewolves Within on Amazon Video or share it with your friends with a Blu-Ray they may never return by purchasing it here. I did a fun little design for this one which you can check out on Redbubble.

October 27th: The Black Phone (2022)

The Black Phone' Review: The Dead Have Your Number - The New York Times

I’m sure this has been on your radar this year. This was a killer psychological horror-thriller that brought us spooky season three months early. Ethan Hawke kills it (and others) in this film, solidifying that him and Scott Derrickson equals gold. The Black Phone is a slow, vintage feeling burn that has outstanding performances with a brief look into a psyche of a serial killer. You can read my in-depth post over this movie here if you want more details, but I think it’s best to go into this film not knowing what to expect.

We’re in the seventies, baby. They year is 1978, and disco has taken the world by storm. Therefore, we have to celebrate the birth of the Harvey Wallbanger, a blend of OJ and Galliano to make a creamsicle goodie. If you’re wanting even more of a throwback, you can opt out of the alcohol and make an American classic: an Orange Julius. On top of everything, everything ‘Hawaii’ (more Hawaiian pizza rather than actual Hawaii) was popular during this time. So, go retro with your snack choice with this Hawaiian Cheese Bread. The double feature for this one is another Derrickson/Hawke collab, Sinister.

You can rent The Black Phone on Amazon Video or shelve it next to your other horror films using this link. I think this design made itself.

October 28th: The Lost Boys (1987)

The Lost Boys' Coming Back to the Big Screen With New Movie Starring 'Quiet  Place' and 'It' Actors! - Bloody Disgusting

SAY HELLO TO THE NIGHT. LOST IN THE SHAAAADOWS. This incredible movie and its soundtrack turn 35 this year. This definitely is my favorite vampire flick and is a must watch–Kiefer Sutherland, Jami Gertz and Jason Patric are snacks in this film. A single mom moves to Santa Carla, California with her two sons. The town happens to be the murder capital of the world with plenty of people missing or dead. The reason? All the damn vampires. It’s a fun time with a sexy shirtless sax man. Who could ask for more?

The Lost Boys reminds of two things: Chinese food and California. What’s the fusion of those two things? Obviously, the Cheesecake Factory classic, Avocado Egg Rolls. They’re big enough to not think you’re eating worms or maggots. Pair that with an on-theme cocktail appropriately named The Bloody Vampire. You don’t need to bite into a bald man’s head to get that kind of blood. If you prefer no spice in your blood, cut the alcohol and indulge in the Vampire’s Kiss Mocktail. The double feature for this one is so cool, Brewster. Indulge in the original Fright Night to add to the 80s flair or go for the remake for a fun modern twist.

You can rent The Lost Boys on Amazon Video or buy it on Amazon so you can look at the sexy vampires any time you want to. Have your own carton of maggots with this design on Redbubble.

October 29th: Trick ‘r’ Treat

In Praise of Trick 'r Treat, the Ultimate "Halloween Night" Movie - Paste

This. This film is the ideal Halloween movie and I stand by that. An anthology horror tale meets a comic book tone laced with camp and comedy. All the tales intertwine with each other and blossoms into this fun twist on Halloween traditions. Not to mention, it introduces one of the most adorable horror villains, Sam. All you gotta do is follow the rules to avoid his bloody wrath. Simple enough, but a colorful cast of characters seem to make things a little difficult for Sam to catch up. I could watch this film over and over during October, so therefore it is an annual tradition of mine.

As far as snacks and drinks go, we have to let the Halloween flag fly. I found a spooky cocktail complete with theatrics known as The Witch’s Heart. Purple, spooky and bubbling with delight. If we are craving the sweeter style of life, I also found this lovely Pumpkin Milkshake. Since this film is a grab-bag of spooky delight, snack on this Sweet and Salty Halloween Snack Mix. As far as fun films suited for spooky season go, my double feature for this film is a guilty pleasure for many, and that is the 2001 film Thirteen Ghosts. The ending of this film is very bleh, but Matthew Lillard is a yes in my book.

Rent Trick ‘r’ Treat on Amazon Video or get it physically following the link here. I watched it as a bought Blockbuster exclusive back in the day–the true straight-to-DVD experience. Check out the design I made on Redbubble and always remember to check your candy.

October 30th: Ouija: Origin of Evil (2016)

Ouija: Origin of Evil' review

There are times that sequels are miles better than the original. This is one of those times. If you haven’t seen Ouija: Origin of Evil based on the first film, I don’t blame you. Ouija is a very bad movie. However, this film is one of the best PG-13 horrors out there. Leave it to Mike Flanagan to make a great film from the ashes of a failed one. A 1960s period piece meets a possession film sponsored by Hasbro themselves. That’s the most generic I can describe it, but it truly is a spooky treat you should indulge in.

If we’re going back to the 60’s, we’re doing it right. A very popular cocktail got its rise to fame during this decade, and that is the decedent Sidecar. You can obtain a non-alcoholic version by following this Virgin Sidecar recipe. Cheeseballs also rose to fame too, but the grandpappy of cheeseballs will add the spice that will meet what this film brings. That is the classic Pimento Cheese Spread, which is versatile and makes great leftovers. I praise Flanagan at any chance I can get, so the double feature has to be Hush, which is a great, smart slasher film.

Rent Ouija: Origin of Evil on Amazon Video or buy it physically using this link. If you want to mess around with one yourself (you could never convince me to), you can get your own here but be very careful and look into it beforehand. I did another peekaboo design for this one, look closely.

October 31st: Halloween

Halloween' 1978: The Times Finally Reviews a Horror Classic - The New York  Times

You had to see this coming, whether or not you paid attention to the calendar. John Carpenter’s Halloween is a tried and true masterpiece that has served influence for hundreds of horror films, so it is always a good call to re-watch it come Halloween time. What’s not a better time than actual Halloween night? It’s the tale of Michael Myers that feels even fresher than before with its new sequel that came out only a week ago, so the time is better than ever to revisit the original!

The obvious double feature is a quadruple feature with the 2018 Halloween, Halloween Kills and Halloween Ends following up the classic (although you can skip the last one if you’d like). This is a night to go all out, but sometimes you want a quieter night in, so let’s pair this up with some Michael Myers Jell-O Shots to add to some booze to your snacks. A mocktail for the night is the Cereal Killer (minus the Cognac) or plus the Cognac if we want another cocktail for the night. To up the comfort and the tasty treats, snack on some adorable Ghost Pizza Bagels. Be sure to toast to Michael all dressed up in his ghost costume.

I went surprisingly cute with this design and recreated him all dressed up. You can rent Halloween on Amazon Video or have it at the ready every Halloween by owning it physically.


Conclusion

So that wraps up this October! Everyone, have a safe and spooky Halloween and watch as many horror movies as you can! I’m going to be taking the holiday weekend off but expect me to be back the Friday after Halloween. Scroll on back up if you want to see about other films that you might have missed or jump back to Week One if you want to see what’s going on with last year’s 31 Days of Horror. It was a great time, thank you for your support and keep things spooky, spelunkers.

Anyways, thanks for spelunking this void with me. If you’re new to the Void of Celluloid, welcome. Feel free to spelunk some other voids while you’re here and follow me on other platforms by clicking the buttons below. We post regularly and stay up to date about what’s going on in horror today, reflect on what went on yesterday, and plan for a better, horror filled tomorrow. See ya next time.

31 Days of Horror ’22: Week Two

This post contains Amazon Affiliate links. I am an Amazon Affiliate and will receive earnings on any purchases made through those links. I appreciate your support and hope you enjoy the article.

We’re back this week with the next seven movies in this year’s 31 Days of Horror. This is the second iteration of the 31 Days of Horror; you can find the one chock full of classics here. As for this year, we have classics, newbies and deeper cuts peppered in here and there. You can check out the first week here if you see a movie you missed on the calendar below.

There will be two more posts after this one: Week 3 and The Final Ten Days. Now that that’s established, let’s go ahead with days 8-14.

October 8th: The Funhouse (1981)

The Funhouse (1981) [31 Days of Gore] – The Goug' Blog

There is something cheesy and fun about this next film. The Funhouse from Tobe Hooper has quite a cult following and holds up as a creepy, odd film from the 80s. This is the film that put Hooper more prominently on Spielberg’s radar for Poltergeist, so you know it has to be good. Creepy clown like figures, terrifying animatronics and one helluva monster makes this a romp that one won’t forget. This definitely a sleeper hit from the slasher surge.

Of course, we have to lean in on the circus theme. Clowns always scare me, so I had to have my liquid courage based around the freaky guys. Therefore, go with the Clown Car Cocktail or if you are brave enough, go with the non-alcoholic Cranberry Clown Mocktail. Now, everyone loves a good snack mix. This one is on theme and does contain some polarizing things, so make adjustments as necessary. This Circus Snack Mix has the cherished (or dreaded) Circus Peanuts and other fun bits and bobs. In order to make this an epic double feature, pair this film with the wacky Killer Klowns from Outer Space.

Rent The Funhouse here on Amazon Video or own it in its newly 4K remastered version here. I made a design for this one as well featuring the creature itself, which you can check out here on Redbubble.

October 9th: Hereditary (2018)

Review: In 'Hereditary,' the Horror Is Slow-Cooked and Homemade - The New  York Times

Yes, this movie. It’s a slow burn, but good god does it pay off. I am an Ari Aster fan here and have rewatched both this and Midsommar multiple times whenever I’m in a mood to get disturbed. Hereditary is an intense film that deals with possession in multiple versions. That’s about all I can say without giving anything away, because if you haven’t seen this film, it will impact you the best if you go in blind. It’s a slow burn but stick with it as the last 15 minutes are some of the most intense minutes in film history.

For this one, I have an interesting cocktail that is directly inspired by the film: the Hail Paimon Cocktail. If the mixture of pomegranate and peanut butter into a shooter doesn’t sound like your style, maybe just stick with the peanut butter with this non-alcoholic Peanut Butter Milkshake that you COULD make alcoholic by adding a bit of Skrewball. Now, to honor Charlie, make these Homemade Devil Cremes and make sure NOT to put nuts in them.

You can rent Hereditary on Amazon Video and you need to add it to your physical collection ASAP if you want some brownie points with the cool indie kids. Buy it here. As for the design? I leaned way more on the inside joke side as it is a heavy supplied topic on Redbubble–check it out here.

October 10th: Green Room (2015)

Green Room (2015) - IMDb

This film is fantastic and seems to be forgotten. Brutal as can be, Green Room leans more like a thriller than a horror if you subtract the gore and violence. A punk band have a gig at a bar in the middle-of-nowhere Oregon (my state!). Little did they realize that the bar is a Neo-Nazi bar and the band they’re opening for falls swiftly in that genre as well. Deciding to take the gig anyways–to quote Stephen Stills, “a gig is a gig is a gig is a gig,”–they end up having to fight for their lives as the crowd is deadly. It’s an intense one as well as another A24 film.

For the food, we have to go hardcore punk in solidarity for this poor band. Therefore, I’ve gone with the strong but tasty Ankle Breaker Cocktail. Not into the booze? That’s alright, you can still be punk rock with this Molotov Mocktail. To echo the wish of them playing at a normal dive bar rather than this hellhole, we paired it all with these White Castle Copycats–a crowd-pleaser and made to accompany alcohol. Now for this double feature, I’m going a little lighter as I want to honor the late Anton Yelchin that delivers in this role and going with Odd Thomas–a cute but creepy flick.

Rent Green Room on Amazon Video or add it to your now growing A24 physical collection here. I also designed a very simple but very reliable design for this one. Check it out here on Redbubble.

October 11th: Ganja and Hess (1973)

BLACK HISTORY MONTH – GANJA & HESS — Beyond The Void Horror Podcast

Ganja and Hess came to my attention with the release of Clipping’s album There Existed an Addiction to Blood and I’ve been hooked ever since. This film is one of the most famous blaxploitation horror films out there and was released a year after Blacula. Dr. Hess Green gets stabbed with an ancient dagger by his unstable assistant and becomes a vampire. After the assistant goes missing, his wife Ganja Meda goes looking for him and falls in love with Dr. Green–who turns her into a vampire as well. It is a fascinating film with beautiful imagery and luscious symbolism. It was also remade by Spike Lee as Da Sweet Blood of Jesus, but due to critical reception, you’re better off sticking with the classic.

Want a bloodthirst just as mighty as our vampire lovers? Check out this macabre Vampire Vodka with a Syringe of ‘Blood’ which has a fun interactive element that will win over guests in a heartbeat. If you don’t need the heat of alcohol with your blood, try out this Raspberry Mojito Mocktail with the syringe instead. In order to continue your feast of blood, try out this sweet and salty Bloody Popcorn. For a double feature, you’re going to want more Duane Jones in your life. Therefore, pair this with the original Night of the Living Dead.

You can rent Ganja and Hess on Amazon Video or have it adorned on your entertainment center by purchasing it here. Listen to Clipping’s There Existed an Addiction to Blood to get into the spooky mood with some experimental noise rap that has killer bars. I did do a design for this film as well, can’t stop, won’t stop.

October 12th: Jennifer’s Body (2009)

Horror

I know a lot of people who have a soft spot for this film, myself included. Jennifer’s Body is a good time. Filled to the brim with cringy noughties’ humor and a film that has earned some respect among the LGBTQ+ community, it has aged quite well in a modern scope–as long as you don’t take it too seriously. Jennifer comes back from a sacrifice gone wrong and seeks revenge to those who have done her dirty–men primarily. It’s a romp that needs to be revisited if you didn’t like it the first go around.

If Jennifer can, you too can go both ways with Cheese + Chocolate Fondue. In terms of drinks, I had to find the iconic and morbidly named 9/11 Tribute Shooter in which they drink pre sacrifice, so make sure you have one before and after she turns (or as many as you want you wild animal you). I also found a virgin version, but make sure it’s a virgin beforehand. My double feature pick for this film is Ginger Snaps to go back-to-back with sultry, violent femmes.

You can rent Jennifer’s Body here on Amazon Video or add it to your (now-growing, yes?) physical collection here. Check out the design I made on Redbubble for this one.

October 13th: The Birds (1963)

Horror

This film is responsible for most peoples’ irrational fears of birds. One of Hitchcock’s tried and true classics adapted from a Daphne Du Maurier novella. It focuses on Melanie and her small town as they try and survive once the avian species in the area turn murderous. With iconic shots and terrifying tension, don’t sleep on The Birds as it is one of the best horror films of all time. One thing I will mention with this film is to watch it with consideration of what Hitchcock did to Tippi Hedren, more of which you can read about in my article all about Hitchcock.

I had to keep with the ‘bird’ theme when choosing these drinks. Therefore, I went with a Kentucky Bird, which is a variation of the classic tiki cocktail, the “Jungle Bird.” Due to it being a booze forward drink, my mocktail consists of one of the ingredients–pineapple juice. Therefore, indulge in this Pineapple Mocktail if you’re not into the strong stuff. In regards of food, I kept it very retro chic and looked for recipes around the 1960s. There, I came across one of my favorite snacky recipes: Bacon Stuffed Cherry Tomatoes. It’s delicious and bite sized that you’ll think you’re eating like a bird.

Rent The Birds on Amazon Video or flex your classic horror movie muscles by having it adorn your shelf, which you can get here. I made a very chic, very classic design for this film on Redbubble.

October 14th: Don’t Look Now (1973)

Horror

Speaking of Daphne Du Maurier, this film is a must watch if you haven’t seen it yet. A surreal horror nightmare, Don’t Look Now addresses some of the bleakest topics there is out there. Not only that, but it is also a visual masterpiece. Starring Donald Sutherland and Julie Christie, Don’t Look Now reigns as a surreal psychological thriller that stood the test of time gracefully. There’s not much more I can say as going into this film with little information has a huge payoff.

This film will pair nicely with a Little Red Jacket Cocktail, both in feeling and in the literal sense of the red jacket seen several times in the film. As that cocktail contains Jägermeister, I wanted to see if there could be a mocktail that has same spiced taste. Considering Jaeger has 56 herbs and spices, I had to narrow it down to a delicious tasting mocktail that has no name relation to the content of the film: Don’s Virgin Sacrifice. Now, we’re ending the week fairly classic, so why not take it to the 70s with this Classic Cheeseball, perfect for spreading and stress eating the dread away.

You can rent Don’t Look Now on Amazon Video or own it physically by following the link here. Due to the film’s harrowing subject matter, I mashed up two films for the design to poke fun at a trope rather than referencing the movie itself. Check that design out here.

Coming Up Next

So, there’s the second week of the 31 Days of Horror here on The Void of Celluloid. Hopefully this spawned some ideas on what to make for any upcoming Halloween celebrations. For those that like to go hard and celebrate every day like me, go for it–I have given you the tools. We had Week 1, coming up next is Week 3 and The Final Ten Days which will be linked respectively once published.

Anyways, thanks for spelunking this void with me. If you’re new to the Void of Celluloid, welcome. Feel free to spelunk some other voids while you’re here and follow me on other platforms by clicking the buttons below. We post regularly and stay up to date about what’s going on in horror today, reflect on what went on yesterday, and plan for a better, horror filled tomorrow. See ya next time.

The Black Phone: A Thrill to Remember

I know that I’m about two weeks late. Elvis took priority in my weekly viewing first (truly fantastic movie, always been a Baz fan). However, I took the next opportunity to catch The Black Phone and boy what a treat it was. I really did enjoy this film, and it’s continued to get better the more I reflect on it.

This is the fourth horror project of Scott Derrickson that I’ve seen, and it takes second place to The Exorcism of Emily Rose. For those not familiar with Derrickson, he is responsible for the film Sinister which in has held the number one spot until 2021 for the scientifically scariest movie in a study conducted by Broadband Choices UK called the “Science of Scares.” It’s not my personal favorite, but I do tip my hat to a certain scene with a lawnmower, as it is one of the best horror scenes I’ve ever seen. Much like Sinister, The Black Phone has some flaws that pop out to me.

I will be discussing the highs and the lows of the film here, so if you haven’t seen it, go and watch it! I caught it on a value day, but I would pay full price to see it again–so go and watch it or scroll down and face the consequences of getting things mildly spoiled. Now let’s jump into this void of a detailed review.


Let’s get straight to it: Ethan Hawke

The Black Phone (2021) - IMDb

I’m sure you’ve heard by now, but Ethan Hawke is amazing in this film. He is truly a terrifying villain which differs from the heartthrob, sensitive roles I’ve loved him in. He really took the plunge and played a complexly evil man chock full of dysfunction. While all the elements of his character weren’t fully explained in the film, he portrayed who he was in full confidence that even a viewer with zero context of the story can reach a mutual understanding of who he is and what his motivations might be.

Taking place in the late 70s, The Grabber’s targets emulate one similar to John Wayne Gacy–with details being eerily similar that doubles down on the creep factor for familiar viewers. The varied complex emotions that he swings to seamlessly is very similar to the skill portrayed by Toni Collette in the dinner scene from Hereditary. Accompanied with the variety of creepy masks that only adds on to the performance, this movie is worth seeing for just his performance alone.

Brilliant Kid actors: Another It Phenomenon

The Black Phone Movie Showtimes & Tickets | Charlotte, NC

However, it is not just Ethan Hawke that excels. The child actors that play the main characters in this film are beyond brilliant, especially the sister. Mason Thames and Madeleine McGraw are what brings the film to life. They also add quite a lot of heart to the story. Starting out in their abusive household, your heart automatically hurts for these kids as the story goes on. It makes the abduction scene that more intense and heartbreaking, as you know their farewell to each other might be their last.

I give major props to McGraw here for her performance. She’s a convincing psychic and delivers some heartfelt, comedic lines through the film that breaks up the tension a bit. This does not discount Thames’ performance as well as the rest of the younger actors, who are at the center of this horror. The film starts out a bit slow. However this is only for us to get an insight and bond with these two children before they are thrust into the whirlpool that is this movie’s act II and III. We’re approaching a decade now of incredibly strong child actors in horror-based content such as Stranger Things and IT. Boy, do they add brilliance to their stories.

Peak Storytelling: Well Crafted

The scares from this film came from the realism. I meant it by drawing up comparisons to Gacy. Probably the scenes that delivered the most is the abduction scenes and the overall desensitization of the community as it occurs more and more often. The dream sequences and storytelling are top notch, making this seem much like a passion project of Derrickson’s. I also believe that it is aided that this is an adaptation of a novella, meaning there was structure to build off of.

The Black Phone Image Gallery - Preview Scott Derrickson's Horror Return

Not that the two are remotely comparable in regard to story content, but I feel that this tale was told better than Sinister. Derrickson played within his wheelhouse of gritty realism. For example, the scariest pieces of Sinister are the found ‘snuff’ films. This played it out through the film’s entirety. I see the progress only going up from here. If he has Hawke as his De Niro, the only direction is up for the duo.

Uneven Pacing and Plot Holes: The only Complaints

While I mostly want to sing its praises, The Black Phone is not flawless. Because it is an adaptation, the film relies too much on inference. There are a lot of unanswered questions and details that only the source material delves into and reveals. While this might cause the average viewer to pick up the book to find more, majority of film viewers will see these as merely plot holes. However, the questions don’t need to be answered to enjoy the movie and understand the main points.

The Black Phone: release date, cast, trailer and everything we know | What  to Watch

Another issue that can grind people’s gears is the pacing. The pacing is very similar to a typical somber psychological thriller. That being said there are quite a few moments where things seem to lull. However, I had no complaints as some of my favorite horror/thriller movies are slow burns. However, the way that this film was marketed was as a pure horror film. I can confidently say that it is not what it was marketed as. Reminiscent of films such as Zodiac or Se7en, it’s the burn of the chase.

Overall Review of The Black Phone

The Black Phone - PosterSpy

Rating: 8 out of 10.

I definitely recommend this movie and believe it’s more enjoyable once one knows what they’re getting into. It’s an intense thriller that doesn’t let go once it sets off. It’s a solid film from Scott Derrickson that showcases stellar performances. The key reason to watch this film is to get blown away by Ethan Hawke, Mason Thames and Madeline McGraw. They delivered through the whirling hour and 42 minutes. Finally, I think it’s a must see in theaters before it’s gone. If you’re seeing this too late, watch in a pitch-black room–should get the same creepy effects.

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