Black Box (2020)

Movie review by
Andrea Beach, Common Sense Media
Black Box (2020) Movie Poster Image
Compelling horror/thriller has disturbing images, violence.
  • NR
  • 2020
  • 100 minutes

Parents say

age 17+
Based on 1 review

Kids say

age 16+
Based on 2 reviews

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Stands out for positive role models.

Positive Messages

Overall messages are weak and issues aren't really explored in depth, but the value of family support and the close bonds of friendship are emphasized.

Positive Role Models

Even though he has amnesia, Nolan does the best he can to take care of his daughter Ava. His best friend Gary confirms that before he lost his memory, he was an exemplary dad and husband. Ava, who's in elementary school, is patient and understanding with Nolan, and even manages most household tasks. Best friend Gary is loyal and models good ways to support someone recovering from trauma. The all-Black main characters are positive representations of professionals with comfortable lifestyles. Nolan is a photographer, Gary is an orthopedist, and the expert in memory recovery who helps Nolan is a Black woman.


Very little blood, no gore, but plenty of disturbing imagery and a few jump scares. A human-like monster moves bent over backwards with limbs going in wrong directions and sound effects that suggest bones breaking. Past memories show people with no faces. The overall atmosphere is tense and menacing, emphasized by eerie music. There's a fistfight that implies severe punching to the face and hard kicks to the body. Afterward a bloody face is shown. A man physically abused his wife and child in the past, and a flashback shows one instance of him hitting his daughter. A man falling down hard wooden stairs to his death is shown, along with his body at the bottom with limbs at wrong angles. A couple struggles and one pins the other against a wall. A dream shows a man being choked by the monster. Bloody fingers imply a bleeding head wound.


"Bulls--t," "goddamnit."

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

A man has a pack of cigarettes; his daughter tells him he doesn't smoke. Later she smells cigarette smoke. No smoking is shown.

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.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written bymeydiana.rizki April 17, 2021

What the heck is this movie!!!!!

The title is kind of misleading because most people think of a Black Box as being something in an airplane for accidents information. Something like, "Who... Continue reading
Teen, 15 years old Written byLoranikas303 February 10, 2021
Trash! Edit: What is this thing on his head!? #HorrorMovieRants #horrormoviehaters
Teen, 13 years old Written bykuuhaku2u October 16, 2020

definitivamente , não é para crianças

há muitas cenas assustadoras nesse filme , e algum sangue , tambéma aparece. as crianças mais novas poderão ficar impressionadas

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?

Movie details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love scary movies

Themes & Topics

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