There are few current movies or tv shows which return me to childhood. Black Phone did this, and it’s not about the clothes, the hair, or the music; it’s about the time feeling.
A lot of missing kids made the news when I was a kid. I won’t mention their names, but if you grew up in Utah in the early 80s, we all respond to one name. There were others, and it seemed a missing kid made the news once a week.
We didn’t have social media, I know we Gen Xers repeat this, but after dinner, we watched the national and local news. It’s the way our family’s worked. It felt like kids disappeared a lot then.
It wasn’t the satanic panic for some of us. It was the missing kids. This scared us. We didn’t accept rides from strangers for this reason.
I did things I shouldn’t have as a kid with all those missing kids. I rode my bike to my friend’s house. He lived what felt like ten miles away. I did it because I was home alone a lot. Another thing Scott Derickson and C. Robert Cargill nailed was that kids were home alone.
I got home from school at 3:15, but my father didn’t get home until 4:30. That’s if he didn’t leave a message on the answering machine that something came up at work. Then he may not come home at all.
I spent a lot of time watching movies on HBO. This was when HBO was good. Late-night horror movies, and if you had Cinemax, you had Skinemax.
We all had that time when we didn’t feel safe. Mine was after getting off the bus, and this car pulled over and asked us where someone lived. We all knew where the person lived. It was at the top of the street. We told this guy that. He asked me to get in the car and show him. Something was off about that interaction. I still feel that way.
Stranger Things comes close, but Black Phone nails it even better.
We grew up differently. We knew someone whose dad beat them. We knew whose parents slept around and with who. You knew these things if you lived in these small towns or on certain streets.
I felt for Fin in this movie because of that person in the car. I could have been Fin. I know it’s weird to say, but that’s how I’ve felt since that moment.
The movie is brilliant in the many ways it brings back those feelings.
Fin’s story and home life are the same as many of us. My father didn’t beat us, but we knew the feeling of it. Words may not be physical, but they hurt just as much.
The imagery of the movie. The basement, the houses, and the interaction with other kids felt genuine. The fights before, during, and after school happened. I didn’t win all the scraps I was in. I remember them, though.
My youngest sister and I are close. That feeling came across well between Fin and Gwen.
I’m unsure what else to put in a review for a movie that came out a few months ago. I loved it and the feeling of it.
Thanks for reading. If you have suggestions for what movies or books I should review, drop a comment below.