Richard Kelly’s The Box Trailer

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Regardless of whether or not you thought Donnie Darko was a masterpiece, there doesn’t seem to be a heck of a lot of debate over Richard Kelly’s Southland Tales. You can admire the ambition and some of the ideas, but let’s face it… the movie was just a mess. A few years later, Kelly has regrouped with what appears to be a much simpler film, based on a short story by the late Richard Matheson (I Am Legend). The story, which was previously adapted as an episode of The Twilight Zone, centers on a couple (James Marsden and Cameron Diaz) who receive a mysterious box on their doorstep. They are told (by Frank Langella, no less) that if they press a button on the box, they will become rich… the catch is that a stranger, somewhere, will also die.

This seems like a morality tale that plays on some of the same themes that we saw last month in Sam Raimi’s Drag Me to Hell. However, it doesn’t seem to be a straight up horror flick, and based on some of the imagery in the trailer, I’m guessing there will be a little more to it than that. Either way, consider me intrigued. I like the premise, I just hope Kelly doesn’t overcomplicate things. Hopefully this will be one of the movies we get the chance to see at the Toronto Film Festival this September. The Box is scheduled to hit theatres on October 30th… will it redeem Richard Kelly, or put him further in the hole? Check out the trailer after the jump.



  • Southland Tales a mess? A beautiful mess maybe, methinks! How dare you!

    This looks good, much better than my initial reaction when hearing the premise of the film all those years back. Seems like this ones been in the hopper for quite a while. I would follow Richard Kelly into any theater at this point.

  • Theman

    Looks interesting for sure. I love the original story I’m curious to see how its expanded. Jay will probably love the fact that it looks like a period piece.

    And South land Tales wasn’t just a mess. It was complete shit also.

  • Raph

    It looks good however some parts look like a standard horror/thriller. The part with the father christmas looked great, kinda Donnie Darko-esque.
    I hope Richard Kelly can redeem himself with this.

  • The production values look terrible. Hopefully it looks better on the big screen then a low quality YouTube trailer.

    And I love Matheson, I just don’t know if Kelly is capable of putting out a quality film on his own.

  • David Wilson

    What camera are they using? Seems like a similar one to the one on Public Enemies. I hate unnecessary shaky cam.

  • Fatbologna

    This seems like a good turn for Kelly. He had his sophomore effort go completely awry but it seems like he had more ambition than experience on that one and maybe learned a thing or two from his missteps. A decreased scope should definitely help him reign in and focus his skills. I’m cautiously optimistic on this one.

  • Big Hungry

    I think this looks good too. I hope they make it more of a smart horror movie if that makes sense. I guess what I am trying to say is I hope they do not lean on gore to make the movie work or be scary – but that it works in a cerebral kind of way. Love the question posed about the button. Would you press the button?

  • The premise works well for a half hour Twilight Zone episode, but any longer and you risk losing the audience. The producers of TZ in the 60s came to this realization when they tried switching to an hour long format. I don’t necessarily subscribe to this theory, but I would think that people are even less patient nowadays.

    I’m a greedy misanthrope, but I still wouldn’t press the button. I would wonder at why someone would make that sort of offer. If someone had a gun pointed at my head or someone I cared about, I suppose I would press the button though.

  • Ndor

    I think that if the TZ episode had never been made, nobody would be thinking that the premise could not work as a full-length feature film. When I watched tht TZ episode it was poorly made, poorly acted, and didn’t pull me in at all. Quite a lot about the story/premise was left uninvestigated, such as who the “mysterious man” really is, who he works for, where he came from, why he chose this particular couple, etc, etc. There’s quite a bit to investigate within this short story. It’s a good jumping off point for any director or screenwriter who has the talent and creativity to do so.

    I also thought the production values actually looked impressive. I know Richard Kelly was impressed with the way “Zodiac” was shot and wanted to have a similar effect on recreating the late 70s the way Fincher did in recreating the late 60s. Hopefully he succeeded.

  • Ndor, you may be right in saying that “there’s quite a bit to investigate within this short story.” From what I’ve read of other people’s opinions, the problem is that when you start fleshing out the details, you end up diluting the original concept. For example, explaining who the “mysterious man” really is takes away from the viewer’s imagination and ultimately results in disappointment.

    As for putting trust in talented, creative screenwriters and directors, look at the Twilight Zone movie with segments from Landis, Spielberg, Dante, and Miller. This movie was a disappointment despite the talent involved. And they even kept the stories to short segments.

  • Connor G.

    I would have hit the button before the old dude left my house.

  • David

    “The late Richard Matheson?” Richard Matheson is still alive. You apparently don’t know anything or care to look it up before you go blogging. Why the hell would I trust your opinion on anything, now?

  • Uh… I meant late as in “often tardy”?