Alice Oscura – Featured Writer
Black Box is one of the eight-film anthology “Welcome to the Blumhouse” that was produced by Jason Blum under the banner of Blumhouse Television and Amazon Studios. Mamoudou Athie (Underwater) stars as Nolan Wright, a man who gets up after being in a coma to discover that his wife has died and that he has no memories of his life including his young daughter Ava (Amanda Christine). After many consultations with different doctors and the tests always coming up as inconclusive he becomes discouraged. That is until he starts to receive frequent messages and calls from a Dr Brooks (Mrs Huxtable herself Phylicia Rashad). She claims to be able to restore his lost memories with her new scientific research called the Black Box. However, things are not as they seem, and he soon begins to question the good doctor’s motives.
This one honestly took me by surprise. I didn’t go into it expecting too much since so far, the other Blumhouse 8 entries, with the exception of Nocturne, were just fair. It is nice to be surprised once in awhile. The characters of Nolan and Ava are likeable from the start, especially Ava. She’s a little girl who is not obnoxious in the least, just super intelligent and wants the best for her father. She knows that he is not well and proceeds to “mother” him by leaving sticky note reminders all over the house and setting timers. Although it hurts her when he forgets her, she tries her best to understand and hides her own personal grief over the loss of her mother. That’s a whole lot for a little kid to handle, and you just want her father’s memories to be restored so that she can go back to being a happy-go-lucky child once again. Amanda Christine’s performance is so heartfelt and touching that your heart breaks for the character. She’s a scene stealer for sure.
Athie had a tough role to cover and when the plot twist hits it is so mind blowing that you would never believe it. The actor does a superb job by conquering the characters and it is amazing to see how he was able to switch back and forth during his performance. That’s all I am going to say about that because I don’t want to spoil the fun for you guys. Just trust me…it’s worth it!
Rashad as Dr Brooks sharpens her acting chops by using sweet maternal tones whilst still being able to provide that unsettling and uneasy feeling at the pit of your stomach. You know when you get that feeling that tells you something definitely isn’t right here!? Says a lot for the actress’ performance since I haven’t seen her in such a major role since Rocky-spin offs Creed (2015) and II (2018).
The film is a science fiction meets thriller think “Total Recall” meets “Get Out”. Nothing good can come out of letting somebody mess with your mind on that level. Although the story and performances can be a little uneven at times, it manages to hold your attention because once you start to see the story changing direction, your natural curiosity will get the better of you.
The tense atmosphere is created by some murky lighting and blurred out faces to represent a fractured memory. There is a menacing dark presence in the memory flashes that’s a bit unnerving. The special effects, while they are not fancy, are quite impressive for a low-budget film.
And Black Box kicks Nocturne out from the Blumhouse 8 number one position. Still have to see the rest of the anthology but for now it will sit comfortably here.
Alice’s Score: 8 out of 10
Dark Alice has an old soul and a curious mind. I believe that anyone can be a hero and that the good guys should always win! I dislike cruelty to animals and think that they have far superior qualities to humans. My motto is there is no future without the past. I also have a weird penchant for Paranormal TV shows even though the slightest sound makes me jump.
I enjoy writing reviews and throwing in fun facts to pique the readers’ curiosity. My ultimate goal in life would be to become a published writer one day. You can find me as Dark Alice Reviews on Facebook, my Instagram is alice_oscura and my Twitter handle is @lise_veliz2. For more on me you can click here.