The Black Phone Director Scott Derrickson Has Changed His Take On A Possible Sequel [Exclusive]

The hype for director Scott Derrickson and writer C. Robert Cargill's horror film "The Black Phone" had been steadily mounting ever since the film first made its buzzy debut during 2021's Fantastic Fest. Subsequently delayed (likely due to Covid case numbers on the rise at the time) to a prime summer slot, the modestly budgeted flick quickly turned into one of the year's most crowd-pleasing experiences and one of the best box office stories in quite some time. Naturally, such breakthrough success led to conversations among fans about a possible sequel, even though (look away if you haven't watched it yet!) Ethan Hawke's villainous Grabber is now dead and gone thanks to the ingenuity of the captive Finney (Mason Thames) and his (possibly clairvoyant?) sister Gwen (a scene-stealing Madeleine McGraw).

At the time, Derrickson seemed open to the possibility of continuing the story and even mentioned an idea pitched by author of the original novel, Joe Hill:

"Joe Hill pitched me a wonderful idea for a sequel to 'Black Phone' that, if this movie does well, I'm gonna do it. He's got a great idea, I really liked it. Joe's very protective and personal about his material, but he came to me with the idea and I was like, 'That's how you do a sequel to 'Black Phone.' That's terrific.'"

Now that there are concrete box office numbers to back up the film's success, we had no choice but to follow up with Derrickson himself in a recent interview with /Film that will be published shortly. According to the director, the positive reaction of audiences worldwide actually ended up changing those plans and motivated Derrickson to pursue "a different take" ... should it even happen at all, of course. Read on for all the details!

'The emotional power of the movie was really pretty extreme'

Perhaps more than other genres, horror tends to function as a direct reflection of our broader emotional baseline as a culture. In an interview with /Film's Jacob Hall, Cargill himself talked about how releasing "Sinister" at the height of the goodwill of the Barack Obama presidency allowed them to pursue "real problems" and motivated audiences to crave "that feeling of dread and be knocked out of their comfort zone." Now with a pandemic raging, a world more divided than seemingly ever before, and a former president at the center of a maelstrom entirely of his own making, it makes sense that "The Black Phone" helped provide the catharsis so many viewers clearly needed.

Perhaps that new context has most affected Derrickson's initial plans for a potential "The Black Phone" sequel. In an upcoming /Film interview, Derrickson neatly sidestepped any specifics of story ideas, but teased how different it may be from that original Joe Hill pitch.

"Well, because of the reception of the movie, that particular take isn't the one that I would want to pursue. Joe agrees. There was something about the reaction to the movie that was much bigger, broader. The emotional power of the movie was really pretty extreme. And so I've got a different take on it, which I've been talking to Joe about, which he also really likes. It's kind of half-baked right now, but there's no guarantee about it. This is just something that I'm noodling on. I would like there to be a sequel, but at this point, there's no guarantee."

When asked if the sequel would follow Finney, Derrickson offered no comment. Should this sequel happen, it's safe to say that Derrickson, Cargill, and Hill will have something special up their sleeves.

"The Black Phone" is now available on digital, and will release on Blu-ray August 16 from Universal Pictures.