The Black Phone | The Essential Explanation

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Reader Interactions


  1. #Ab*siveParent is a real matter that still ends up with some loss of life. It’s a very huge matter for visionary people in our communities.
    That must stop. Next generation are the builders of the future generations, not the handlers of the errors that made the past one. Universe still raise. Humankind have to achieve its fulfilment.
    We get a mission.
    Grab the vision way.

  2. Your question about the phone pulsing — symbolically, a heart also pulses. That might establish the phone as the heart of the story / a
    pulsing lifeline.

    • That’s definitely an idea. It’s definitely a lifeline and connects him to the other kids. It could also just represent the fact that there are spirits around the phone/nearby.

  3. Outstanding analysis! I loved your “connecting” motif. It offers a larger message of hope for people in desperate situations.

    Thanks for this outstanding article. Very insightful.

    • Appreciate it, Brian!

  4. I really appreciate your interpretation. I was looking for some meaningful reviews and found rollingstones calling it a lazy serial killer movie. As someone who lived with similar trauma to the kids in the movie, I felt the film was deep and meaningful. Your assessments of trauma are thoughtful and understanding. Thank you

    • I’m sorry you had that trauma. Thank you for the kind words. I had my own things but not specifically this, so it’s meaningful to hear that I was able to write about it in a thoughtful way. And, yeah, reviews like that are exactly why we started this site. Travis and I really hated how superficial and dismissive so many critics were. We wanted to offer content that actually examined themes and meaning in a way that helped people understand and appreciate what they watched.

  5. I enjoyed reading your article with possible interpretations of this movie. I have no sympathy for The Grabber, regardless of the trauma he may have experienced. I don’t think that Finney would have ended up doing evil like The Grabber. He was a sensitive, kind boy. I do think that he, like his sister, may have had psychic abilities in his own way. They may have allowed him to hear the voices of the previous victims and to have visions of what they went through. Perhaps it was his sensitivity that allowed him to perceive their voices and related visions in order to gain the guidance they offered. I doubt that The Grabber ever had sensitivity or kindness.
    The abuse scenes with the father and the father’s alcoholism were all too real. That belt! In my home, it was called The Strap. For the most part, I learned not to make waves. Finney was like that with his father. I’m sure glad that he wasn’t afraid to make waves when it was a matter of survival in the basement!

    • Those are all fair thoughts! And, I agree, Finney wouldn’t have been evil. Sorry to hear about the strap. My dad would tell me similar stories of his childhood.

  6. this story sets deep into my bones. i wondered what the boys meant when one said they forgot their names after “you know what” happened…and when the other said “and after that is the grabber’s favorite part” and when finny said what part he just growled “you don’t have much time” i’m very disturbed by this movie , the fact it can truly be a reality i’m sickened . the scene where they first showed him in the kitchen …i could hear my heart pounding and the blood flowing thru my veins in my ear drum. how torturous.

    • It’s a very evocative movie. In regards to the forgot their names moment——I think it’s kind of metaphoric for the way that traumatic abuse can strip survivors of their previous identity. They’re forever changed.

      The grabber’s favorite part is the actual physical violence. But he can only do it once someone breaks a rule because he’s reenacting his own childhood trauma.

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