DVD/Blu-ray Review: Richard Kelly's The Box, starring Cameron Diaz, James Marsden and Frank Langella

[image-1]The Box is based on a Twilight Zone episode entitled “Button, Button,” about a couple who is presented a choice: push a button in the box and get a large sum of money — but someone they don’t know will die. In the modern update, the couple is played by James Marsden and Cameron Diaz and the man with the million-dollar offer is an eerie Frank Langella. They decide to press the button (duh) and get their big payment (a million dollars, which will make a huge difference for the financially stretched couple), but the results of this decision (and their bizarre reason for making it) will have far-reaching and unintended consequences.

The concept sounds good, and the movie starts off dramatically, but The Box takes a hard right turn about halfway through, and turns into more of a thriller with Marsden's character trying to find the reltionship between the box and Langella. When we figure out the connection, it comes across as strange and a little bit silly. Frank Langella is quite good here, as is Marsden, but Cameron Diaz is just plain awful, with a terrible accent and some really bad over-acting. As Rabid Nick said in his review, people will either love or hate this movie, and despite my hopes of being in the first category, I was in the latter and ready for the movie to end all through the second half.

There are no special features on the DVD version , but the Blue-Ray has a few minor special features, including a commentary track by and 15-minute interview with director Richard Kelly, during which he shares his experiences making The Box. It was interesting, and I enjoyed seeing the director had a ton of passion for the project. The final feature for the Blu-ray was a look into the special effects, which was similar to any other special feature you see on a Blu-ray or DVD. The featurette goes into how they made the film feel like a '70s movie, and of course, how they made Langella’s character look so horrible. It kept my interest throughout the 20 minutes, which is more than I can say for the movie.

Overall, The Box is a great idea that feels exactly like what it is — a short whose concept was stretched into an overlong feature-length movie. If you’re a fan of The Box, or of The Twilight Zone, I would say this is worth a solid rent on Blu-ray. If not, skip it, as the movie is middling and the special features are almost non-existent.

The Box, a Twilight Zone episode remake from Donnie Darko director Richard Kelly, comes to DVD and Blu-ray for the simple purpose of confusing people in their own homes. James Marsden, Cameron Diaz and Frank Langella star in this 1970s period mind-bender about a moral dilemma and the consequences that follow. The package I reviewed contained both the DVD and Blu-ray in a 2-disc combo pack, which is great if you have a DVD player now but plan to upgrade, but seems a little redundant for someone who already owns a Blu-ray player. (But hey, it was nice to have both for the review.)

Scroll to read more Events & Film articles
Join the Creative Loafing Tampa Bay Press Club

Local journalism is information. Information is power. And we believe everyone deserves access to accurate independent coverage of their community and state.
Help us keep this coverage going with a one-time donation or an ongoing membership pledge.


Join Creative Loafing Tampa Bay Newsletters

Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.

We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Creative Loafing Tampa Bay. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Creative Loafing Tampa Bay, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.

Email us at [email protected]