When familiarity overcomes the senses and it's not for any observable rhyme or reason, like a gut dropping or a breakout of cold sweat, that's what opens the door for terror to creep in. Capturing that moment like a finish line snapshot, is emerging director Emmanuel Osel-Kuffour and his "Welcome to the Blumhouse" feature titled "Black Box" delivering a full force psychological thriller with a sizable dose of science fiction.
When we - used to - settle into our seats in theaters and surrender attention to a full serving of horror, it was often introduced with a Blumhouse Productions message. The company is responsible for famous titles such as "Insidious," the Academy awarded "Get Out," and, more recently, "The Invisible Man" over the years. Although the company primarily works with darker genres, in "BlacKkKlansman" and "Whiplash" their work in drama has received high recognition as well. Blumhouse and Amazon Studios have partnered for "Welcome to the Blumhouse" an anthological feature series, which begins with 4 titles exclusively streaming on Amazon Prime Video, releasing throughout the Halloween month. The partnership brings together directors from varying backgrounds, and puts them all under one roof. Not literally, but the central focus of family carries from one title to the next.
The story of "Black Box" follows Nolan's (Mamoudou Athie) role as a father to the sweet and authoritative young Ava (Amanda Christine). It's a balancing act of basic parenting mixed with an identity struggle after he experiences cerebral trauma from an accident. Nolan struggles with parenthood due to trauma-induced amnesia, and he's left further affected after experiments actualize the daytime visions he's been having. The reasons for certain uncanny moments at first may be unclear, but it's these parts that excite a viewer for explanation and payoff, which writer-director Emmanuel Osei-Kuffour delivers wonderfully.
Netflix's "Black Mirror" comes to mind when science fiction starts to depict a world that is nearly ours, save for a few sinister plotlines, along with a rollercoaster of story. Simple is the last word that could be used to define those stories, and the case is no different here. In 100 minutes what's delivered is a contained and complete thrill well suited for the "Welcome to the Blumhouse" series moniker. Thrill-seekers will quickly find themselves invested in Osei-Kuffour's "Black Box" streaming on Amazon Prime Video.
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