The Box - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

The Box Reviews

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Super Reviewer
½ February 1, 2010
Forget the box, the only real mystery in this huge atrocity is how a talented director like Kelly could have committed it from a story by master Richard Matheson, with awful dialogue, terrible acting and a ridiculous plot that doesn't make any sense and doesn't know how to end.
Super Reviewer
November 30, 2009
Super Reviewer
½ August 2, 2011
I'm not really sure what this movie was suppose to accomplish, and I don't think the writer did either. It's not entertaining horror, it's not interesting sci-fi, and the suspense is poorly executed. The only thing the film achieves is making a contrived mess. Things start off promising, but it's all downhill from there. Halfway through, the stupidity is just overwhelming. This film ends up lower than dog excrement. Avoid.
Super Reviewer
April 12, 2010
27/07/2011 (DVD)

Bewildered at first! The bewildered weirdness kicks but and for was very puzzling. Sometimes I felt like "what the heck is going on?" And then I would settle down to see the strange results produced from the unexplainable theories that in the end all made sense!

Very "Twilight Zone"-ish and according to what I know, the original story "Button, Button!" was written by "Richard Matherson" who wrote "I Am Legend" and several "Twilight Zone" episodes which explains the psychological wrenching.

A well done film adaptation for a short-story! Thinking that this team was able to produce a full length movie out of a short-story article from a "Playboy" magazine from 1970... Impressive.
Super Reviewer
½ September 24, 2011
Weak. It started off okay, but drastically fell off from there.
Super Reviewer
August 15, 2011
It surprises me how such great premises become such failures. The Box had a great opening, but it soon became very boring and stupid, but still a good opening. The acting was ok, Cameron and James had good performances but everyone was just stupid. The special effects were kind of cheesy and unrealistic. The Box could've been a great horror film, but soon becomes some sci fi thriller film.
Super Reviewer
June 23, 2011
Really confusing and the plot seemed to lose it's way. It all just didn't seem to make sense and seemed very silly. Extremely unrealistic which isn't always the point but with this it was just laughable.
Super Reviewer
April 10, 2010
A mysterious stranger delivers a box to the doorstep of a young couple and tells them that if they push the button on the device contained within, they will receive a million dollars but someone they don't know will be killed. This intriguing premise combined with a spooky performance by Frank Langella as the enigmatic stranger make for a compelling opening act to this story based on an episode of The Twilight Zone. Unfortunately, as is always the case with these twist based ideas, the reveal had better be DAMN good or else the viewer is going to feel like they've totally wasted their time. When it did come I didn't feel like I'd been cheated, but it wasn't exactly satisfactory either; the conspiracy aspect to the story felt forced and actually rather unnecessary and just made the story more convoluted than it really needed to be. It's got a nice 70s feel to it and the direction is stylish offering up some nicely atmospheric scenes and visuals but Kelly must be nervously eyeing the career of M. Night Shyamalan by now because he seems to be heading down the same road.
Super Reviewer
October 9, 2009
Tries far too hard to be deep and mysterious. It's neither.
Super Reviewer
February 27, 2010
A good thriller, not quite what I was expecting. It's a strange film in many ways that leaves you wondering at times, even towards the end what is going on and why. Thankfully most of it is explained but there was just a bit of doubt in my mind about what was really happening. Still a good film that will keep you guessing along the way.
Super Reviewer
November 4, 2009
This Richard Kelly (Donnie Darko) flick's main flaw (sitting atop a bunch of many other little flaws, like awful visual effects and high doses of camp and cheese) is its drastic and unpleasant change from psychological thriller to alien invasion film. The Box, even at its climax, provides no tension whatsoever and, in the end, it's just a weird (not "good" weird) experience. Cameron Diaz's scared face is awesome, though.
Super Reviewer
November 29, 2010
This could have been a lot better....If they just kept it simple. Cause the beginning and the end is really good....But the middle part with the guy being struck by lightning and coming back to life...and all that supernatural stuff (I can't really remember)...that was just too much....Keep it simple....
Super Reviewer
½ July 20, 2010
Richard Kelly's "The Box" is just as deep, dark, surreal, emotional and mesmerizing as his previous films. His ode to 1970's paranoia, science-fiction and life beyond the tangible is at once extremely mysterious and bracingly real (regardless of it's faux dialogue and slightly exaggerated genre acting; all intentional of course). This is Kelly's most personal film and that accounts for the clearly visible love he has placed in the material and his characters. "The Box" is an ode to the unknown, whatever you consider that to be. This is certainly a cathartic experience if you are willing to decode, "The Box".
Super Reviewer
November 6, 2009
I consider this Richard Kelly redeeming himself after the debacle with Southland Tales. He may not have fully atoned for that sin, but I once again have genuinely favorable feelings about him. I've always respected him though, even with the aformentioned screw up.

As far as the basic plot goes, this is probably the most straightforward thing Kelly has done, and as a result is also his most accessible film. It's an adaptation of a short story which in turn spawned an episode of the 80s era Twilight Zone. I can't remember if I've read the story, but I've seen the TV episode.

Now, given that the Short story is just that, and that the episode was between 30-60 mins. ( I can't remember), it's obvious that this film is loaded with extra materiial given that it's run time is just under two hours. I refuse to call this extra stuff "filler" though, as that term connotates negativity. The extra stuff here is cool. I don't quite get it all, but I get the general idea.

The beginning and end are straightforward morality tales while the middle veers off into its own weird thing, but hey, this is a Richard Kelly film, and while watching it, it's undeniable that he and not someone else is behind it all. This is a sci-fi thriller, and not actually a horror film, but this is really creepy if not down right scary at times. There is a really great sense of tone, mood, and atmosphere created here that makes even ordinary and mundane places and things unsettling. Because of that, the stuff that's supposed to be creepy is now even moreso.

Kelly should be applauded for knowing these things. It's part of why the film works. He also knows what aesthetic choices (as far as leneral looks, sets, and art direction) look groovy too. I was really digging the 70s decorum. The music is great too. don't listen to Arcade Fire, but some of their members did the music, and it rocks. It's very Bernard Herrmann-esque, which is very high praise and only benefits the film more.

I'm not sure why people didn't get into this all that much. Perhaps Southland Tales had a role to play? Or Maybe just How Kelly's films are in general? That's unfortunate though. I admit that I was a bit hesitant to see this, but I came out very surprised and pleased. Even though it is weird and creepy and out there, this has a high amount of mainstream appeal, so go give it a shot.

Oh yeah, the acting's fantastic too. Marsden is good, Diaz gives a strong performance, and Langella is the man. I'm kind of thinking that in limited circles, his character will become a cult favorite in years to come. He's creepy as shit, has a great and unforgettable look (gotta love the FX), and is just very enjoyable to watch.

I really liked this after one viewing. I plan on seeing it again and am kind of thinking that I may end up loving it. Congrats Kelly, even though I never fully gave up on you, you have restored what faith I had lost (and I wouldn't call myself a fanboy to begin with, either).
Super Reviewer
January 27, 2010
Lets not judge the movie by its intellectual storyline.Its just a cult movie and weirdness of it doesnt prove that director could reach to higher degree.everyone has some bizarre ideas for making a cult movie.But most important factor is how to make them acceptable.Box cinematically is a weak movie,bad in directing and acting and character development.unlike David Lynch's movies there is no attraction here.
Super Reviewer
August 22, 2010
The second the film starts and the box is delivered, the ride begins that will have you holding on to your seat until the dreadful conclusion. This film is put together wonderfully, with small plot holes and a bit unexplained. However, it is unexplained in ways that will just keep you thinking, which is why I loved it so much. It is extremely interesting and the last 10 minutes will make you want to look away from what the choice will be, and I believe that anyone who actually cares to enjoy this film, will be in tears from either of the two optional endings. This film is completely underrated and I am glad I saw this film.
Super Reviewer
August 14, 2010
The Box throws tons of ideas into a narrative that is next to impossible to explain, and it misses the mark more often than not.
The acting by Cameron Diaz and James Marsden isn't exactly top notch either. Cameron has the same clueless look that Kristen Stewart has throughout Twilight, and I keep thinking Marsden is going to shoot lasers from his eyes.
Richard Kelly covers a lot of ground. He touches upon a box that will reward those who push a button while killing someone they wouldn't know simultaneously, aliens, portals, the afterlife, and a town filled with people who seem to be in on the mystery. Juggling all of these concepts into one movie is sure to leave plot holes, story problems, and things that are just too much to accept. I admire the ambition, but there was very little in the way of suspense, just confusion that did not intrigue or interest me.
Super Reviewer
½ August 5, 2010
This is just the strange type movie that is up my ally! lol Few will enjoy this movie. Its strange and off-beat plot makes it all the more interesting to me! I ask even, knowing the result - Would I push the button? I will enjoying watching over and over and not just because James Marsden gets sexy with age! ;-)
Super Reviewer
½ August 8, 2010
Based on the short story "Button, Button" by "I am Legend" writer Richard Matheson, this is a strange little film thats hard to pigeonhole due to some very strange and surreal happenings. Director Richard Kelly (Donnie Darko), refuses to stick to any particular formula and as a result leaves you a little unsure about what you've just seen.
Norma (Cameron Diaz) & Arthur Lewis (James Marsden) are a happily married couple who are having some financial difficulties. Out of the blue, they are contacted by a mysterious stranger named Arlington Steward (Frank Langella). Mr. Steward delivers a box to their house and makes them a bleak, but very tempting offer. They are given a choice to push the button on the box and receive $1 million, however, by doing so, somebody somewhere will die.
This film received quite a lot of criticism and wasn't very successful upon it's release, which is a shame really, as it does have several positive things going for it. First of all, it poses the type of moral question that everybody will find it hard to ignore and follows through with the consequences of making such a decision. Richard Kelly's direction is refreshingly different also. He throws in all sorts of unconventional and unexpected 'Lynchian' touches like the main character missing part of her foot and another missing part of his face. Strange bell ringing Santa's standing in the middle of the road, nose bleeding zombies and all this with the air of a NASA conspiracy hanging over it. All very strange indeed, with little to no explanation for some of it. The film also looks wonderful, brilliantly capturing the 1970's era and style and the three lead performances are excellent. However, with all this unexplained strangeness you start to wonder whether Kelly is taking it all a bit too far and quite frankly, not really caring if we understand the whole thing. Which is a big ask, considering the film is just short of two hours and demands a level of commitment.
A very bizarre, (slight) misfire but interesting nonetheless and it definitely has a lasting effect due to some well structured creepiness.
Super Reviewer
½ July 23, 2010
this movie is really underrated. this deserves more then 27% liked. i loved this movie. i thought it had a deep meaning. yes, it was wierd and didnt seem to make sense at times but it all came together in the end. when you hear the plot (a wife and a husband are in a bad place and a box arrives at the door and a man comes by later that day says if you press the button someone you dont know will die and they'll be paid $1,000,000 dollars) it turns out theres a lot more to it then it seems. yes there are a few parts that are silly but only very few. a really great movie. not as good as donnie darko. i loved ths movie. A-
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