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Richard Kelly's involvement in the film came after the failure of ''Southland Tale'' cost him all of the creative capital he gained in Hollywood. While it retains his creative touches, in the expansion of the story, it was a box office flop and further sealed Kelly's fate as a flash in the pan director and writer. The film's suggestion that ''homicide is preferable to children having sensory disabilities'' was... not well-received, and the dissonance only grew as more stories of real-life murders of disabled people came to light.


The story (which uses the Twilight Zone rewrite as the starting point) starts out with a simple premise -- a married couple, Norma Lewis (Creator/CameronDiaz) and her husband Arthur (Creator/JamesMarsden), who's lives have hit a major skid. Arthur is a NASA scientist with dreams of becoming an astronaut (and looking forward to the bump in pay from being picked to go out into space) while Norma is a private school teacher with a mangled foot. Their son goes to the exclusive school Norma teaches at, with the family getting a huge discount on tuition due to Norma's status as an employee. However, as the film starts out, Arthur is informed that he been rejected from receiving astronaut training, permanently stalling any hope of career advancement at NASA. Worse, Norma is informed by her employer that the private school is getting rid of the discount employees receive on their children's tuition, meaning that their son would have to start going to public school.

Their dreams of social mobility dashed, they receive a sudden visit from a man with a severely burned face named Arlington Steward (Creator/FrankLangella). Despite his frightening appearance, Steward is cordial towards them even as he makes a disturbing proposition to them: The couple is given a simple box with a button on it. If they push the button within the next twenty-four hours, they will receive $1 million in cash while a person that they don't know somewhere in the world, will die.

The film follows the Twilight Zone version of the story, where Norma pushes the button over her husband's moral objections and the family gets the money. However, as he takes the box away from them, Steward gleefully reveals that he will soon reset the box and offer it to another couple, who in turn be made the same offer, with it implied that it may be Norma and Arthur who dies next when a stranger presses the button.

to:

The story (which uses the Twilight Zone ''Twilight Zone'' rewrite as the starting point) starts out with a simple premise -- a married couple, Norma Lewis (Creator/CameronDiaz) and her husband Arthur Lewis (Creator/JamesMarsden), who's lives have hit a major skid.upon unfortunate financial circumstances. Arthur is a NASA scientist with dreams of becoming an astronaut (and looking forward to the bump in pay from being picked to go out into space) while Norma is a private school teacher with a mangled foot. Their son goes to the exclusive school Norma teaches at, with the family getting a huge discount on tuition due to Norma's status as an employee. However, as the film starts out, Arthur is informed that he been rejected from receiving astronaut training, permanently stalling any hope of career advancement at NASA. Worse, Norma is informed by her employer that the private school is getting rid of the discount employees receive on their children's tuition, meaning that their son would have to start going to public school.

Their dreams of social mobility dashed, they receive a sudden visit from a man with a severely burned face named Arlington Steward (Creator/FrankLangella). Despite his frightening appearance, Steward is cordial towards them even as he makes a disturbing proposition to them: The couple is given a simple box with a button on it. If they push the button within the next twenty-four hours, they will receive $1 million in cash while a person that they don't know somewhere in the world, world will die.

The film follows the Twilight Zone ''Twilight Zone'' version of the story, where Norma pushes the button over her husband's moral objections and the family gets the money. However, as he takes the box away from them, Steward gleefully reveals that he will soon reset the box and offer it to another couple, who in turn be made the same offer, with it implied that it may be Norma and or Arthur who dies next when a stranger presses the button.



The remaining two-thirds of the film takes the story into a brand new MindScrew direction, worthy of Richard Kelly's previous works. It is revealed that the "death" caused by the box was a man that murdered his wife in a nearby town. It is then revealed, as Arthur tries to find out more about Arlington Steward, that Steward has ties to NASA itself and a network of minions, who like Norma and Arthur, took the money and murdered someone for cash. Pressing the button effectively dooms one to be a servant of Steward and his wife, who we learn are working for Martians. The "box" is one of many "SadisticChoice" scenarios that Steward and his alien masters are forcing humans worldwide to play, in hopes to decide whether or not humanity is worthy of being allowed to live.

Richard Kelly's involvement in the film came after the failure of "Southland Tales" cost him all of the creative capital he gained in Hollywood. While it retains his creative touches, in the expansion of the story, it was a box office flop and further sealed Kelly's fate as a flash in the pan director and writer. The film's suggestion that ''homicide is preferable to children having sensory disabilities'' was... not well-received, and the dissonance only grew as more stories of real-life murders of disabled people came to light.

to:

The remaining two-thirds of the film takes the story into a brand new MindScrew direction, worthy of Richard Kelly's previous works. It is revealed that the "death" caused by the box was a man that murdered his wife in a nearby town. It is then revealed, as Arthur tries to find out more about Arlington Steward, that Steward has ties to NASA itself and a network of minions, who who, like Norma and Arthur, took the money and murdered someone for cash. Pressing the button effectively dooms one to be a servant of Steward and his wife, who we learn are working for Martians. The "box" is one of many "SadisticChoice" scenarios that Steward and his alien masters are forcing humans worldwide to play, in hopes to decide whether or not humanity is worthy of being allowed to live.

Richard Kelly's involvement in the film came after the failure of "Southland Tales" ''Southland Tale'' cost him all of the creative capital he gained in Hollywood. While it retains his creative touches, in the expansion of the story, it was a box office flop and further sealed Kelly's fate as a flash in the pan director and writer. The film's suggestion that ''homicide is preferable to children having sensory disabilities'' was... not well-received, and the dissonance only grew as more stories of real-life murders of disabled people came to light.


Richard Kelly's involvement in the film came after the failure of "Southland Tales" cost him all of the creative capital he gained in Hollywood. While it retains his creative touches, in the expansion of the story, it was a box office flop and further sealed Kelly's fate as a flash in the pan director and writer.

to:

Richard Kelly's involvement in the film came after the failure of "Southland Tales" cost him all of the creative capital he gained in Hollywood. While it retains his creative touches, in the expansion of the story, it was a box office flop and further sealed Kelly's fate as a flash in the pan director and writer. \n The film's suggestion that ''homicide is preferable to children having sensory disabilities'' was... not well-received, and the dissonance only grew as more stories of real-life murders of disabled people came to light.


Added DiffLines:

* AdultFear: The final choice. Goes badly off the rails when the real-life writers of the film make the apparent statement that [[spoiler: a person with deafblindness would be better off if one of their parents murdered the other and went to prison rather than their child being disabled]].


* AdaptationExpansion: From five pages of story into one hour of television into two hours of cinema.
* AliensAreBastards: The reason they were given the box? It's [[spoiler: to determine whether humans are ultimately altruistic enough to be allowed to exist. [[HumanityOnTrial They choose to investigate]] by putting people in a situation where, if they choose poorly, they have to kill twice. Once for the button push, and a second time to "atone" for it with spousal murder in order to save their child, something never mentioned in the original "deal".]] Yeah, good job testing high moral standards while being less than upstanding yourselves. [[spoiler:If humanity does pass muster, you've got to wonder how exactly they'll be received by the public if these experiments come to light.]]
** Especially since the movie reveals the [[spoiler: Aliens deliberately interfere in their lives and careers]] to try forcing the subjects into pressing the button.

to:

* AdaptationExpansion: From five pages of story into one hour 20 minutes of television into two hours of cinema.
* AliensAreBastards: The reason they were given the box? It's [[spoiler: to determine whether humans are ultimately altruistic enough to be allowed to exist. [[HumanityOnTrial They choose to investigate]] by putting people in a situation where, if they choose poorly, they have to kill twice. Once for the button push, and a second time to "atone" for it with spousal murder in order to save their child, something never mentioned in the original "deal".]] Yeah, good job testing high moral standards while being less than upstanding yourselves. [[spoiler:If humanity does pass muster, you've got to wonder how exactly they'll be received by the public if these experiments come to light.]]
**
]] Especially since the movie reveals the [[spoiler: Aliens deliberately interfere in their lives and careers]] to try forcing the subjects into pressing the button.



* DisproportionateRetribution: Your wife made the choice to press the button. As a retribution, either you will have to kill her and go to jail (she's not even allowed to kill herself), or your child will be deafblind for life.
** Not to mention the "human extinction plan".

to:

* DisproportionateRetribution: Your wife made the choice to press the button. As a retribution, either you will have to kill her and go to jail (she's not even allowed to kill herself), or your child will be deafblind for life.
**
life. Not to mention the "human extinction plan".



* FriendsRentControl: Several people have pointed out that if the protagonists needed money, they could simply move from their massive house to a smaller place or sell one of their cars instead of fiddling with the murder box. However, you could argue that we were meant to see them as selfish jerks.
** This was averted in ''Series/TheTwilightZone1985'' adaptation of the story where the leads live in a really crappy apartment.

to:

* FriendsRentControl: Several people have pointed out that if the protagonists needed money, they could simply move from their massive house to a smaller place or sell one of their cars instead of fiddling with the murder box. However, you could argue that we were meant to see them as selfish jerks.
**
jerks. This was averted in ''Series/TheTwilightZone1985'' adaptation of the story where the leads live in a really crappy apartment.



* SadisticChoice: The obvious first one is bad enough--miss out on $1 million (and it's clearly shown they're not in good shape financially) or be responsible for someone's death. But it's the later one that really qualifies: [[spoiler: let your son spend the rest of his life deafblind, or shoot your wife dead where she stands and he'll be cured.]] The husband tries to TakeAThirdOption, i.e. shoot the one forcing him to make the choice, but that person explains that he would then suffer the consequences of both choices, that is to say [[spoiler: he'll still go to prison for murder and there'll be nobody to cure his son, and then]] those he answers will just send somebody else to replace the dead guy.
** And the last choice isn't even really in [[spoiler:the husband]]'s hands: [[spoiler:someone else has been given the button...]]
** Oddly enough, that's a ''good thing'', because [[spoiler: it means that our "altruism coefficient" goes up by demonstrating they're both willing to sacrifice to help their son. It's possible if he hadn't shot her Mr. Steward would have had someone else killed. Probably one of the mind-controlled people.]]

to:

* SadisticChoice: The obvious first one is bad enough--miss out on $1 million (and it's clearly shown they're not in good shape financially) or be responsible for someone's death. But it's the later one that really qualifies: [[spoiler: let your son spend the rest of his life deafblind, or shoot your wife dead where she stands and he'll be cured.]] The husband tries to TakeAThirdOption, i.e. shoot the one forcing him to make the choice, but that person explains that he would then suffer the consequences of both choices, that is to say [[spoiler: he'll still go to prison for murder and there'll be nobody to cure his son, and then]] those he answers will just send somebody else to replace the dead guy.
**
guy. And the last choice isn't even really in [[spoiler:the husband]]'s hands: [[spoiler:someone else has been given the button...]]
**
]] Oddly enough, that's a ''good thing'', because [[spoiler: it means that our "altruism coefficient" goes up by demonstrating they're both willing to sacrifice to help their son. It's possible if he hadn't shot her Mr. Steward would have had someone else killed. Probably one of the mind-controlled people.]]


''The Box'' is a 2009 science fiction/horror film based on the 1970 short story "Button, Button" by Creator/RichardMatheson. It was written and directed by [[Film/DonnieDarko Richard]] [[Film/SouthlandTales Kelly]], a story that had been previously adapted into a 1985 episode of ''Series/TheTwilightZone1985'', under the short story's original name, though with a different ending.

to:

''The Box'' is a 2009 science fiction/horror film based on the 1970 short story "Button, Button" by Creator/RichardMatheson. It was written and directed by [[Film/DonnieDarko Richard]] [[Film/SouthlandTales Kelly]], a story that had been previously adapted into a 1985 an episode of ''Series/TheTwilightZone1985'', under the short story's original name, though with a different ending.


* MindScrew: As NathanRabin put it best in [[http://www.avclub.com/article/what-the-holy-living-fuck-case-file-157-ithe-boxi-38738 his ''My Year of Flops'' entry on the movie]]: "''The Box'' doesn’t play fair. It begins with a relatively straightforward premise, then pulls the rug out from under the audience. [[RefugeInAudacity Then it pulls out the floor, demolishes the building, and drops an atomic bomb on the block.]]"

to:

* MindScrew: As NathanRabin Creator/NathanRabin put it best in [[http://www.avclub.com/article/what-the-holy-living-fuck-case-file-157-ithe-boxi-38738 his ''My Year of Flops'' entry on the movie]]: "''The Box'' doesn’t play fair. It begins with a relatively straightforward premise, then pulls the rug out from under the audience. [[RefugeInAudacity Then it pulls out the floor, demolishes the building, and drops an atomic bomb on the block.]]"


** This was averted in ''TheTwilightZone'' adaptation of the story where the leads live in a really crappy apartment.

to:

** This was averted in ''TheTwilightZone'' ''Series/TheTwilightZone1985'' adaptation of the story where the leads live in a really crappy apartment.


Their dreams of social mobility dashed, they receive a sudden visit from a man with a severely burned face named Arlington Steward (Frank Langella). Despite his frightening appearance, Steward is cordial towards them even as he makes a disturbing proposition to them: The couple is given a simple box with a button on it. If they push the button within the next twenty-four hours, they will receive $1 million in cash while a person that they don't know somewhere in the world, will die.

to:

Their dreams of social mobility dashed, they receive a sudden visit from a man with a severely burned face named Arlington Steward (Frank Langella).(Creator/FrankLangella). Despite his frightening appearance, Steward is cordial towards them even as he makes a disturbing proposition to them: The couple is given a simple box with a button on it. If they push the button within the next twenty-four hours, they will receive $1 million in cash while a person that they don't know somewhere in the world, will die.


[[quoteright:319:http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/thebox_1714.jpg]]

to:

[[quoteright:319:http://static.[[quoteright:350:http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/thebox_1714.jpg]]
org/pmwiki/pub/images/the_box.jpg]]


The story (which uses the Twilight Zone rewrite as the starting point) starts out with a simple premise -- a married couple, Norma Lewis (Creator/CameronDiaz) and her husband Arthur (Creator/JamesMarsden), who's lives have hit a major skid. Arthur is a NASA scientist with dreams of becoming an astronaut (and looking forward to the bump in pay from being picked to go out into space) while Norma is a private school teacher with a mangled foot. Their son goes to the exclusive school Norma teaches at, with the family getting a huge discount on tuition due Norma's status as an employee. However, as the film starts out, Arthur is informed that he been rejected from receiving astronaut training, permanently stalling any hope of career advancement at NASA. Worse, Norma is informed by her employer that the private school is getting rid of the discount employees receive on their children's tuition, meaning that their son would have to start going to public school.

to:

The story (which uses the Twilight Zone rewrite as the starting point) starts out with a simple premise -- a married couple, Norma Lewis (Creator/CameronDiaz) and her husband Arthur (Creator/JamesMarsden), who's lives have hit a major skid. Arthur is a NASA scientist with dreams of becoming an astronaut (and looking forward to the bump in pay from being picked to go out into space) while Norma is a private school teacher with a mangled foot. Their son goes to the exclusive school Norma teaches at, with the family getting a huge discount on tuition due to Norma's status as an employee. However, as the film starts out, Arthur is informed that he been rejected from receiving astronaut training, permanently stalling any hope of career advancement at NASA. Worse, Norma is informed by her employer that the private school is getting rid of the discount employees receive on their children's tuition, meaning that their son would have to start going to public school.


'''''The Box''''' is a 2009 science fiction/horror film based on the 1970 short story "Button, Button" by Creator/RichardMatheson. It was written and directed by [[Film/DonnieDarko Richard]] [[Film/SouthlandTales Kelly]], a story that had been previously adapted into a 1985 episode of ''Series/TheTwilightZone1985'', under the short story's original name, though with a different ending.

to:

'''''The Box''''' ''The Box'' is a 2009 science fiction/horror film based on the 1970 short story "Button, Button" by Creator/RichardMatheson. It was written and directed by [[Film/DonnieDarko Richard]] [[Film/SouthlandTales Kelly]], a story that had been previously adapted into a 1985 episode of ''Series/TheTwilightZone1985'', under the short story's original name, though with a different ending.


Added DiffLines:

No connection to 1967 cartoon short film ''WesternAnimation/TheBox''.


'''''The Box''''' is a 2009 science fiction/horror film based on the 1970 short story "Button, Button" by RichardMatheson. It was written and directed by [[Film/DonnieDarko Richard]] [[Film/SouthlandTales Kelly]], a story that had been previously adapted into a 1985 episode of ''Series/TheTwilightZone'', under the short story's original name, though with a different ending.

The story (which uses the Twilight Zone rewrite as the starting point) starts out with a simple premise -- a married couple, Norma Lewis (CameronDiaz) and her husband Arthur (Creator/JamesMarsden), who's lives have hit a major skid. Arthur is a NASA scientist with dreams of becoming an astronaut (and looking forward to the bump in pay from being picked to go out into space) while Norma is a private school teacher with a mangled foot. Their son goes to the exclusive school Norma teaches at, with the family getting a huge discount on tuition due Norma's status as an employee. However, as the film starts out, Arthur is informed that he been rejected from receiving astronaut training, permanently stalling any hope of career advancement at NASA. Worse, Norma is informed by her employer that the private school is getting rid of the discount employees receive on their children's tuition, meaning that their son would have to start going to public school.

to:

'''''The Box''''' is a 2009 science fiction/horror film based on the 1970 short story "Button, Button" by RichardMatheson. Creator/RichardMatheson. It was written and directed by [[Film/DonnieDarko Richard]] [[Film/SouthlandTales Kelly]], a story that had been previously adapted into a 1985 episode of ''Series/TheTwilightZone'', ''Series/TheTwilightZone1985'', under the short story's original name, though with a different ending.

The story (which uses the Twilight Zone rewrite as the starting point) starts out with a simple premise -- a married couple, Norma Lewis (CameronDiaz) (Creator/CameronDiaz) and her husband Arthur (Creator/JamesMarsden), who's lives have hit a major skid. Arthur is a NASA scientist with dreams of becoming an astronaut (and looking forward to the bump in pay from being picked to go out into space) while Norma is a private school teacher with a mangled foot. Their son goes to the exclusive school Norma teaches at, with the family getting a huge discount on tuition due Norma's status as an employee. However, as the film starts out, Arthur is informed that he been rejected from receiving astronaut training, permanently stalling any hope of career advancement at NASA. Worse, Norma is informed by her employer that the private school is getting rid of the discount employees receive on their children's tuition, meaning that their son would have to start going to public school.


* PopStarComposer: The score is by Win Butler and Regime Chassagne of ArcadeFire and Owen Pallett.

to:

* PopStarComposer: The score is by Win Butler and Regime Chassagne of ArcadeFire Music/ArcadeFire and Owen Pallett.


* DisproportionateRetribution: your wife made the choice to press the button. As a retribution, either you will have to kill her and go to jail (she's not even allowed to kill herself), or you child will be deafblind for life.

to:

* DisproportionateRetribution: your Your wife made the choice to press the button. As a retribution, either you will have to kill her and go to jail (she's not even allowed to kill herself), or you your child will be deafblind for life.



* GodIsEvil: if we take the assumption that "those who control the lightning" are godlike powers.

to:

* GodIsEvil: if If we take the assumption assume that "those who control the lightning" are godlike powers.


* DisproportionateRetribution: your wife made the choice to press the button. As a retribution, either you will have to kill her and go to jail (she's not even allowed to kill herself), or you child will be deaf and blind for life.

to:

* DisproportionateRetribution: your wife made the choice to press the button. As a retribution, either you will have to kill her and go to jail (she's not even allowed to kill herself), or you child will be deaf and blind deafblind for life.



* SadisticChoice: The obvious first one is bad enough--miss out on $1 million (and it's clearly shown they're not in good shape financially) or be responsible for someone's death. But it's the later one that really qualifies: [[spoiler: let your son spend the rest of his life deaf and blind, or shoot your wife dead where she stands and he'll be cured.]] The husband tries to TakeAThirdOption, i.e. shoot the one forcing him to make the choice, but that person explains that he would then suffer the consequences of both choices, that is to say [[spoiler: he'll still go to prison for murder and there'll be nobody to cure his son, and then]] those he answers will just send somebody else to replace the dead guy.

to:

* SadisticChoice: The obvious first one is bad enough--miss out on $1 million (and it's clearly shown they're not in good shape financially) or be responsible for someone's death. But it's the later one that really qualifies: [[spoiler: let your son spend the rest of his life deaf and blind, deafblind, or shoot your wife dead where she stands and he'll be cured.]] The husband tries to TakeAThirdOption, i.e. shoot the one forcing him to make the choice, but that person explains that he would then suffer the consequences of both choices, that is to say [[spoiler: he'll still go to prison for murder and there'll be nobody to cure his son, and then]] those he answers will just send somebody else to replace the dead guy.

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