Perfect child characters and actors!
Besides Finney, little Gwen is an absolutely amazing character. She is Finney’s little sister, and they live with their alcoholic father. Gwen is very straightforward and has a very umm colorful language (yeah, she swears – a lot and often!). Finney, on the other hand, is quieter and doesn’t easily get angry.
That’s why it’s also Gwen who – despite her small size – jumps on anyone who tries to mess with her. Or her brother.
Gwen (or “Gwenny”) is played by Madeleine McGraw, who is just magical in this role. When the film critics tend to chuckle during a screening, you know it’s working. And Madelaine McGraw as Gwen is definitely working! If Madeleine McGraw seems familiar, then it might be from Pacific Rome: Uprising or the sci-fi thriller The Mandela Effect.
Gwen also has some abilities that are not very popular with their father. Especially since he believes they ended up killing his beloved wife, Finney and Gwen’s mom.
I jumped in my seat several times!
Finney also seems to have inherited some of his mom’s abilities. That’s how he is able to connect with the previous victims of the child serial killer while captured. This is done via an old black phone (hence the title) that isn’t connected. The serial killer enjoys keeping his victims captured for a while before he brutally murders them.
Ethan Hawke plays the serial killer “The Grabber”. He is (of course, one is tempted to say) absolutely amazing as this deeply sadistic serial killer. Just like in Moon KnightEthan Hawke is really good at playing a villain that is quite tormented.
Between watching The Grabber do his brutal “thing” and witnessing the victims helping Finney, there are plenty of opportunities for horror. I jumped in my seat several times during the screening of this movie. Something that happens increasingly rarely! At one point I had just managed to get myself sitting upright again and then BAM! another scare.
It was amazing!
Especially because it’s not just jumpscare upon jumpscare. On the contrary. It’s the constantly creeping ugliness of it all and then in between these already grim moments, you get a few extremely well-timed shocks to the system.