Nutshell Review: Black Box
PG Score: 6.75/10
Black Box is available on Amazon Prime
Black Box is an above average sci-fi thriller that builds upon an intriguing and familiar concept. It is one of the four new Blumhouse horror movies hitting Amazon Prime this month. The plot centers on Nolan (Mamoudou Athie), a single father struggling to regain his memory following a car accident that killed his wife. After conventional medicine fails to yield any results, he undergoes a highly unorthodox treatment that forces him to question his very nature.
This is Director Emmanuel Osei-Kuffour’s feature film debut and all things considered, it’s a formidable first outing. He builds it up at a steady pace and gradually drops clues as to what’s occurring behind the veil. At times, this is a very clever flick that will keep you guessing. For the first half of the 100-minute runtime, it hides its hand pretty well. It encourages the viewer to spin their wheels in an attempt to piece together the unfolding mystery. However, this only lasts so long. In the second half, there is some minor dragging and the plot grows a little too predictable. It would be a spoiler to disclose what movie Black Box borrows the overarching idea from, but rest assured that once the can of worms is cracked, you’ll know immediately.
One of the highlights is Amanda Christine, who plays Ava, Nolan’s daughter. This is her first leading role and she maximizes her increased time onscreen. She has an abundance of talent and endless potential in a career that is just getting started. Phylicia Rashad and Tosin Morohunfola both supply solid performances in their respective roles. Unfortunately, it really feels like a miscast for the main character. Mamoudou Athie has some impressive performances under his belt but this surely isn’t one of them. Many of his lines are poorly delivered and his demeanor throughout comes across as unconvincing. This is not entirely his fault though as he just doesn’t seem like the right fit for the role.
Despite its shortcomings, Black Box is still a worthwhile addition to your Halloween watchlist. It’s not necessarily scary, but its grim exploration of a frightening idea make it a satisfying selection for this time of year.