The Box


Posted December 4, 2009 in Cinema Reviews

Borrowing a promising premise from Richard Matheson’s short story Button Button, itself adapted into an early episode of The Twilight Zone, Donnie Darko creator Richard Kelly manages to establish an unsettling atmosphere (complete with an eerie original score by The Arcade Fire) befitting of both Matheson’s moral dilemma and the legendary series it aims to emulate.
The titular box, presented to a young couple by a mysterious, disfigured caller, represents an age-old ethical conundrum. Unable to resist the urge to push the button within, which promises a permanent solution to their financial troubles at the expense of a stranger’s life, the inevitable consequences ensue. Despite reasonably credible performances from both leads in their respective roles and an intriguing scenario with more then enough material to inspire philosophic debate, Kelly squanders the story’s potential by descending into increasingly absurd science-fiction territory, as a result of which all of The Box’s initial intrigue is lost.

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