Reviewed by Alicia Glass
Review Rating: 6
The ultimate in the great human experiment, a mysterious box is delivered to a financially struggling couple in the 70’s, and great drama and horror ensues.
This was an odd one, even for me. The entire movie is stuck in the 1970’s in Virginia, yet there is a good deal of modern expression and hairstyle and such used. So why, why was the director insistent on staying in the 70’s? Well, I would guess, that because in good old 2010 we have things like trackers and cell phones and such, and a lot of what happened in the movie simply would not happen now. It also could be that the entire movie is based off an old Twilight Zone episode called Button, Button, and they really wanted to stick with that feel.
So we have Cameron Diaz as wife and teacher Norma Lewis, her crippled foot from an earlier incident pains her and is expensive to try and treat. Arthur Lewis, played by James Marsden, works for NASA and designs cameras to be used on Mars. Or at least he did, he gets denied the job he really wants and is totally qualified for, which of course puts a strain on the young couple with one precocious child. And then one day soon after that, a man with a really terrible scar crossing his face shows up on the Lewis’ doorstep, offering a box with a button and a price – press it and two things happen: one, you’re awarded one million dollars, and two someone you don’t know somewhere in the world will die. (Which seems a little redundant to me, since somewhere someone in the world dies every three seconds.) And then we have Frank Langella, who plays Arlington Steward, deliverer of the box and the rules of the game. For some reason the movie seemed to insist on doing his burn scar using CGI, and it just looks off. Like they wanted to indicate part of his face was genuinely missing, but the computer wasn’t quite sure how to make it look real. Maybe it was on purpose?
If you pay attention to the subplot inside the main plot, what will happen to the Lewis family isn’t hard to figure out. The moral dilemmas presented throughout the course of the movie seem to be missing the leaning that movies generally make when presenting such a thing, like Langella’s character didn’t much care if the Lewises chose to kill eachother or someone else to make up for their mistakes, so long as there were consequences. Which, combined with a time period from before I was born, does not for an entertaining movie make.
The Twilight Zone movie was much better, than to take one episode and stretch it into an entire movie.