The Box

2009

The Box

Critics Consensus

Imaginative but often preposterous, The Box features some thrills but largely feels too piecemeal.

44%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 155

24%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 359,070
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The Box Photos

Movie Info

Norma and Arthur Lewis are a suburban couple with a young child who receive an anonymous gift bearing fatal and irrevocable consequences. A simple wooden box, it promises to deliver its owner $1 million with the press of a button. However, pressing this button will simultaneously cause the death of another human being somewhere in the world--someone they don't know. With just 24 hours to have the box in their possession, Norma and Arthur find themselves in the crosshairs of a startling moral dilemma and face the true nature of their humanity.

Cast

Cameron Diaz
as Norma Lewis
James Marsden
as Arthur Lewis
Frank Langella
as Arlington Steward
James Rebhorn
as Norm Cahill
Holmes Osborne
as Dick Burns
Sam Oz Stone
as Walter Lewis
Celia Weston
as Lana Burns
Deborah Rush
as Clymene Steward
Lisa K. Wyatt
as Rhonda Martin
Mark S. Cartier
as Martin Teague
Kevin Robertson
as Wendell Matheson
Michele Durrett
as Rebecca Matheson
Michele Durett
as Rebecca Matheson
Ian Kahn
as Vick Brenner
John Magaro
as Charles
Ryan Woodle
as Jeffrey Carnes
Basil Hoffman
as Don Poates
Robert Harvey
as NASA Executive #1
Gentry Lee
as Chief Engineer
Frank Ridley
as Detective Starrs
Daniel Stewart Sherman
as Police Officer #1
Matthew C. Flynn
as Police Officer #2
Patrick Eugene Canty
as Police Officer #3
Mary Klug
as Female Neighbor
Allyssa Maurice
as Suzanne Weller
Cheryl McMahon
as Female 911 Operator
Evelina Oboza
as Deborah Burns
Bill Buell
as Dr. Earl Stupe
Paul Marini
as Santa Claus
Don Warnock
as Doctor Y
W. Kirk Avery
as Doctor Z
Don Hewitt
as Employee
Rick L'Heureux
as Chase Employee
Nicholas Cairis
as Chase Employee
Robert Denton
as Chase Employee
Paul Locke
as Chase Employee
Danny DeMiller
as Chase Employee
Jenna Lamia
as Voice of Diane Carnes
View All

News & Interviews for The Box

Critic Reviews for The Box

All Critics (155) | Top Critics (30) | Fresh (68) | Rotten (87)

  • Kelly treats what is essentially a Stanford University psychology experiment with inflated somberness.

    Sep 24, 2011 | Rating: 1.5/4 | Full Review…
  • Is it an odd film? Certainly. Will it creep you out more than it engages you? Probably. Should we be rewarding folks who are willing to step out of bounds and make us think? Definitely.

    May 6, 2011 | Rating: B | Full Review…

    Laremy Legel

    Film.com
    Top Critic
  • While it's true that the film's sci-fi antics are far from watertight in the logic department, there's enough eccentricity and ambition at play to charm and bemuse in equal measure.

    Dec 4, 2009 | Rating: 3/5 | Full Review…

    David Jenkins

    Time Out
    Top Critic
  • The clueless and overreaching ambition which has started to characterise [Richard Kelly's] cinematic failures comes into play again.

    Dec 4, 2009 | Rating: 1/5 | Full Review…

    Wendy Ide

    Times (UK)
    Top Critic
  • This film just goes interminably on and on, like some pop video to a prog rock track from hell, padding things out to feature length with all sorts of incredible gibberish and extraneous nonsense.

    Dec 4, 2009 | Rating: 2/5 | Full Review…
  • Kelly's obsessions are not entirely like anyone else's, which is a recommendation of sorts, and he shoots more beautifully than ever, which is another. I won't give up on him when his films are still this richly textured and high on their own ideas.

    Dec 4, 2009 | Rating: 3/5 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for The Box

  • Nov 17, 2019
    Richard Kelly has been an interesting filmmaker who has sadly vanished after this film. Critically Kelly has struggled since Donnie Darko and it's a shame. He has unique storytelling style and The Box failures to wrap up the film is an example of what can go wrong with his films. Was it clashing with producers? Who knows, but something was clearly missing here. Diaz feels like a miscast and the incorrect choice for the lead, she obviously helped with the financing of this film. The film is trippy enough to warrant a viewing, there is an almost dream like style to the filmmaking. This film deserved more attention from the filmmakers, it clearly needed added depth. The large budget pushed this into the mainstream market and that is why the film underdelivered. I hope Kelly returns, but he needs to stick to the indie market. 15/11/2019
    Brendan N Super Reviewer
  • Oct 08, 2015
    Normally when a film has many bad reviews I get interested since the film is likely very good or very bad. Surprisingly, The Box is only an average film. It is not reminiscent of Donnie Darko since it is not at all stylized. The Box watches like a Twilight Zone episode made into a two hour movie. If you enjoy generally creepy / weird shows and are OK with them not delivering an explanation (e.g. Lost) then you will probably enjoy The Box.
    Robert B Super Reviewer
  • Oct 30, 2014
    The Box is a nebulous psychological thriller from writer/director Richard Kelly. Based on a Richard Matheson short story, a young couple is presented with an offer to receive $1 million if they push a button, but as a result someone will die. Starring Cameron Diaz, James Marsden, and Frank Langella, the casting is pretty good. But the script is a convoluted mess. It teases out some fascinating mysteries, but they devolve into inexplicable nonsense. Still, Kelly is able to create an atmospheric mood and builds the suspense incredibly well. Yet ultimately, The Box is a poorly executed film that loses its sense of mystery by getting caught up in minutia.
    Dann M Super Reviewer
  • Mar 09, 2012
    The Box is not meant to scare you at all, but its meant to creep you out with its good atmosphere and fine performances from its three leads, but the plot could confuse you and it might bore you because of the lack of scares. But once again, this is not a horror movie, its a suspense/thriller movie! I found it not great, but good, and the ending is tragic and very creepy.
    Angel G Super Reviewer

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