Box art for The Box

The Box

drama, horror, sci-fi & fantasy, thrillers

What if someone gave you a box containing a button that, if pushed, would bring you a million dollarsbut simultaneously take the life of someone you don't know?

Rotten Tomatoes® scores

  • Critic Score
  • Audience Score

common sense

PAUSE for kids age 13
2 out of 5
Drinking, drugs, & smoking
2 out of 5
2 out of 5
Positive messages
0 out of 5
Positive role models
0 out of 5
2 out of 5
3 out of 5

Creepy thriller too confusing for kids, awful for adults.

what parents need to know

Parents need to know that this Cameron Diaz thriller from the director of Donnie Darko is based on a macabre premise: that human beings would rather win money than protect a stranger's life. It's too confusing and intense for tweens and young teens, and, in addition to the cloud of violence hovering over the entire movie, there are several disturbing images, including an upsetting disfigurement; two women being killed at close range; people who have eerie, unexpected nosebleeds; a fatal car accident; and gun violence. The swearing is fairly mild (one use of "s--t" is as strong as it gets), the sexuality is limited to the main couple kissing passionately and embracing, and the drinking is mostly social and done by adults. Still, most kids won't want to bother figuring out the movie's dark themes and puzzling plot.

what families can talk about

  • Families can talk about what the movie's experiment says about human nature. Is money more important than a stranger's life?
  • What would have you done given the same choice? Was what happened after the characters "hit the button" predictable?
  • Do movies have to be believable or relatable to be entertaining?

movie reviews from Rotten Tomatoes®

  • Tomatometer®

    reviews counted: 30
    see all The Box reviews
  • Audience


Top Critic Reviews

Fresh: I think that Richard Kelly, from one film to the next, has gone in some very interesting and sometimes puzzling directions.

- A.O. Scott, At the Movies, Monday, November 9, 2009

Rotten: Kelly treats what is essentially a Stanford University psychology experiment with inflated somberness.

- Ann Hornaday, Washington Post, Saturday, September 24, 2011

Rotten: Have you ever actually tried watching paint dry? A sloth walk? Grass grow? You can have all the thrills with none of the chills courtesy of The Box, the painfully sluggish new sci-fi morality play from Donnie Darko creator Richard Kelly.

- Betsy Sharkey, Los Angeles Times, Thursday, November 5, 2009

Audience Reviews

1 star


- stuartb1234, Sunday, January 13, 2013

2 stars

A 'close but no cigar' adaptation of Richard Matheson's work. I like the story and written in its original form it's brilliant. The problem is that Richard Kelly, one of the most over-hyped Directors working today, tried to tell the whole story when he should have edited it for the screen. The phrase 'Less is more' rings true here as after the hundredth twist neither myself or my wife gave a toss about the characters or what would happen to them. You can't draw in an audience with a simple premise and then bombard them with Aliens, 'Lightning people', Body-snatching, mind control etc etc. It was like a season of The Twilight Zone condensed into 100 minutes. It does look though and I did like many of the ideas. Frank Langella was brilliant as the creepy half-faced Arlington Steward and the supporting cast, especially the late James Rebhorn, gave a realistic feeling to the fantasy. Unfortunately Cameron Diaz and James Marsden let the whole production down, neither of them bring anything of substance or intrigue or indeed believability to the story and were obviously hired for their names/looks. A different pair of actors would have improved the film no end in my opinion. In conclusion, this is a real missed opportunity and maybe better suited to a mini-series rather than a film.

- SirPant, Thursday, April 10, 2014

3 stars

This could have been a lot better....If they just kept it simple. Cause the beginning and the end is really good....But the middle part with the guy being struck by lightning and coming back to life...and all that supernatural stuff (I can't really remember)...that was just too much....Keep it simple....

- TheGame90, Monday, November 29, 2010