Whoever pulled that trick off with The Box must be one skilled freak of nature because nothing about this film says "yeah, let's put $30 million into this!" It's an adaptation of a semi-obscure Richard Matheson short story that doesn't really have any action per se, it's not quite a horror film (it has its share of creepy moments but you couldn't call it outright horror), it's not what Hollywood thinks of sci-fi anymore (no giant robots), and oh yeah - it's a period piece set in the '70s.
So while The Box isn't likely to become a hit, my thanks go out to writer/director Richard Kelly for pushing all the right buttons with me. Sure, this probably could've used some tightening - The Box sags in the middle before snapping back for the climax - but I never felt impatient to get out of the world that Kelly had created. There's something innately comforting about the film's warm '70s vibe coupled with the weird conspiratorial atmosphere closing in around the lives of Arthur and Norma Lewis (James Marsden and Cameron Diaz). It's somehow eerie and homey at the same time and those are two things I like.
Some will undoubtedly find The Box to be a pretty package with nothing in it but it turned out to be just what I was looking for - a big scale Twilight Zone tale filled with moral quandaries, spaced-out sci-fi and '70s shout-outs. Click over to Shock Till You Drop for my full review.