Snuggle under the covers and bolt the doors and windows, the spooky season is upon us! If you’re a Nightmarish Conjurings reader, you’ve probably adopted Halloween as a state of mind and enjoy horror 365 days a year. Nevertheless, there’s something extra special about taking in the latest horror release on a dark October night. Amazon Prime Video and Blumhouse have teamed up to deliver some spooky new content with the WELCOME TO THE BLUMHOUSE series.
Sprinkled through October, Blumhouse is releasing four unsettling horrors on Amazon Prime. Boasting diverse casts and filmmakers in this original showcase of unique horror, there’s bound to be something for everyone in WELCOME TO THE BLUMHOUSE. Beginning on October 6, you can experience THE LIE and BLACK BOX. Here are our thoughts on the first two films of this series:
The only thing more disturbing than cold-blooded murder is the obscene privilege that covers it up in Veena Sud’s THE LIE. Written and directed by Sud, THE LIE stars Mireille Enos, Peter Sarsgaard, and Joey King. The remake of the 2015 German film, We Monsters, originally premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival in 2018.
Divorced parents Jay and Rebecca find themselves confronted with the unthinkable when their teenage daughter, Kayla, confesses to pushing her best friend off of a bridge. Distraught, they desperately scramble to cover up their daughter’s crime and find themselves becoming more and more entangled in their own web of lies. Things only become more disturbing as Jay and Rebecca go to increasingly dark places to hide the truth… and Kayla seems undisturbed by her own actions.
As a piece of twisted true crime, THE LIE works quite well. The small cast and its rock-solid performances carry the action at a brisk pace, working in a great deal of tension and frustration. I use the word “frustration” with a lot of intention because this film is frustrating, for reasons that both help and hurt the film.
Every character in THE LIE is so unlikable. It’s impossible to root for them. It’s impossible to feel sympathy for them. You desperately want them to get caught, but their privilege makes it all the more likely that they will get away with it. The emotional meat of the story is held within the irony of how increasingly bad decisions by these absolutely terrible people is actually what heals their family. It’s a disgusting display, but a deliciously twisted watch.
All of that being said, the film’s twist is so insanely unbelievable and sudden that it murders all credibility that has been established. It’s so out of left field that it takes the viewer out of the experience entirely. A really bittersweet thing, to lose THE LIE so close to the finish line.
THE LIE is elevated by an excellent cast and a sickeningly familiar premise, but cut down by its own attempt to shock and awe.
In BLACK BOX, a single father is struggling to regain his memory after surviving the tragic car accident that killed his wife. Try as he might, and with his young daughter’s help, he just can’t seem to reclaim who he is. Things only get stranger as he begins an agonizing experimental treatment and memories come flooding back to him, crystal clear… he just doesn’t recognize these memories at all.
BLACK BOX is directed by Emmanuel Osei-Kuffour Jr. and stars Mamoudou Athie, Phylicia Rashad, Amanda Christine, Tosin Morohunfola, Charmaine Bingwa, and Troy James.
In the case of BLACK BOX, the twist in this film not only works but it drives the entire film to the next level in terms of thrills and anxiety. The world of BLACK BOX is stifling, fascinating, and sinister. The performances of the incredible cast, paired with an unfolding mystery that intrigues and terrifies all at once, contribute to the arresting quality of the film. The tension is dialed up to 11 from start to finish.
The film takes its cues from an intersection of science fiction and horror, resulting in a watch that challenges the viewer while holding them in a vice grip. It’s a full-body and brain workout to sit for BLACK BOX, and that’s a rare and wonderful thing to experience! Absolutely phenomenal. To say more would be a disservice to viewers that are ready to be blown away by BLACK BOX.
THE LIE and BLACK BOX arrive on Amazon Prime Video on October 6, 2020.