This is a pretty special moment for Sinister fans.

Released in 2012, the horror movie was directed by Scott Derrickson and starred Ethan Hawke in the central role of a true-crime writer investigating a string of grisly murders. Scott didn’t return to direct the sequel and Ethan didn’t reprise his role.

However, ten years later and they’re collaborating once again on The Black Phone, which has earned critical acclaim and enthusiasm from general audiences alike.

Scott more recently helmed the MCU blockbuster Doctor Strange in 2016 and hasn’t directed a feature film since. So, it’s great to see him return to the genre he made his name in.

That being said, is The Black Phone based on a true story?

still from The Black Phone trailer, Universal Pictures

Is The Black Phone based on a true story?

No, The Black Phone is not based on a true story but it is an adaptation of Joe Hill’s 2004 short story of the same name.

It’s one of the numerous stories that was published as part of 20th Century Ghosts, the American author’s first published book-length work. It originally hit shelves in the UK in 2005 and would later be unveiled as a collection in 2007 in the US.

Other stories included Best New Horror, Pop Art and the titular short.

For those who don’t know what to expect from the screen treatment, a teenager named Finney (played by Mason Thames) is abducted by a child serial killer called The Grabber (Ethan Hawke).

While imprisoned, he is able to use a phone to communicate with the Grabber’s previous victims as they attempt to aid his escape.

The Black Phone | Trailer 2

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The Black Phone | Trailer 2
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‘There’s this very autobiographical story’

Although The Black Phone isn’t based on a true story, Joe Hill recently explained during a Bloody Disgusting interview that some additional elements of the film’s story – outside of the source material – are somewhat autobiographical for Scott Derrickson:

“There were three main creative threads that were braided together into the film. Scott and Cargill used everything in the story, every line of dialogue, every scene. It’s all there on the screen, but that’s only about 40 minutes of the film. They needed more, and they found more.”

He continued: “There’s this very autobiographical story about growing up in the violent 1970s out in the Midwest. It’s a story that reflects on Scott’s childhood memories, and it moves with a kind of pinpoint emotional precision. It uncovers the time with forensic accuracy.”

Want more horror from Scott Derrickson?

If you loved The Black Phone and want to check out the filmmaker’s other directorial horror works, we’ve listed them below:

  • Hellraiser: Inferno
  • The Exorcism of Emily Rose
  • Sinister
  • Deliver Us From Evil

He also helmed The Day the Earth Stood Still starring Keanu Reeves in 2008.

The Black Phone is in theaters on Friday, June 24th 2022.

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