review by Bobby Blakey
Ever since they burst onto the screen with the sleeper hit Paranormal Activity in 2009 and has since become a juggernaut in horror delivering films including Insidious, Sinister, The Purge and Halloween. Now Blumhouse Television and Amazon Studios have teamed up to conjure Welcome to the Blumhouse, a collection of all-new, diversely-themed, brand-unified films that is taking the anthology concept and stepping it up to full length horror anthology films.
The plan is to release eight films with dual premieres on Amazon Prime Video with the first two films Black Box and The Lie available now. Black Blox stars Mamoudou Athie, Phylicia Rashad, Amanda Christine, Tosin Morohunfola, Charmaine Bingwa, and Troy James with Emmanuel Osei-Kuffour Jr. directing from a script written by Osei-Kuffour Jr. and Stephen Herman, but does it offer up something worth remembering or would you prefer to forget about it?
Black box follows a single father undergoes an agonizing experimental treatment that causes him to question who he really is after losing his wife and his memory in a car accident. I purposely avoided the trailers for any of these films because I wanted to go in with no expectations. My assumption of them being released throughout October was that they were in the horror genre, but that doesn’t seem to be the case with them all, but this one does play in that area via psychology.
The story here seems pretty straight forward with this young man dealing with loss in both loved ones and his mind. This sets up a scenario ripe for the perfect playing field to mess with your mind. As the story moves forward there seem to be more questions than answers which is exactly the point of its structure. What I really dug about this one was that there didn’t seem to be any real mystery initially, but as things unfold it goes a completely different direction than I had expected.
The cast is all great with Mamoudou Athie leading the charge and bringing all the confusion and emotion needed to deal with this role. On the other side is Phylicia Rashad in a role unlike anything I have seen her do and fits in to
perfection. Knowing nothing about this film made it work all the better since you have nothing to base its direction from and that makes it work. There are some great creepy visuals that I loved but its not playing for the scare route so make sure you go in knowing that it is more of a psychological thriller than a horror film.
Open your mind and check out Black Box streaming now on Amazon along with The Lie as part of the Welcome to the Blumhouse collection. Don’t forget the next two films coming up Nocturne and Evil Eye when they hit Amazon on October 13th.