The Box (2009)

Genre(s): Drama / Mystery / Science Fiction
Warner Brothers || PG13 - 116 minutes - $28.98 || February 23, 2010
Reviewer: Tyler Thomas || Posted On: 2010-03-18

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.:: F I L M ::.
The Film

.: F E A T U R E S :.

Special Features

.:: V I D E O ::.

.:: A U D I O ::.

.:: O V E R A L L ::.
Director: Richard Kelly
Writer(s): Richard Matheson ("Button, Button" short story); Richard Kelly (written by)
Cast: Cameron Diaz, James Marsden, Frank Langella

Theatrical Release Date: November 6, 2009

Supplemental Material:
  • Featurette

Technical Information:
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Widescreen (2.40)
  • English (Dolby Surround 5.1), French (Dolby Surround 5.1), Spanish (Dolby Surround 5.1)
  • Subtitles: English SDH

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.::THE FILM::.

I was somewhat excited when The Box came out to theaters back in November. I made plans to see it, and then after seeing the abysmal box-office take I figured that waiting until the film came out on DVD would be a better idea. This movie is about as bad as youíve been hearing about from friends and relatives, if not worse. The Box is one of the worst horror movies that somehow, someway, managed to get a theatrical release.

Norma (Cameron Diaz) and Arthur (James Marsden) Lewis live in the 1970ís or some time era around that time with a life that isnít rich but neither that poor. They have a son named Walter (Sam Oz Stone) who doesnít really do anything the entire film but merely just there as a reminder that they have a kid. Norma teaches students at the best school in the state and also has a wooden foot from some incident that doesnít matter from a long time ago. Arthur works with some space company and recently applied to be an astronaut but as he arrives at work finds out that he was turned down. Norma also finds out that the tuition teachers receive for their children is being cut so her son will have to go somewhere else. Money troubles are now going to start for the family, so whatever will they do?

That answer arrives at the door when a package comes that has nothing but a box with a switch in it. A strange man named Arlington (Frank Langella) arrives at the door a few days later and lets the family know that all their troubles can be taken care of if they push the button. If they choose to do so, one million dollars will be given to them and someone, somewhere, will die that they do not know. The family is reluctant but pushes the button and the money is given to them. Thatís when the trouble starts, as people around town start acting weird, getting nosebleeds, and Arthur tries to figure out who the mysterious man is and whatís going on with the town. Can Arthur and Norma figure out the mystery of the box, or will they die trying similar to the last family that had the same situation?

This movie is so trivial that I honestly donít know where to begin. Well, for starters, the runtime freaking sucks. The film clocks in at nearly two hours long, and trust me, the two hours is painful to have to sit through. The two paragraphs above describe the first sixty minutes of the film, and the rest just deals with the stupid family trying to figure out the mystery of the box rather than just be happy and live their life. That by the way is the message of the film, sorry if I spoiled it for you but itís better than you having to sit through the dreadful flick I did. The filmís pacing is incredibly slow and outdated also, as many times I wondered what the heck was going on and why some of the scenes were even there.

Letís also dive into the realm of Cameron Diaz trying to act like a southern girl. Her accent is about as real as silicone. I mean seriously, who the heck thought it would be a good idea to star an actress whose only real major film series are Charlieís Angels and Shrek. Sheís not entertaining, not good to look at and canít act her way out of a paper bag. In all honesty, every time she opened her mouth to speak a line I couldnít help but laugh. She sounds like sheís either not trying at all or trying entirely too hard to play some crappy part. Frank Langella doesnít come off either as acting, as his role was pretty boring and not scary in the slightest.

Whatís the point of having the film billed as a horror/suspense flick when there are neither involved with the dang movie? I didnít jump once at any of the three scare points, and the suspenseful ending wasnít that hard to figure out. Heck, they tell you the ending of this flick in the dang beginning if you watch carefully enough. Great way to ruin the ending filmmakers by having the flick so predictable that I donít even care what happens.

This is truly an awful movie, and the only reason I gave this half a star is due to Diaz trying to fake a southern accent. It truly is the only reason to bother with viewing this muck.


Richard Matheson: In His Own Words (5 minutes): Matheson talks about his life, career, and a whole bunch other stuff that you wonít care about. Pass.


Per the norm of almost every DVD release from the past few months Iíve had to review, this transfer is just atrocious. The color scheme is completely off, as almost the entire time I noticed white and blue colors being overblown to the point of where it felt like I was wearing 3-D glasses. There are multiple scenes that had this issue and trust me it wasnít just an isolated issue. I also noticed multiple shots encased with grain and noise throughout the runtime, which is yet another disappointment to this awful transfer. I donít get what the point is of giving people who buy the DVD release of a film this poor of a transfer.

Speaking of bad things about this DVD, the Dolby Surround 5.1 track doesnít fare much better. Surround sound is pretty much non-existent, as I only remember my rears going off a few times at best. The dialogue levels were also all over the place, which ticked me off that the studio canít get the levels to be at a set level. I had to tweak the audio a few times throughout the film and thatís a pain. Plus, the lack of any ďoomphĒ in the few actions scenes caused me much pain as well, as though they were dull and sounded like they were from the 1970ís. The car crash sequence was dull and lame, as were the rest of the action shots. Thereís really nothing good to say about this track and I think Iím being generous by giving it an astounding two stars for a Dolby Surround 2.0 track.


The Box flopped at the box-office and is undeserving of your hard-earned cash. Diaz attempting to act is a joke, the story dreadful, and the fact the film is two-hours long made me wish that my DVD player would break. The technical package is just as awful and with zero special features this is one box to not bother with. Iím sure thereís something more creative to come up with here, but Iím too bored after viewing this one.