Black Box (2020) reviews and overview of sci-fi horror on Amazon

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[Total: 96   Average: 3/5]

‘There is no escape from who you really are’

Black Box is a 2020 American science-fiction horror feature film about a man with amnesia trying to cope after losing his wife in a car crash. He undergoes an agonising experimental treatment that causes him to question who he really is.

Directed by Emmanuel Osei-Kuffour Jr. from a screenplay co-written with Wade Allain-Marcus and Stephen Herman, the movie stars Mamoudou Athie, Phylicia Rashad, Amanda Christine and Tosin Morohunfola.

Black Box is part of ‘Welcome to the Blumhouse’, a series of four films that are available to watch on Amazon Prime. The others are: The Lie | Nocturne | Evil Eye

Reviews:

” …it’s a solid effort worth a watch (maybe two, to catch all the pieces missed the first time around). If you’re looking for blood and mayhem, this won’t quench the lustmörd, but if you’re in the mood for serious, creepy, atmospheric tension (the sinister contortionist creature will get your skin crawling), you’re in for a treat.” Critical Blast

Black Box isn’t a ‘knock your socks off’ thriller full of epic events and spectacular shocks. It’s not designed to be. It’s just straight science-fiction, no chaser. Its no-frills approach to quiet chills anchored on family trauma make it a compelling little ride that’s ideal for a quick hit of eerie, sometimes sentimentally sweet, entertainment.” Culture Crypt

“Most of the third act is less character-rooted than it is plot-device driven. Thankfully, in the end ‘Black Box’ elegantly finds a way to balance innovative storytelling and compelling character-driven drama. Black Box is a wildly creative work of science fiction, rooted in a story of people frozen in their lives, trying to find a way forward.” Escape Into Film

” …Osei-Kuffour Jr. is able to conjure up more than a few disturbing moments – everything involving the mysterious twitchy man is great, aided by effective sound design full of rattling bones – Black Box loses steam rather quickly. Part of the problem is that it gives its game away far too soon…” /Film

“The borrowed plotline lands shakily, derailing the rest of the film, which holds promise as a solid drama about the ways human connections can fray and be rebuilt. Athie pulls off a stunning tightrope act, but his character’s struggle to establish an identity mirrors the film’s eventual inability to crawl out from under the weight of Get Out.” Film Companion

“Once the horror atmosphere dissipates and the story turns to fixing the past, erasing the sins of the fathers and preserving the bond of a father and daughter held together by grief, the needling tension gives way to more standard telemovie entertainment […] Osei-Kuffour Jr.’s restraint as a director keeps the scare factor to a minimum.” The Hollywood Reporter

“Overall, the premise of Black Box and the ideas it poses about memory and identity feel very much like an expanded version of something out of Black Mirror […] The heart of the story is the love between a father and daughter, and the film delivers from every angle, from acting to directing to sound design.” Killer Horror Critic

“Without the scares and the carefully cultivated tension of the early going, something is lost, and the film doesn’t quite hold together until the end. It never totally lost my interest, though, and I was curious about what might happen all the way through. For a debut, Black Box is highly promising lo-fi sci-fi…” Ready Steady Cut!

“The note-posting and body-writing may totally recall Memento, but Black Box also swims in waters populated by iconic J-horror visuals and a touch of Get Out‘s “sunken place.” […] It’s not a new idea, and Black Box doesn’t blaze any new trails revisiting it. But it is committed to the viability of the journey, and finds its greatest success in engagement rather than surprise.” UK Film Review

Black Box is a hugely gripping outing featuring numerous impressive performance. Osei-Kuffour Jr puts an inventive twist on the genre, with an intriguing ending which will leave you speculating long after the credits roll.” We Have a Hulk

Cast and characters:

Mamoudou Athie … Nolan
Phylicia Rashad … Lillian
Amanda Christine … Ava
Tosin Morohunfola … Gary
Charmaine Bingwa … Miranda
Donald Elise Watkins … Thomas (as Donald Watkins)
Troy James … Backwards Man
Nyah Marie Johnson … Ashley
Najah Bradley … Rachel
Betsy Borrego … Assistant
Andrea Cohen … Ms Everts
Justin David … Student
Scott Green … Reporter
Gretchen Koerner … Cathy
Han Soto … Doctor Reed
Ronald Joe Vasquez … Parent

Filming locations:

New Orleans, Louisiana

Technical details:

100 minutes

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