Black Phone & Sinister Exist In The Same Universe

From the director of sinister comes a chilling new horror to arrive in June 2022 called The Black Phone which might actually be hinting at a shared universe between both films. From its darkly unique themes and props directly reminiscent of 2012 hit sinister, there is possibly more than just homage to explain the similarities and connections. sinister follows the story of the Oswalds, an average family, who moves into a house they later learn is cursed by a dark force that convinced the children of previous homeowners to tape their family’s murders. Horror actor Ethan Hawke, playing crime writer Ellison Oswald, attempts to uncover the mystery of the snuff films found in his new home dele only to discover that the dark force is an ancient pagan deity by the name of Bagul, who devours the souls of children .


In a similar vein, The Black Phone’s narrative revolves around a villainous antagonist’s hunt for children. Ethan Hawke returns to star under Derrickson’s direction, this time as the antagonist himself, The Grabber, who is a malicious serial killer that preys on kids. His latest victim, Finney Shaw, receives phone calls from prior victims through a broken phone located in the basement he’s held captive in. The Black Phone is an adaptation based on the novel of the same name written by Joe Hill, the son of master horror novelist Stephen King. With Ethan Hawke returning for another Scott Derrickson horror, drawing comparisons to sinister is unavoidable, especially considering how many elements from The Black Phone‘s trailer alone emulate Derrickson’s 2012 film.

Related: Sinister: What The Symbol On The Tapes Means

The Black Phone isn’t just a reunion for Hawke and Derrickson either, since Sinister 2’s star James Ransone is playing a significant role in the film as well. This may be a coincidence or it could imply a direct link between these properties the upcoming 2022 release will reveal. The Grabber and The Bagul, also known as Mr. Boogie, harbor nearly identical motivations when it comes to choosing their victims. The biggest theory is that they are the same character at different stages in their life. There are overarching supernatural forces in each film’s universe that could tie in explanations about opposing time periods. Horror icons like Freddy and Jason Vorhees were famously and successfully woven into the same universe in Freddy vs. Jason, so it isn’t impossible it could be done for sinister and The BlackPhone.

Mr. Boogie & The Grabber’s Similarities Explained

The Grabber’s creepy outlandish mask stands out in The black phone trailer and closely resembles Mr. Boogie’s face in sinister. The Bagul has a mouth sewn shut because his brother of mutual God status was angry with him for plagiarizing his methods of child sacrifice. As a circumstance, Mr. Boogie historically appears expressionless, unlike the Grabber who is either happy or sad since he can interchange the bottom and top of his mask. Despite the differences, there are more similarities than not. Each distinct look is pale and darkened around the lips and eyes. The Grabber’s mask specifically looks like an upgraded rendition of The Bagul’s deadened appearance and its exaggerated features assert a possibility The Grabber has been unable to express emotions properly up until now. If these two characters are the same, perhaps Mr. Boogie is unskillfully learning how to be a human. Though The Bagul has a demeanor most reminiscent of a classic slasher like Michael Myers, he has not been able to speak or express himself and could flourish into the fluctuating manic character The Grabber appears to be in The Black Phone trailer with enough time in this dimension.

The Grabber Abducts Children Just Like The Bagul/Mr. boogie

Black phone learn from sinister horror movie mistake

There aren’t many horror villains who go after young children. The most notable icon would be the clown Pennywise who is an amalgamation of childhood nightmares, quite similar to The Bagul and The Grabber who are specifically designed as overly frightening to feed off naïve fears for their power. The most glaring clue that black phone and sinister share a universe is that both their respective antagonists abduct and kill children. The Bagul is shown in the first sinister movie to have accumulated a vast collection of minor’s souls and The Grabber’s premise implies he has killed many but not before keeping them for an extended period of time in a basement cell. The Grabber appears practiced in the process of kidnapping young children and may have learned it from his speechless days luring children to free him from the confines of his dimension. If he is now The Grabber, freed from the dimension he was stuck in, it’s possible he’s changed his tactics to better consume young souls. In a cliched representation of abduction tactics, The Black Phone trailer depicts The Grabber offering a magic trick to entice Finney into his truck. He could have learned the tactic from 20th century media, having been thrust out-of-dimension into a new time period since dimensional travel is possible for him. The past victims that speak to Finney over the phone could be children trapped from Bagul’s days of non-corporeal consumption in sinister considering the supernatural context.

The Bagul Could Shapeshift & Explain Black Phone’s Past Victims Twist

The Bagul is explained in sinister as being an ancient Babylonian deity centuries-old whose only goal is to consume the souls of children. The reason he consumes their souls in the first place is that he originally copied the sacrifice rituals of his brother, another Babylonian deity named Moloch, who did the same. In his franchise, namely the first sinister installment, The Bagul is bordering on all-powerful which makes sense due to his godly status. However, to further explain the reason for The Grabber being the same person, it must be accepted that Bagul can shapeshift and has learned how to.

Related: Sinister: How A Key Plot Was Inspired By David Lynch’s Lost Highway

With hundreds of years in the world, this evil deity has had time to grow, learn, and adapt. sinister is a modernized enough story to include reels of snuff films which he influences the children to shoot implying that he knows more about society’s advancement than meets the eye, or is at least learning. It is not difficult to imagine a God can shapeshift, but there’s a dilemma as to why Bagul didn’t do it during the sinister films and would do it now in The BlackPhone. The answer to why he might now be due to his past victims. He might have needed enough souls to expand his powers and maybe the power he gains following this consumption allows him not only to shift but to time travel and become corporeal which is why he appears as a human in Black Phone. The Grabber being identical to Ellison Oswald character in sinister could be explained as Mr. Boogie taking on his form to fit into society, and in turn, being able to capture more children. He could still be honing his powers from him and perhaps needs more ammunition in the form of young souls to retain his shapeshift from him. This could further explain The Grabber’s prolific and continued hunt for children and why he’s an over-exaggeration of an abductor stereotype. Ethan Hawke taking on a villainous role contributions to the burgeoning Derrickson universe theory.

The Black Phone’s BTS & Themes Support The Sinister Universe Theory

The Black Phone Alternate Poster Creepyduck featured

Mainly the theming and behind-the-scenes aspects are the reasons why these two films could be connected. The design and demeanor of The Grabber displays a significant likeness to ancient pagan religious art, most notably due to the horns. It is undeniable both he and Mr. Boogie are meant to come across as demons and Scott Derrickson is likely aware of their demon connection. The original story of The Black Phone from Joe Hill doesn’t have a confirmed tether to the sinister universe, but Hill is not writing the script, so there may be room to expand upon his fantastical supernatural concepts. Joe Hill is known for his talent of writing thrillers but has worked with his father before on more bizarre horror pieces so this adaptation might adopt a common pattern from Stephen King’s own adaptations. King has a history of crossing over his own characters and stories together, most prevalent in The Dark Tower series, so his son Hill may be interested in at least giving the adaptation leeway to crossover.

sinister 2 flopped in comparison to its predecessor and The Black Phone could be a big return for sinister and a unique spin on a dying franchise even if it the connection is merely implied. There are not many famous crossovers in horror properties, aside from films where two antagonists go up against each other such as in alien v. predator. Subverting the notion of who the killer truly is rather than making a crossover about battling slashers would be an original twist for a crossover. Actor James Ransone and Ethan Hawke returning might be coincidental, but with the shapeshifting idea and the possible connection between The Bagul and The Grabber, it’s possible The Grabber isn’t mimicking just Ellison Oswald’s face but the Deputy’s too. For the killer to take on various familiar and innocent faces would fit with the shared themes of how child abduction occurs in day-to-day life.

With wildly similar premises and themes, each film still remains an individualistic story all its own, and The Black Phone is almost guaranteed to introduce an original and marketable horror icon into the world in the form of Ethan Hawke’s Grabber character. Despite the telling handful of the sinister film’s crew members returning to create another masterfully terrifying story, it doesn’t necessarily mean any crossover will be confirmed. The theory that sinister and The Black Phone share a universe is strong, however, and it could easily be realized.

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  • The BlackPhone (2022)Release date: Feb 04, 2022


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