The Black Phone

Horror, violence, domestic violence, and offensive language Rated on: 17 June 2022

The Black Phone

What’s it about?

After being abducted by ‘The Grabber’, thirteen-year-old Finney starts to receive calls from a broken phone from the killer’s past victims. It’s up to his younger sister Gwen to decipher her dreams and find out how to help him.

The facts

  • Director: Scott Derrickson
  • Runtime: 103 minutes
  • English language

Why did it get this rating?


The film is about the abduction of young people and has supernatural themes, which could be scary for children and younger teenagers. There are jump scares, ghosts, a masked killer, a claustrophobic setting, and floating objects.


Different types of violence are shown, including horror-violence, school-yard fist fights, bloody violence, and family violence. There is a scene where a character beats their child with a strap. There is a scene where a character is hit on the head with an axe and shows a gory injury with blood and brain matter. These scenes could be confronting for viewers who are sensitive to this type of content.


The film deals with a range of cruel behaviours, including schoolyard bullying and family violence as described above.

Offensive language

Offensive language like the F word is frequently used. This is said mostly by young people in a casual way and is sometimes meant to be funny. It is also used in an aggressive way linking to the violent and cruel scenes.


There is one mention of suicide, where two characters talk about a person from the past who takes their life. The film doesn’t detail how but it does cover why and relates to the supernatural themes.

Further information

When we examined the film we also consulted with members of our Youth Advisory Panel. Their opinions informed our decision on this film.

Members of the Panel agreed that the film’s family violence scene was the strongest. They did not expect it in a horror film and strongly recommended the film have a warning for domestic violence.

Recent featured decisions

27 July 2022

Rape, sexual references, offensive language, and content that may disturb

Tessa is a successful criminal barrister who efficiently defends sexual assault cases. Her life is upended when she is raped by a colleague. Tessa's experience forces her to confront uncomfortable truths about her profession and shakes her deeply held beliefs about the law.

Read more

27 July 2022

Graphic violence and offensive language

Five assassins on a bullet train from Tokyo to Kyoto are working at cross purposes against each other. One wants a briefcase, but another is sent to steal it. A pair is sent to protect a person, but another is sent to kill him. Mayhem ensues when their paths intersect.

Read more