Psychological Horror Starring Sitcom Icon Will Make You Question Your Sanity, Stream Without Netflix

By Robert Scucci | Published

When I saw that Frankie Muniz starred in a psychological horror film called The Black String, I knew immediately that I had to check it out. I grew up watching Malcolm in the Middle, but didn’t really keep a close eye on his film career much after that. I knew he was into racing and drumming, but thought he had stepped away from acting for the most part.

In other words, I was curious to see Muniz act in a horror movie that I didn’t know existed until last night.

The Black String With Frankie Muniz

the black string frankie muniz

The Black String showcases the same kind of manic energy that Muniz had in Malcolm in the Middle but in an entirely different context. This kind of energy works surprisingly well, as his Jonathan Marsh character is of a questionable mental state throughout most of the film.

Malcolm was always on edge because of the stress of being a highly intelligent adolescent with a dysfunctional family. But Jonathan is on edge because he has a wild string of hallucinations after having a one-night stand with somebody he believes is part of a mysterious cult of witches.

Frankie Muniz As Jonathan Marsh

the black string frankie muniz

In The Black String, we’re introduced to a young man named Jonathan Marsh who doesn’t have a lot going for him. He’s in his 20s, works at a liquor store, goes running every morning, and mostly keeps to himself. Before falling asleep one night, he sees an ad for a telephone dating service and arranges a blind date with a woman named Dena.

Jonathan’s best friend and shift supervisor, Eric, doesn’t necessarily approve of the way he seeks out romance, but encourages him to get out of his shell. The day after Jonathan’s one-night stand, he wakes up with an unsightly and painful rash on his abdomen, and The Black String takes a sinister turn.

Jonathan calls the 1-900 number to find Dena, but the number has been disconnected, and he starts having hallucinations that he can’t tell apart from his waking life.

What Is Real?

What makes The Black String such an interesting film is that I also couldn’t tell what was real, what was supernatural, or what was simply being imagined by Jonathan.

Since the film is told mostly from Jonathan’s perspective, and there are hints of a troubled past in which he may have had issues with drug abuse and severe mental health problems, your guess is as good as mine.

Jonathan receives phone calls that make him act in ways he regrets, has dreams where demons are coming out of his walls, and eventually gets institutionalized after frantically showing up to work to talk to Eric, who immediately calls the police out of concern for his well-being.

Back At Square One?

In Jonathan’s mind, Dena transferred some sort of curse into his body when they had their romantic rendezvous.

While he seems absolutely off his rocker by the time The Black String reaches its third act, you’ll have reason to believe that his hallucinations aren’t the result of a psychotic break, but rather a legitimate curse.

By the film’s conclusion, however, you’ll find yourself back at square one because there are very few shots in this movie shown from a perspective other than Jonathan’s.

the black string frankie muniz

The mind tricks that The Black String plays on its audience are deliberately disorienting, and make for an effective thriller that includes a healthy amount of body-horror to drive the point home.

You’ll find yourself, like Jonathan, questioning what’s real and what’s simply a figment of his imagination, and you won’t find a clear answer upon your first viewing. I’ll definitely have to watch this movie a couple more times before I arrive at a conclusion that I find to be satisfactory, and I think that’s the point.

Streaming The Black String

the black string

Similar to films like The Sixth Sense, The Black String has inherent rewatch value because you want to solve the mystery that is Jonathan’s mental state.

The Black String is a tense, well-acted psychological thriller that will have you coming back for more because its simple plot has so much depth to it. You’ll want to go back and look for clues in the first and second acts to make sense of Jonathan’s ordeal.

To see Frankie Muniz in one of the weirdest roles to date, you can stream The Black String for free on Tubi and start putting the pieces together yourself.