The first look at director Scott Derrickson’s new Blumhouse horror film The Black Phone starring Ethan Hawke debuted at CinemaCon. Derrickson rose through the ranks as an indie horror director, previously working with Hawke in 2012’s Sinister. Shortly after that, Derrickson was tapped by Marvel Studios to direct Doctor Strange, introducing the Sorcerer Supreme to the MCU and audiences everywhere. Derrickson later dropped out of the sequel, Doctor Strange: In the Multiverse of Madness, due to creative differences, with director Sam Raimi picking up the reins.
New footage was released for director Scott Derrickson’s new horror film The Black Phone, which stars Sinister’s Ethan Hawke as the main villain
The Black Phone, written by Derrickson and C. Robert Cargill, is based on a short story by author Joe Hill. The story centers around a boy who is kidnapped and taken to a mysterious, blood-stained cellar, where a disconnected black phone rings at night with calls from children who have been murdered there. The Black Phone short story was published in 2007 and the film was greenlit last year with a cast that includes Hawke, Jeremy Davies, James Ransone and Mason Thames. Screen Rant was in attendance at CinemaCon and got a look at the presentation and footage/trailer for The Black Phone, which seems to have rattled a lot of cages. Many attendees are calling the trailer itself the scariest they’ve ever seen, with others calling it “creepy” and “traumatizing.” In the film, Ethan Hawke plays the villain, which is something he’s not accustomed to, telling the CinemaCon attendees, “I have a no bad guy policy as an actor, but I broke it to work with Scott again.” The high-concept horror film is a Blumhouse production, which has spawned many a franchise in the past. Read the CinemaCon trailer description below:
“A boy named Finney and girl talk about a missing kid and see flyers around town. Finney walks home but meets Ethan Hawke’s character in a parking lot. Hawke stumbles and drops a box of magic stuff. He asks Finney, “Would you like to see a magic trick?” Cut to studio logos, then we see a search party and a school assembly that reveals Finney is missing. Finney is seen inside the basement of Hawke’s home, with a bed and a phone on the wall. Finney says, “I’ll scream. I’ll scratch your face.” Hawke responds, “What, this face?” and points at his demon-like mask. Next scene shows Finny standing in the basement when the phone rings. Finney answers. Voice on the other end says, “Don’t hang up.” Finney asks, “Who are you?” Then we see the ghost of the boy who’s speaking on the other end. Various victims from the past use the phone to help Finny escape, giving him a combination to a lock, and so forth. Finney escapes the room and passes Hawke, who’s sleeping in the room. Hawke wakes up and attacks Finney. …Another kid rides his bicycle and sees the ghosts of past victims in the road.”
While Hawke may have broken his villain rule for The Black Phone, it appears to have become a habit as he is also taking on the villain role in the Disney+ Marvel series, Moon Knight, starring Oscar Isaac. The actor also appears in director Antoine Fuqua’s next film, The Guilty, starring Jake Gyllenhaal, as well as Robert Egger’s The Northman and Rian Johnson’s Knives-Out 2. Derrickson, meanwhile, is slated to take on another project with C. Robert Cargill with a Bermuda Triangle thriller entitled Bermuda starring Chris Evans, and a long-awaited sequel to 1986’s Labyrinth.
Derrickson’s Sinister is often lauded for its propensity to terrify, and many films have brought the scares in the last few decades, but the reactions to The Black Phone‘s trailer and footage seem to indicate that there’s more to come. While The Conjuring universe continues to drum up scares, Blumhouse continues to roll out new franchises and spinoffs that have pushed the horror genre to new heights. From Halloween to Insidious to Get Out and Us, Blumhouse has made some gems (and some forgettable schlock) along the way, and they show no sign of slowing down. With The Black Phone, it seems like Derrickson is going back to his indie roots after dipping his toe in the big-budget MCU world and bringing some friends along the way, seemingly making a passionate return to the genre he loves.
The Black Phone is currently slated to be released on January 28th, 2022.
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