Jovanka Vuckovic gets our minds racing in The Box.
“The Box” ***** stars
Written by Jovanka Vuckovic
Directed by Jovanka Vuckovic
*spoilers contained with*
“The Box” starts off seemingly innocent. Susan Jacobs (Natalie Brown) is a mom traveling home with her two children, Danny (Peter DaCunha) and Jenny (Peyton Kennedy) during the Christmas season while her husband Robert (Jonathan Watton) has dinner waiting. While they are on the train, a man in a black jacket and hat sits next to Danny with a red box. Danny asks the man what’s in the box. The man ignores him and Susan tells him to stop but eventually the man shows him. This leads to a drastic and unhealthy change in Danny’s behavior which spreads to Jenny and Robert.
Jovanka Vuckovic hit it out of the park with this short film. It was psychological, thrilling and heart-pounding. It was an exploration into what happens to a family when a child’s behavior suddenly changes without explanation. Susan and Robert get scared, upset and stressed. Robert yells at Danny to eat his food, causing Danny to cry and run away. Robert starts to cry because he knew he crossed the line, not out of anger or punishment, but out of fear. Susan puts on a calm face which Robert finds strange but it is easy to tell she is a wreck on the inside. The best part of the film was the mystery of the box. It is only seen once yet it caused all sorts of pain and heartache. They take Danny to Dr. Weller (Ron Lea) and he cannot figure out what is wrong other than suggesting Danny be seen by a therapist. The film truly set the tone for the rest of the night.
When Universal Monsters Universe was invited to the special screening of XX at Nitehawk Cinema, I was thrilled. The poster art was amazing and it is a horror anthology written and directed by four talented women filmmakers. My heart was pounding as the film started because I was expecting blood and monsters popping out of the dark. Instead, my heart wound up pounding in suspense. I wanted to know what caused Danny to behave the way he did. It also helped that I got to see the movie in the perfect movie environment. Nitehawk is an amazing place to eat, watch a movie and have a good time. The surrounding Williamsburg neighborhood (part of my old stomping grounds) has been rejuvenated and is filled with cafes, bakeries and other eateries. It is definitely worth checking out especially with the midnight showings of XX on Friday, February 17 and Saturday, February 18!
(Joe Grodensky – @JoeGrodensky)