Black Box (2020)

black box poster 2020 movie
6.5 Overall Score
Story: 6/10
Acting: 7/10
Visuals: 7/10

Fresh new faces, different feel to a horror film

Feels like a long episode of Black Mirror

Movie Info

Movie Name: Black Box

Studio: Blumhouse Productions

Genre(s): Horror/Sci-Fi/Fantasy

Release Date(s): October 6, 2020

MPAA Rating: Not Rated

black box mamoudou athie amanda christine

Dad…I hate being the adult in this relationship

After a traumatic accident that killed his wife and left him a single father, Nolan (Mamoudou Athie) is struggling to regain his lost memories from before the accident.  With his daughter Ava (Amanda Christine) in need of him, Nolan goes to a specialist named Lillian (Phylicia Rashad) who offers to help restore his lost memories.  Nolan begins to see his past, but everything seems alien to him…they don’t feel like his memories.  Who is Thomas (Donald Watkins)?

Written and directed by Emmanuel Osei-Kuffour Jr., Black Box is a science-fiction horror movie.  The film is part of the Welcome to the Blumhouse horror movie anthology released on Amazon Prime.

I always look for new horror, especially in October.  The Welcome to the Blumhouse anthology of films provided a group of new horror movies and different voices.  While Black Box isn’t the best movie ever, it does have an original and different feel.

black box wedding scene monster

I told you we shouldn’t have invited a demonic contortionist to the wedding

The movie feels largely like a long Black Mirror episode instead of a horror film.  The movie is predominantly science fiction in themes (identity and missing memories), but there are horror aspects in the elements of the creature in the memories of Nolan (who moves like something out of The Conjuring).  The film also has a bit of a Get Out feel with Nolan entering a nether space that he lives is forced into when Thomas takes control.

The cast is rather fresh faced which is nice.  Mamoudou Athie gets the meaty role of essentially playing two people in one body which means he can have different personality traits…which isn’t used enough in script.  He has a bit of an Adam Driver thing going on in his performance.  Amanda Christine feels like other child actresses who have that precocious too-intelligent-for-their-age manner of speaking.  Donald Watkins should have had more scenes as the “squatter” Thomas, but the real odd part of the film is seeing “everybody’s mom” Phylicia Rashad as the bad guy and in a movie that doesn’t feel like her typical role.

black box mamoudou athie phylicia rashad

Claire Huxtable…why are you doing this to me?!?!

The movie is shot rather simple.  It doesn’t push the boundaries of cinematography to tell the story, and it feels like there could have been more “tech” aspects to the movie.  If it had been more tech, it would have overruled the plot.

Black Box despite some originality and new voices is rather slow and methodical.  The movie does take some different paths then I thought it would near the end and that is always a surprise since the more movies you watch, the more jaded you often get in predicting the outcome of a film.  Don’t go into Black Box expecting to be wowed or terrified, but you can go for a different feel to a horror film.

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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