The Box

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The Box
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IMDb: 5.6
In July 1976, the NSA Deputy Director receives  an incredibly important memorandum from NASA's   Mars project, confirming they were able to  resuscitate patient Arlington Steward, who's   been released from the burn unit and taken to  an undisclosed location. Since then, the patient   has constructed a device of unknown purpose and  has been delivering it to private residences.   Five months later, in Virginia, Arthur and Norma  Lewis are woken up at almost 6 am by the doorbell.   By the time Norma makes it to the door, she  gets to see a black car leaving and finds a   plain box at their porch. They decide to open  it while having breakfast with their son Walter   and inside they find a wooden box with a button  on it that can only be accessed through a key.   There's also an envelope with a note that says  Mr. Steward will call them at 5 pm, but they don't   know anyone with that name. The family leaves  for the day then. Walter goes to school, and   Norma goes to her teaching job, where her student  Charles asks her why she limps and to show them   her foot. Seeing as she is being called out in  front of the class, Norma takes off her boot and   sock and shows everyone how deformed her foot is.  Afterward, she's summoned by the school principal,   who tells her they will no longer provide the  faculty discount for her son's tuition as his   nose starts bleeding. This news greatly distresses  her, because her family is already living paycheck   to paycheck. Arthur, meanwhile, goes to his job  at NASA. After watching a press conference about   what the spacecraft Viking 1 found on Mars, for  which he designed the camera, he goes to the labs,   where he continues to work on a prosthesis for  Norma's foot. He's suddenly interrupted by one of   his bosses, Norm Cahill, who brings him a letter  with the results of his astronaut application:   he's been rejected because he hasn't passed the  psychological exam. Everyone thinks this is rather   strange. When Norma returns home, she receives a  visit from a man with the side of his face burned:   it's Mr. Steward, who is here to explain the  purpose of the box. He hands her the key that   opens the lid that covers the button and says  that if Norma presses it, two things will happen:   someone in the world they don't know will  die, and she will get one million dollars,   tax-free in cash. As proof of his intentions,  he gifts her a one hundred dollar bill before   detailing the rules: he isn't allowed to  disclose any information about the identity   of his employers, Norma isn't allowed to discuss  the details of this with anyone except Arthur,   and she has twenty-four hours to make  her decision. At five pm the next day,   Steward will come to pick up the box, which  will be reprogrammed and taken to a new family.   Before Norma can ask any more questions though,  Steward just gets in his car and leaves.   Some hours later, Arthur returns home and after  the couple shares their bad news with each other,   Norma tells him about Steward and the box.  Unable to agree on what to do, they leave the   box in their safe before leaving for the theatre  while Walter stays with his babysitter, Dana. But   even at the theatre, they can't stop thinking and  discussing the box, unaware someone is watching   them. So when they return home, they grab the box  and inspect it more closely, until Arthur manages   to open its base and discovers it's empty inside,  which makes them wonder how could someone know   if the button gets pressed at all. If they don't  decide quickly and solve their financial problems,   Norma will have to cancel her foot surgery.  The next day, one of Arthur's coworkers,   Jeffrey Carnes, receives a call from his wife to  tell him she saw a woman being kidnapped while   she was in the grocery store. Jeffrey tells her  to go home and lock all the doors, unaware he is   being watched from afar by the same person that  has been following Arthur and Norma. After work,   Arthur takes the one hundred dollar bill back to  Norma and informs her the tests he's run confirm   the bill is real, so after some discussion,  Norma goes ahead and pushes the button.   In another part of the city, the cops arrive at  a house after the neighbor called 911 to report   some screaming and a gunshot, they find a dead  woman and a little girl locked in the bathroom.   Moments later, Steward visits the Lewis and  gives them a suitcase with the million dollars   before leaving with the box, which he'll take to  a new person they don't know. Arthur follows him   to the car and tries to give him the suitcase  back, but Steward ignores him and drives away.   The couple gets to see his license  plate though, and they write it down.   At the police station, Norma's father, Dick  Burns, is working on the dead woman's case.   They find out she's Jeffrey's wife, but Jeffrey  himself is nowhere to be found, although some   witnesses saw him run out of the house after the  gun was shot. Later that night, Arthur gives Norma   the prosthesis he's made, which fits her perfectly  and allows her to walk without pain or limping.   Afterward, they go to the rehearsal dinner of  Norma's sister's wedding, where Charles is working   as a waiter. Norma's parents are raffling  the donated gifts for the holiday season,   and the first winner is Arthur, who chooses  the plain brown box, which looks like the one   Steward left them, after Charles flashes him the  peace sign. He takes it with him to the table and   opens it with Norma, finding inside a picture of  Steward from when he still had his whole face.   Moments later, while having a drink  with Charles, Arthur gives him Steward's   license plate number so he can use his police  resources to find out who this man really is.   He also cannot help noticing how Charles keeps on  watching him so he asks another guest about him,   getting upset when he hears this kid  embarrassed his wife in front of the class.   Meanwhile, a waiter with a bleeding nose tells  Norma she has a phone call. It's Steward,   who tells her there will be consequences  for having asked the police about his car.   After hanging up, Norma rushes out of the room  when she hears some noises outside: it's Arthur,   who is aggressively confronting Charles for what  he said to his wife. Not wanting to make a scene,   she pulls him away and asks him to go home, but  when they get in the car, they find the words "no   exit" written on their window and Charles flashing  the peace sign at them again. Back in the house,   Dana is doing her best to entertain Walter  while ignoring the shadows outside the window,   and they both fall asleep by the time his parents  come back. Arthur offers to drive her to her   place, and she tells him she's staying in a motel  before she starts making cryptic comments that   suggest she may know what he's going through. When  Arthur asks her for advice, she responds "to look   into the light" then passes out with a bleeding  nose. Trying to find some information to help her,   Arthur looks inside her bag and finds an ID that  says her name is actually "Sarah Matthews", which   he puts away in his pocket as Dana wakes up and  starts freaking out, telling him he needs to leave   because it's not safe for him there. When she  enters the motel, every guest comes out to stare   at her as she makes her way to her room, where she  keeps a big board with a map and pictures of the   Lewis family. The guests then go to the motel  pool to stare at the water. Arthur returns to   Norma and tells her Dana has lied about her name  and the place she's from, and Norma explains this   is what Steward probably meant when he said he  has "employees" that can tell him what they do.   While looking at Steward's picture, Arthur  realizes he's seen him before and rushes   to look at a poster of the first Viking trip to  Mars: Steward is there as one of the workers of   the mission. The next day, Steward calls Norma  to warn her about possible consequences again.   Norma asks him to meet in person and when  Steward tells him he's in his backyard,   Norma notices a random man outside, staring at her  with his mouth open. Steward hangs up on her at   his hidden office behind NASA's wind tunnels. One  of the NSA employees goes to see the NASA bosses   to demand even more things, this time asking for  the hangar and the lunar lander for activities he   isn't allowed to explain but that will involve  NASA employees. Cahill isn't happy with this,   but he has no choice but to accept. Arthur  visits Dick at the police station to see if   he has any news about the license plate, which  turns out belongs to an NSA car. When Arthur   sees the pictures of Jeffrey's wife and hears she  died at the same time they pressed the button,   he asks Dick to take him to the crime scene. At  Jeffrey's house, Arthur finds a picture of Steward   and something called "Human Resource Exploitation  Manual" with some numbers under it, so he steals   the picture for himself while Dick isn't looking.  Meanwhile, Norma is shopping with his mother when   a woman approaches her and tells her the NSA is  letting "him" do it, that NASA can't stop him,   and that the subjects are all under 40, happily  married with a child. The woman also gives her   a note with a number that Norma should follow  when going to the Richmond Library and tells her   not to trust anyone, not even her husband, before  passing out with a bleeding nose. Both Norma and   Arthur go to the library to see where the numbers  they got take them. Norma finds a recording of the   NASA hangar and the damage caused by the lightning  that struck months ago, there's also a clip of a   NASA press conference Steward attended before  the tragedy. After watching the whole video,   Norma is guided by two women to where Steward  is waiting for her for a chat. He tells her that   since he got struck by lightning, he's been in  communication with those that control it, he also   wants to know what Norma felt the first time she  saw his face, because he thinks it probably was   pity. Norma's answer, however, is love, because  she knew how much pain disfigurement could cause   in someone's life, but at least she could keep her  hidden, while he had to carry his on his exposed   face. After seeing him, Norma would never feel  sorry for herself again. Surprised by her words,   Steward asks her to take his hand, and when she  does, she falls unconscious. Arthur finds a book   about lightning and a newspaper article about  the time a NASA employee got struck by lightning,   and as he leaves the room with it, he starts  being followed by a group of library guests.   He tries to leave through the reading room, but  the people there also stand up to look at him,   and his way is blocked by Steward's wife, Clymene,  who tells him the library is for employees only   and that they are all being tested. Then she takes  him to another room where three gateways await on   the floor - Arthur must choose carefully because  only one is the path to salvation and the other   two take you to eternal damnation. Clymene extends  her hand and starts bleeding as she activates the   gateways, which become three columns of water, and  Arthur doesn't hesitate to choose number two as he   remembers what Charles signed to him during the  party. As soon as he touches the gateway, Arthur   is absorbed by white light and, moments later, he  and the water show up in his room, floating above   a sleeping Norma, who wakes up right before her  husband and the water fall on the bed with her.   Walter comes to check on them and while cleaning,  he tells Norma that last night she arrived home   while looking like a zombie and didn't say  anything, just went straight to bed. Meanwhile,   Cahill secretly meets with the NSA employee,  who tells him Steward got hit by lightning five   months ago and the reason why NASA never heard  of him again is that he's something else now.   He died after the accident, but several hours  after he was taken to the morgue and locked   in a freezer, a nurse heard him laugh, so he was  transferred to a high-security military hospital.   Since then, he has been demonstrating some  extraordinary capabilities, like healing   faster and halted cellular deterioration. Unknown  to them, Steward hears the whole conversation.   Later, when asked by the NSA employee why he  chose a box, he explains that homes, cars,   and TVs are boxes, and they all erode the soul and  the body, which is also a box that when it dies,   is put in yet another box. Steward's tests  can be passed by not pressing the button,   and these tests will be what will help  his employers decide the fate of humanity.   Nearby, all employees like Dana are being guided  into a white light to prepare for another test in   Massachusetts Later at night, the Lewis family  goes to Norma's sister's weddings, and while   dancing, Arthur describes the light to Norma as "a  warm embrace, not here or there, but something in   between, with no despair in the human heart". As  always, they're being followed by Steward's men,   but when Arthur starts feeling sick and goes  outside, it isn't an employee that gets in   his way: it's Jeffrey. Threatening him with a gun,  Jeffrey tells him it's too late for him but Arthur   can still save himself and gets him in the truck  with him. Walter and Norma, noticing he's missing,   try to go after him, but a group of men arrive  and kidnap them both. In the truck, Jeffrey shows   Arthur some classified documents that said people  with frontal lobe hemorrhage cannot be treated as   employees - this is Steward's weakness, he hasn't  found a way to get into people's minds without   them noticing. He has all important agencies  like the FBI under his control, but he can be   killed. They've taken Arthur's son to the motel  the same way they took Jeffrey's daughter, and   he's being lowered into the pool, which is another  gateway. Jeffrey had to kill his own wife for the   sake of his daughter, who went through the same  thing and Steward made him choose between them.   The truck comes to a stop when they find a  man dressed a Santa Claus blocking the road,   and they're suddenly hit by another vehicle,  revealing Santa to be one of the employees.   When the police arrive, however, they  only find Jeffrey's body inside the truck.   Arthur suddenly finds himself leaving a NASA  hangar, and waiting there for him is Cahill, who   tells him whatever he does next will have greater  ramifications than he can possibly imagine.   Arthur and Norma are taken back to their home,  where Steward is waiting for them with a final   test. He's locked Walter in the bathroom  after he's been stricken blind and deaf,   and now his parents must choose between two  options: living the rest of their lives enjoying   their money and dealing with a disabled son, or  Arthur can kill Norma, which will give Walter his   senses back and the money will be put into an  account he can access when he turns eighteen.   Furious, Arthur grabs the gun Steward has given  them for the test and points it at his head,   but Steward explains it's pointless: killing  him will only put Arthur in prison under a story   nobody will buy and someone else will be sent  to replace him. After Steward leaves, the couple   rushes to the bathroom, but it's locked and they  don't dare to kick the door down because Walter is   on the other side, unable to hear them and move  away. Norma decides that she can't see Walter   like this, so she asks Arthur to shoot her. After  kissing passionately, Arthur pulls the trigger,   and Norma dies at the same time another couple  in the neighborhood pushes the button on the box.   Arthur returns to the bathroom door to talk to his  son, but he only gets to hear him call out for him   before the cops arrive and take him away. Instead  of being sent away in a police car, however,   he's put inside the NSA's black car, and Cahill  tells Arthur not to worry because he'll take good   care of Walter, who is now looking at him through  the window with his recovered senses. Meanwhile,   Stewards retrieves the box from the other family's  house, ready to hand it out to someone new.
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