Thinking Inside The Box

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Published June 29, 2009

 

Fans of Donnie Darko, perk up your restless bunny ears: Richard Kelly, the cult director who tweaked the minds of moviegoers with his brain-bending, time-traveling 2001 debut feature, is back with a big-budget supernatural thriller called The Box that looks every bit as stylishly unnerving. Starring Cameron Diaz and James Marsden as a middle-class husband-and-wife facing tough economic times, the film dramatizes an age-old thought-experiment in gruesome detail. When a mysterious box lands on the couple’s doorstep with only a red button inside, they must make the ultimate choice: Press the button, and they’ll receive $1 million—but in doing so, will kill someone in the world they don’t know.

The new trailer promises some intriguing nightmarish visuals—big-white spaces, laughing bellhops, a zombie-like Santa Claus, water-falling inside a bedroom-as well as some tantalizing plot twists. With the excellent Frank Langella as the creepy puppet master pressing the couple’s buttons, it’s hard to see Kelly mess this one up. (Kelly’s previous post-apocalyptic pop fantasia Southland Tales was widely reviled.) There doesn’t appear to be an ominous figure named Frank in a rabbit suit but Darko wasn’t an immediate success, anyway. Perhaps that bodes well for The Box at the box office, when it opens on Friday, October 30, the day before Halloween.