The Black Phone Plot Synopsis
If you’re ever locked in a basement and a black phone in the corner of the room starts to ring, we would advise you to answer it. Especially if you are being held captive by a sadistic serial killer in a horrifying mask, the caller on the phone could be your means of escape. Alternatively, it could be a wrong number or a foreign call centre but it’s still worth picking up the phone, just in case!
Finney, the 13-year-old protagonist of The Black Phone, decides to answer the call in Scott Derickson’s terrifying new horror movie. It’s a good thing that he does as by doing so, he receives guidance from the previous victims of the Grabber, the deranged madman who has abducted this luckless young teen.
Does he escape from the Grabber’s basement? Let’s take a closer look at the movie.
How did Finney get abducted?
The movie is set in 1978, a time when kids were mostly allowed to roam free without a lot of parental supervision. During this era, there were very few security cameras in place to bear witness to crimes that were being committed, and as mobile phones weren’t in existence, kids didn’t have a means of calling for help either.
This was bad news for the real-life kids whose faces often ended up on milk cartons around America. And it’s bad news for Finney, the fictional protagonist of The Black Phone who goes against that oft-told parental rule – never talk to strangers – and strikes up a conversation with a man claiming to be a magician.
During the conversation, Finney notices the man has black balloons in the back of his van. He immediately becomes alarmed because his sister Gwen, a young girl with psychic abilities, had previously warned him that the balloons were somehow linked to the Grabber, a boogeyman-like killer who had become a bit of an urban myth around the neighbourhood.
But before Finney can escape, the man grabs him, doses him with some kind of substance, and places him in the back of his van.
With nobody around to notice the abduction, Finney is now at the mercy of the Grabber, the deranged psychopath who has already killed a number of children in the local area.
What happens to Finney?
Finney is taken to a house in an unknown location and is locked inside the basement. There is nothing in the room but a bed and a black phone that has been disconnected.
The Grabber doesn’t hurt Finney but tells the boy he will be harmed if he tries to escape.
Finney is trapped but when the Grabber seemingly forgets to lock the basement door, he decides to go against his previous warning and escape. Just as Finney is about to make a run for it, the black phone rings.
Who is on the other end of the phone?
Thankfully, it’s not somebody claiming to be from an Amazon call centre with news of suspicious account activity!
The caller is actually Bruce, the ghost of one of the Grabber’s previous victims. He lets Finny know of the existence of a loose tile in the basement and of the dirt below that could be Finney’s means of escape. Unfortunately, Finney isn’t able to use this advice to dig his way out of trouble but when the phone starts ringing again, he picks up and speaks to Billy, the ghost of another victim, who clues Finney on another escape route through the basement window.
Unfortunately, Finney fails to make it through the window but he then gets a call from another dead boy, Griffin, who reveals a code to the house’s main door.
Finney makes his way upstairs and escapes through the door but it’s not long before the Grabber catches up with him and throws him back into the basement.
Is Finney doomed?
Finney’s chances of survival are slim but he is helped by other victims of the Grabber who use the black phone to connect to him. One of these is Robin, the ghost of a tough young boy that Finney had previously befriended, who tells him that the best way to escape is to fight the Grabber.
While Finney contemplates what he might need to do to get the better of the serial killer, the police set out to look for him after being tipped off by Gwen who has had visions of Finney’s location.
Elsewhere, the Grabber’s brother Max begins to realize the identity of the killer. He heads to the Grabber’s home and finds Finney in the basement. Unfortunately, he’s not much use to the trapped teen as before he can lead him to safety, his wicked brother attacks him from behind and kills him with an axe.
Does Finney escape the basement?
To escape the basement, Finney needs to get past the Grabber. Thankfully, his chances of escape are heightened because of Robin who knows just how to do it. At the behest of his dead friend, he fills the black phone with dirt, lays a wire trap on the floor, and digs a hole in the ground.
When the Grabber arrives down the basement steps a little later on, Finney is able to hit him with the black phone. When the Grabber is dazed, Finney pulls the wire and causes the deranged madman to fall into the hole, where he then breaks his foot. Instead of escaping, Finney decides to tie the cord of the phone around the Grabber’s neck and strangles him.
Before the killer draws his last breath, the phone rings one more time. Finney places it next to his captor’s ear so he can hear the voices of the innocent kids he killed taunting him from beyond the grave. Finney then pulls the cord and ends the life of the masked menace.
Finney is then able to escape the basement where he is met by his sister and the police who have been clued in to his location. His alcoholic father arrives on the scene and relieved to see his son alive, promises to be a better father to him and Gwen.
When Finney later returns to school, the once-bullied teen is hailed as a hero by his classmates. Not only did he save himself from the Grabber’s evil intentions (with the help of his spirit friends) but he also saved the other neighbourhood kids whose parents presumably paid more attention to their whereabouts after the events of this film.
Read More: The Black Phone Movie Review
8 thoughts on “‘The Black Phone’ Ending Explained: Does Finney survive his terrifying ordeal?”
Thanks for your input, much appreciated 🙂
The Grabber hears it ring! ReWatch and pay attention he says it rang once and he answered and one of the children calling tells Finney the Grabber is like him-by being able to hear the phone ring which is important so we don’t question the end when the kids taunt him on it.
I think the mask is was also more important for the Grabber trying to figure out his own self than actually hiding his face WHICH TECHNICALLY FINNEY DID NOT SEE as he was abducted as he was partially covered and Finney was destructed by not only the Grabbers rouse but he noticed those black balloons. It was too late to turn to heed his sisters warning when he turned to actually look at the Grabber and actually see him the grabber was already ahead of the game dosing him.
This movie is great and well put together. Watch it again and you will see the small nuances you previously missed about why he can hear the phone, etc.
Hope this helps 🙂
Hey, excellent points. Re the mask, I assume that was a way to terrify and intimidate the people he abducted. As for covering his face, could it because he has a split personality? Another persona is suggested in the film, so could the other ‘him’ be trying to hide his face? Or maybe its a plot hole?
I’m not sure about the ringing phone. The Grabber could hear the callers speak at the end of the film but I don’t know if he could hear it ring.
As for your third point, Finn was able to speak to dead people in the basement. As such, I suspect he did have a sixth sense but his ability is probably different to Gwen’s ability to see things in her dreams.
Those are my thoughts, as weak as they are. If you find other answers, let us know 🙂
I feel like there were a lot of loose ends. What are your thoughts on….
1) Why did the grabber wear the masks with Finn, was he performing? Also when Finn snatched his mask off, the Grabber flipped out trying to cover his face, which we had already seen when he abducted Finn.
2) Apparently the Grabber could not hear the phone ring but in the last stairwell scene, Finn told the grabber that the phone was for him. Could the Grabber hear the phone ring, and his past victims speak? Or was that for Finn only?
3) Finally, Finn’s mom committed suicide due to the voices in her head but Gwen could see things in her dreams. Did Finn also have a sixth sense that gave him the ability to talk to dead people?
you’re welcome 🙂
Thank you! Your kind comment is much appreciated.