Director – Jon Keeyes (American Nightmare)
Starring – Johanna Stanton (Hit/Run), Nicholas Ball (Mutant Chronicles), and Debbie Rochon (Exhumed, Gallery of Fear)
Release Date – 2013
Rating – 3/5
Tagline – “woman wakes up in a strange remove with no memory of who she is or how she got there.”
One of the few complaints I have for indie horror is that many directors take on projects bigger than their experience and budgets allow. It is hard for an indie director to take a film with no budget and turn it into a film that has a very in depth story. Though is it not impossible for an indie film to be layered and in depth, it is however, very rare to encounter such a film. Budget truly dictates story and the amount of detail the director can give it. That is one of the few reasons I typically avoid the indie horror flicks that attempt to create that psychological thriller vibe.
That brings me to my next review for the film Nightmare Box. When I first heard about the film I had to see it because I honestly loved the fucking title. However, I could tell that this one was no straight forward horror and gore flick but I had to see it anyway. I reached out to the Facebook page for the film and they were kind enough to send me a screener and for that I think you very much!
**Spoiler Alert**The film follows a young girl, Jane Doe (Stanton), who awakens in a dark room filled with strange shit. Jane has no idea who she really is, where she is, or how in the fuck she got there. After a few moments of looking over the room she meets a few individuals that are strange in their own way. The people she encounter are able to leave the strange locked room while she is confined to the room unable to leave.
However, not all the people she encounters are polite. She meets two strangers, a male and female, who are rather abusive to her which makes her think she knows them personally. **Spoiler Alert**
When I first heard of Nightmare Box I was excited to see what a film with a title like that was all about. However, deep down I still had my doubts. Like I said earlier, I often avoid films that try to be “mindfucks” on a shoe-string budget. Very few directors have the talent, experience, and budget to pull them off but I can safely say that director Jon Keeyes was able to do so. Nightmare Box shows he had the talent and experience to pull it off even though he had hardly any budget. The film itself is not one I would call a “mindfuck” type of film like Shutter Island and Inception but it was definitely a very detailed and story rich film.
The acting in this one did leave me wishing the lead had more experience in front of the camera. She is very beautiful and shows a lot of promise but she made several key scenes just seem awkward to watch with her interaction with other characters. The rest of the cast did a great job in their roles which resulted in several memorable characters that truly deserved more on screen camera time. The story was very detailed and actually worked very well with the budget the film had. However, at times it did not feel that original. Anyone that has seen The Others and Carnival of Souls knows exactly what I am talking about. Also, the film does get dry at times making it rather difficult to follow.
Finally, those looking for tons of gore and blood will not find it here. Instead, this film uses claustrophobic atmosphere, suspense, haunting character interactions, and great storytelling to give the audience a great horror experience. Overall, Nightmare Box is a claustrophobic tale about the unknown that I recommend.