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The Box (2009)


Duration 1h 55m Rating (UK) 12A
Source of story A short story “Button, Button”, by Richard Matheson, first pubished in Playboy in 1970.
Director Richard Kelly
Writers/Script Richard Kelly
Starring Cameron Diaz, James Marsden, Frank Langella

Elevator Pitch: A married couple, Norma and Arthur Lewis, who have a preteen son, are facing possible hard times when someone leaves a box with a button on top on their front step, with a note to say that they will be calling later in the day to talk to them. The person, a disfigured man, calls and explains that if they choose to press the button someone they don’t know will die, and they will receive a million dollars in cash. They are in emotional turmoil. Is the button real? If so will someone really die and will they actually receive the money, and most importantly, are there strings attached?

Content: No sex, nudity, drinking or drugs. Norma and Arthur face difficulties in their individual places of work, she at a school and he at NASA. They receive the box and are visited by Mr Steward (could be an important name). Norma presses the button and it seems possible that it relates to the death by gunshot of the wife of one of Arthur’s colleagues. It is revealed that Mr Steward was actually killed by lightning. From then on they experience increasingly surreal events, which seem to involve unknown people looking and following them. There is a crisis eventually and someone else has the opportunity of pressing the button.

A View: The critics did not get a screening of this film, always an ominous start, and something from which new films seldom recover. True in this case since it did not make any money for anyone, except for the actors probably. From quite a reasonable start it quickly became unintelligable. At one point Arthur seems to be suspended in a block of water over his bed at home. What had that to do with anything? Of course you might guess that it is a higher power testing the inhabitants of earth – again. Not worth your time, even for nothing.

Additional Info: The short story was also made into a Twilight Zone episode in 1986.

About Victor R Gibson

Author of this site three technical books and two novels


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