After its June 24 release, “The Black Phone,” a horror hit from Universal Pictures and Blumhouse, was already a guaranteed hit with audiences looking for some bloody fun at the movies. According to Forbes, the picture had a strong opening weekend and swiftly surpassed a huge box office milestone, selling over $100 million worth of tickets throughout the world in less than three weeks.
At first glance, the plot seems like your run-of-the-mill horror movie premise about a demented serial killer (Ethan Hawke) and his defenseless, trapped-in-a-dreary-basement victim (newcomer Mason Thames). However, the film’s supernatural element, in which the deceased victims communicate with Thames’s character via the eponymous, seemingly inoperable phone, belies this initial impression.
The Variety review compared it to “Room,” “driven by a top-heavy dose of fanciful horror, with touches of ‘It’ and ‘Stranger Things,'” and “less like a terror-drenched psychological tour de force in the vein of ‘Silence of the Lambs.’ When discussing the acting in the film, The Irish Times singled out Hawke and Thames, saying, “Hawke and Thames respectively give two big performances to enact a compelling cat-and-mouse game, in a film wherein even the supporting characters are richly drawn.”
Shortly after its July 15 theatrical release, the film became available on video-on-demand services. But where can horror fans who didn’t see “The Black Phone” in cinemas or on demand see it at home?
The Black Phone: What’s It All About?
The Black Phone is based on a short tale by the same name by American author Joe Hill, which can be found in his collection 20th Century Ghosts. A young boy, 13, is kidnapped by a man named Al and taken to a chamber in the basement, where he discovers a broken black phone hanging on the wall. After the phone rings, he hears the voices of the kidnapper’s deceased prior victims. The movie stays pretty true to the source material, albeit with more dramatic character and plot development. The Grabber appears to play a significant role in the film, as suggested by the advertisements.
When Finney Shaw and his sister Gwen visit their little Colorado town in 1978, they discover that several posters portraying teenagers their age have disappeared. Finney is kidnapped by a magician on his way home from school one day. The man has a very sinister appearance, and they end up in a dungeon-like basement of an ancient house. Finney discovers a black wall phone that has been shattered, but still rings at night.
Before long, Finney learns that the phone allows him to communicate with the deceased bodies of Grabber’s previous victims (most likely killed by Grabber). Finney’s kidnapper continuously beats against these dead children’s attempts to help him escape. We can’t wait to find out what happens in The Black Phone, which is an escape thriller with spooky and slasher undertones.
You Can Watch the Black Phone Right Now on Peacock
A Bloody Disgusting report said that on August 16th, DVDs and Blu-rays of “The Black Phone” would be available for purchase and viewing by horror fans. It can also be purchased digitally, but if you don’t feel like shelling out the cash to rent the chills, you can see it right now on Peacock.
As was said above, the film didn’t make its debut in theatres until the end of June. So, why did it premiere on so many home video formats so quickly? One reason is the film’s exceptional return on investment, especially for a non-franchise horror title, as it has already surpassed $100 million at the box office on a budget of about $16 to $18 million.
Studio scheduling constraints may also be a role in the title’s shift to home markets. Apparently, “The Black Phone” wasn’t Universal’s only planned summer blockbuster. To make place for the massive splash that was expected to occur from Jordan Peele’s highly anticipated new sci-fi entry, “Nope,” “The Black Phone” was wisely removed from theatres on July 22.
The Black Phone Where to Watch
According to the movie’s website, you’ll be able to stream it on Peacock starting on August 12. A Peacock Premium (with advertisements) or Premium Plus (without ads) subscription is required to access the content.
As part of their agreement, Universal Filmed Entertainment Group and Peacock will make all of its titles (including “The Black Phone”) available on the platform 45 days after they hit theatres. Unfortunately, this means that the movie won’t be available on streaming services like Netflix or HBO Max.