The Joe Hill adaptation of The Black Phone needs to overcome some major issues with the source story for the horror movie to succeed. It is never easy to bring a short story to life as a feature film. Even successful adaptations, like Netflix’s dark vampire romance First Kill, often have to extensively expand the plot of the story to create enough plot for a full-length movie or TV show.
However, director Scott Derrickson’s dark horror movie The Black Phone will have a more challenging time adapting its source story than most. Based on the story of the same name featured in Hill’s debut collection, 2005’s 20th Century Ghosts, The Black Phone is a horror with a disarmingly simple narrative. However, it is this very simplicity (as well as the source story’s unremitting bleakness) that could cause The Black Phone to suffer from some major tonal issues.