The Box | Chicago Reader

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Horror, SciFi/Fantasy, Suspense/Thriller
For his third feature, Richard Kelly delivers neither a triumph (like his first, Donnie Darko) nor a travesty (like his second, Southland Tales) but a sure-handed genre piece that manages to wrap up before its plot mushrooms completely out of control. The best part is adapted from Richard Matheson's short story "Button, Button": a financially strapped couple (Cameron Diaz and James Marsden) receive a mysterious box from a decorous but disfigured stranger (Frank Langella) with instructions that, if they push the button inside it, they'll receive a million dollars but cause the death of a stranger. To this Kelly has grafted more generic sci-fi elements (relating to NASA's first Mars landing in June 1976), and though the result never approaches Donnie Darko's delicate balance of satire, poignance, and adolescent alienation, it recaptures every bit of its menace. PG-13, 116 min.
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Director: Richard Kelly
Writer: Richard Kelly and Richard Matheson
Producer: Sean McKittrick, Richard Kelly and Dan Lin
Cast: Cameron Diaz, James Marsden, Frank Langella, Basil Hoffman, Gillian Jacobs, James Rebhorn, Michele Durrett, Andria Blackman, Lisa K. Wyatt and Patrick Canty

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