here is a supernatural shockwave that amounts to a horrific, disgusting, and perfectly valid Stephen King horror; It’s actually based on a 2004 short story by the author’s son, Joe Hill. The place is North Denver, in the world of double denim in the late 1970s, and a small town fears a serial kidnapper named “The Grabber,” played by Ethan Hawke in a gruesome mask. It targets teenage boys, and is said to be driving in clown clothes and black balloons in his truck. Bright yellow “missing” posters pile up on walls and gates, and society normalizes and accommodates its fears.
Vinnie Shaw (Mason Thames) is a shy kid, fluent in math and baseball, her widowed father (Jeremy Davis) is an alcoholic, and her daughter’s intelligent sister Gwen (Madeline McGraw) appears to have inherited her late mother’s gift for a second vision. When Grabber takes Vinny, he holds him prisoner in a basement room with a strange black connected phone attached to the wall that appears to be disconnected. But this phone rings eerily when the grabber isn’t around, with the ghosts of its former victims at stake; Meanwhile, Gwen has dreams about The Grabber that the police are taking very seriously.
This is a watchable entertainment that achieves reasonably high with its jump scares, which the thrill and suspense aspect of it engages on a human level: but there is a kind of plot problem in the film’s second act, with Vinnie’s terrifying life as prisoner Grabber seemingly able to get away with a massive amount of preparations for escape undiscovered. But Hawk, whose creepy bad guy potential represents a plausible new career direction, is troubling, and there are really good performances from Thames and McGraw.
“Hardcore pop culture evangelist. Professional analyst. Twitter aficionado. Wannabe travel geek. Amateur tv guru.”