XX full movie review - Don't Look In The Box.
This is a wonderful concept four stories directed by four women - and in that respect, much kudos for the poster artwork, sexy Lip-Skull-Kiss.
I'll break this down into the four short films, but let me say that the Dark Fantasy, stop-motion, animation segue's that tie the stories together is superb and quite haunting, in its own right.
The Box -
Penned by Jack Ketchum is the best film of the four. Jovanka Vuckovic wrote the screenplay as well as directing the film. She does a good job of bringing a tenseness to the whole tale of a family going through a mysterious trauma after her son looks into an ambiguous present a stranger is holding, on his lap, on the subway train. From that moment on he stops eating.
Vuckovic did a good job of casting as all the actors and actresses in the story do a commendable job of portraying their characters, along with their feelings. Jonathon Watton is especially believable as the dad, Robert Jacobs, who is scared, angry, worried, and concerned for the safety and future of his son. Whereas his wife, Susan Jacobs, suitable portrayed by Natalie Brown, distances herself from the happenings and troubles in her family... until it's too late. Though one of best characterisations comes from Michael Dyson who is brilliant as the man on the train with the mysterious present; right from the moment he turns his head to look at the boy, you know this isn't going to end well. There's something dark and ominous about the man in the black fedora.
Liked this film a lot and though you never know what's in the box... I really don't want to find out.
The Box - 8/10
The Birthday Party -
This segment was written and directed by St. Vincent (AKA Annie Clark). For me, this is the weakest of the four stories and isn't even a horror story. What you have in this little story is a poor relative to "A Weekend At Bernie's", without the dark humour. A rich woman wakes up in her big house and is getting the place ready for her daughters birthday when she stumbles across the dead body of her husband, who she thought had been out all night. Instead of calling the police she decides to hide the body from their daughter and the nanny. What's worse is that if you didn't actually get the joke, Clark decides to literally spell it out to the audience in the way of a two-part chapter heading- this is when my heart sank even further. I won't even mention the characters except that a more unbelievable cast I have never seen.
The Birthday Party - 1/10
Don't Fall -
This is a strange title for the story as it has nothing to do with falling. What writer and director Roxanne Benjamin gives you is an action tale of possession. While out hiking, four friends come across a strange petroglyph on a rock. That evening one of their group goes missing... The bad thing about this story is there's no atmosphere, no feeling of terror or horror that something supernatural is occurring. There was plenty of instances within the story where Benjamin could have created tension but no she went for all out action. This was a waste of a story - it could have been so much more. The acting was average and the actresses who played Gretchen, Breeda Wool, made her too irritating.
Don't Fall - 5/10
Her Only Living Son -
Karyn Kusama is the writer and director of this bright tale of darkness. I liked the fact she tells most of this story about a boy's eighteenth birthday and his right-of-passage into more than just manhood out of the shadows of night and in the brightness daylight. This is a difficult thing to do as horror and tension lead itself to darker arenas. It's the strangeness of the characters and their actions, as well as some situations, that give the feeling something isn't quite right in this town. I would have liked a little more tension and oppressive feeling, given the ending and the reveal, but on the whole, Kusama does a good job. The characters are believable, I particularly liked the postman, Chet, portrayed well by Mike Doyle.
Her Only Living Son - 6.5/10
I would recommend this film for The Box and the segue, though only to die hard horror fans that can sit through the bad bits.