Director Scott Derrickson will adapt a Joe Hill short story called “The Black Phone” into a feature film for Blumhouse, according to Deadline. Derrickson is penning the screenplay with his regular writing partner, C. Robert Cargill, with whom he also wrote Sinister and Doctor Strange.
The story was initially published in Hill’s first book, a 2005 short story collection called 20th Century Ghosts that put the young author on the horror map before it was widely known that he was the son of Stephen King. The tale follows the plight of John Finney, a young boy kidnapped and held prisoner in the basement of a serial killer, who begins to communicate with his previous victims via a broken old phone.
For Derrickson, the project signifies a return to his moderate budget horror roots and to Blumhouse, with whom he teamed on 2012’s Sinister. The filmmaker directed his first film, the direct-to-video sequel Hellraiser: Inferno, in 2000, and followed that with the 2005 hit The Exorcism of Emily Rose, which grossed $145 million worldwide on a $19 million budget.
After helming a 2008 remake of the sci-fi classic The Day the Earth Stood Still, Derrickson went back to the supernatural with Sinister, starring Ethan Hawke as a true crime novelist who grapples with a family-murdering pagan deity. The $3 million movie earned nearly $88 million and led to a sequel, Sinister 2, which Derrickson did not direct but co-wrote with Cargill.