What You Need To Know:

THE BLACK PHONE is a supernatural horror thriller. Finney is a young teenager who’s being bullied by three boys. When his protector, a tough teenage boy, is kidnapped by the area’s creepy serial killer, Finney is no longer protected. Then, Finney himself is kidnapped by the man, a creepy guy wearing a tap hat and a scary mask. While his younger sister prays to Jesus and receives prescient dreams, the killer holds Finney in his killer’s basement. Finney starts receiving calls on the basement’s disconnected wall phone from the killer’s previous victims. They give Finney advice on how to escape.

THE BLACK PHONE is suspenseful and well-crafted. The performances are very good, and the ending is satisfying, though intense. However, the movie has a mixed pagan worldview. Sadly, for example, it’s the advice the young hero gets from the dead boys that saves the day. That said, the sister’s prayers to Jesus are also effective in the end, though to a lesser extent. THE BLACK PHONE has some extreme, bloody violence as well as lots of strong foul language. Ultimately, it’s too occult.


(PaPa, OO, H, CC, BB, LLL, VVV, N, A, DD, M):

Dominant Worldview and Other Worldview Content/Elements:
Strong mixed worldview with an occult premise with a light humanist twist where kidnapped teenage boy gets advice on how to free himself and stop his scary kidnapper and would-be killer from the dead boys that the killer has murdered already, and the final advice that helps him the most is from the boy’s dead friend who tells him he has to be strong and assert himself and get over his pacifist nature, plus some overt Christian, moral, biblical elements where boy’s younger sister has prescient dreams but prays overtly multiple times to Jesus while laying out a New Testament, a crucifix and a rosary with a crucifix at the end of it and, though she loses faith in Jesus at one point, she later apologizes to Jesus when she gets another dream and starts praying again (it’s clear she thinks the dreams are from Jesus or God, though the theology behind her thinking may be too mystical, but she’s very heroic)

Foul Language:
About 28 obscenities (half or more are “f” words), one Jesus profanity, one GD profanity

Some very strong and strong scary violence such as a character gets a hatchet buried in the top of his head, and the killer is shown with a bloody face from the blow, boy has a vision of another boy with bloody wounds on his body, boy has a vision of two other boys with bloody wounds on their faces, two teenage boys fight, and one boy gets the other boy (a bully) on the ground and punches him repeatedly in the face until he’s all bloody, three boys gang up on teenager hero and knock him down and kick him, hero’s younger sister hits one boy on the head with a rock and his head starts bleeding but one of the other boys kicks her in the face, scary killer is shown grabbing and drugging his kidnap victims three times, character is strangled after being hit hard, scary killer and a boy fight, killer often wears a scary mask, menacing dog barks ferociously at teenage hero

No depicted or implied sex, but scary killer kidnaps only boys and sometimes acts effeminate when he talks to the teenage hero he’s captured (if anything, this suggests the movie is anti-homosexual), plus there’s one lewd obscenity

Upper male nudity in three scenes

Alcohol Use:
Brief alcohol use

Smoking and/or Drug Use and Abuse:
No smoking but scary kidnapper/killer is shown using some kind of knockout gas to render teenage kidnap victims, all boys, unconscious; and,

Miscellaneous Immorality:
Two kidnappings are shown.

More Detail:

THE BLACK PHONE is a scary supernatural horror thriller about a young teenage boy who gets kidnapped by a scary man kidnapping boys in his neighborhood, but who gets help from the ghosts of the dead boys the man has killed and from his sister, who prays to Jesus for help in finding and rescuing her brother. THE BLACK PHONE is a suspenseful, well-crafted movie, with a good ending, but it has a mixed pagan worldview with a strong occult premise, positive references to Jesus and the New Testament, lots of strong obscenities and profanities, and some extreme, bloody violence.

The movie opens at a Little League baseball game. The pitcher, a young teenage boy named Finney with a great fastball, is in trouble in the bottom of the seventh. With men on base, he faces the other team’s best hitter, an Asian boy named Bruce. Finney blows two strikes past Bruce. However, on the third pitch, Bruce hits a home run and his team wins. “You almost had me,” Bruce cheerfully tells Finney while praising his pitching. Finney smiles.

After the game, Bruce walks home and passes two girls on the corner. A mysterious black van follows Bruce around the corner. Cut to several days later, and posters with Bruce’s picture on them in Finney’s neighborhood announce that Bruce is missing.

Back home, Finney and his younger sister, Gwen, walk on eggshells around their beer-guzzling widowed father, who seems to be upset about everything. He’s especially upset about the prescient dreams that Gwen sometimes has. Later, the father tells his children that their late mother also had prescient visions, but the voices in her head led her to commit suicide.

At school one day, three bullies follow Finney into a boy’s restroom, where it looks like they’re going to beat him up. However, a young tough named Robin intervenes. Later, the boys try to attack Finney again, but Robin beats up the leader, punching his face multiple times until it’s very bloody. Later, Robin tells Finney that he had to send a message to the bullies. He also tells Finney he’s going to have to learn how to fight and stand up for himself one day.

That same day, after school, Robin approaches the mysterious black van which is sitting in an isolated parking lot, and he becomes the next victim of the neighborhood villain called “the Grabber.”

Meanwhile, Gwen tells Finney she’s been having dreams of a black van with a mysterious driver, who has black balloons with him. The police hear the story, and two detectives interview Gwen at school. They tell her black balloons have been found near the places where they think the boys were kidnapped, but they haven’t told anyone. Gwen swears she’s only been seeing the visions of back balloons in her dreams.

That night, her father spanks Gwen repeatedly with his belt. He says the police visited him at his work. He angrily commands Gwen to stop talking about her dreams. “They aren’t real,” he yells.

Finney comforts his sister. He asks her to make an effort to have more dreams about the mysterious kidnapper and his balloons. Gwen says she’s tried but eventually agrees and goes upstairs to her room. There, she gets out a New Testament, a crucifix, and a rosary with a crucifix and prays to Jesus for help.

Of course, with Robin gone, there’s no one to defend Finney from the three bullies. So, one day while going to school, they gang up on him, knocking him to the ground and then kicking him. Gwen grabs a rock and hits one boy on the head with it. However, one of the other boys manages to kick her in the face.

Walking home from school, Finney accidentally runs into the man with the black van. The man had dropped a sack, and Finney helps him. The man has a top hat and says he’s a magician. He asks if Finney would like to see a magic act. Finney smiles and says yes, but the man suddenly grabs Finney and shoves him into the van while knocking out Finney with some kind of gas from one of those small tanks that people use to blow up balloons.

The next thing he knows, Finney wakes up in a basement that’s totally empty except for a thin mattress on top of a thin box spring mattress, several rugs rolled up in a corner and an old-fashioned black phone on the wall nearby the mattresses. The man with the top hat is there, but he’s also wearing a scary mask. He assures Finney he’s not going to hurt him. He then leaves to go upstairs, locking the door behind him. Finney examines the phone, but he realizes the wire has been cut.

Shortly thereafter, Finney starts receiving calls on the disconnected phone from the kidnapper’s previous victims, who are all dead. They give Finney advice on how to escape.

Meanwhile, Finney’s sister keeps praying to Jesus and having hard-to-decipher dreams about the kidnapper and the kidnapped boys. Will she and the police find out where the kidnapper is hiding Finney before he tires of Finney and kills him?

THE BLACK PHONE is a suspenseful, well-crafted movie. The performances are very good, and the ending is satisfying, though very intense.

However, the movie has a mixed pagan worldview. Sadly, it’s the advice that the young hero gets from the dead boys that saves the day. So, the movie has a strong occult premise. That said, the sister’s prayers to Jesus are also effective in the end, though to a lesser extent. In addition, she loses but regains her faith in Jesus at one point. THE BLACK PHONE also has some extreme, bloody violence as well as more than a dozen “f” words and two strong profanities.

The Bible strongly and overtly instructs Jews and Christians to avoid necromancy, or communicating with dead people. The dead boys in THE BLACK PHONE are the ones who start calling Finney on the phone, but Finney eventually values their advice and puts it into practice. So, THE BLACK PHONE is too occult.