Review: Black Box

Blumhouse and Amazon Prime Video are teaming up for a series horror movies this October. One of the first films is the psychological thriller, Black Box.

Directed by Emmanuel Osei-Kuffour, Black Box tells the story of Nolan (Uncorked and Underwater’s Mamoudou Athie) a man that recently lost his wife and  his memory in a car accident. With the memory loss putting a strain on the relationship with his daughter (Amanda Christine), Nola undergoes an experimental treatment from a doctor (played by Phylicia Rashad) to help recover his memory.

The doctor puts a headset on Nolan known as the “black box”. While in the box reliving his memories, Nolan encounters a grisly creature. As the encounters with the creature during his sessions get more intense, Nolan starts to doubt his own memories and the life he’s living.

Black Box feels like an extended episode of Black Mirror and it’s not just because the device the doctor uses resembles one that was used in Black Mirror’s Black Museum episode. The sense of foreboding and the way technology is tied into Nolan’s nightmares is what makes this feel like part of the Black Mirror family – and that’s a good thing.

The engine that keeps this nightmare train on track is Mamoudou Athie. He’s an excellent actor and his skills are on full display. There’s one scene specific where Athie gets to flex is acting chops and it’s fantastic to watch. It’s the kind of scene you want in a horror/thriller. Athie is leading man material. It’s good to see him getting an opportunity to shine.

Amanda Christine is great as the young daughter, Ava. She perfect as a young child that’s mature enough to recognize her reality, and a child that just needs her father present. Ava and Nolan have some really great scenes together that will tug on your heartstrings, despite the tornado of chaos that surrounds them.

The story in Black Box will feel a little familiar. Plenty of sci fi films have played with similar ideas. Black Box does a great job hiding its hand until just the right time. After the reveal, Black Box changes from sci-fi thriller to a story about what people are willing to do for the people they love. The film is perfect for people that want something a little creepy and twisted that’s not going to pepper you with jump scares and gore.

Grade: B