A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
Stands out for positive role models.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Black Box (2020) is a horror/thriller movie that's not very gory or bloody, but has disturbing images and a dark, menacing atmosphere. Most disturbing is the human-like monster that walks bent over backward on all fours with limbs that bend in every direction along with the sounds of bones breaking. The monster attacks and chokes. There are also a few jump scares. A fistfight doesn't show any blows or kicks landing, but a severe beating is implied and a bloody face is shown afterward. Strong language is very rare and includes "bulls--t" and "goddamnit." A man has a pack of cigarettes and his daughter tells him he doesn't smoke. All main characters are Black and are positive representations of affluent professionals. There's not much in the way of overall takeaways, but strong bonds of family and friendship are emphasized.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
BLACK BOX (2020) tells the story of Nolan (Mamoudou Athie), recovering from a car crash in which his wife died. He has amnesia and is struggling to put his life back together and take care of his young daughter Ava (Amanda Christine). Nolan's best friend Gary (Tosin Morohunfola) encourages him to try experimental treatments with Dr. Lillian Brooks (Phylicia Rashad), so Nolan agrees to give it a try. But the more memories he starts to recover, the less he feels sure of himself and who he is. How far back must he go, and how deep must he dig, to finally learn the truth?
Is it any good?
Although it's a little uneven at times, this is a compelling horror movie with both sci-fi and thriller elements that will keep fans of the genre in their seats until the end. The imagined technique for memory recovery is interesting and inventive. That, the strong cast, the bizarre and disturbing images, as well as the underlying tension, give a lift to an otherwise familiar story. Some viewers may guess the plot twist, others may be surprised, but once it's revealed, the outcome is never in any doubt.
On the plus side, Black Box is refreshingly free of sexual content and alcohol use. There are lots of positive representations for Black viewers -- young Amanda Christine can be quite a scene stealer. Disturbing images, some blood, and menacing implications of violence make it best for older teens and up.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the violence in Black Box (2020). How much is too much? Does it matter if it's gory or not? Why or why not?
Why is it important to see different types of people and different skin colors represented in media? How do you feel when you see a character you can identify with? What can you learn about people who are different from you?
Why are scary movies so popular? What do we like so much about them? What are some of your favorites?
- On DVD or streaming: October 6, 2020
- Cast: Mamoudou Athie, Phylicia Rashad, Tosin Morohunfola
- Director: Emmanuel Osei-Kuffour
- Studio: Amazon Prime Video
- Genre: Horror
- Topics: Friendship, Misfits and Underdogs, Monsters, Ghosts, and Vampires
- Run time: 100 minutes
- MPAA rating: NR
- Last updated: October 22, 2020
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.
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