What's In The Box?

Last night I watched ‘Super 8’, written and directed by J.J. Abrams and produced by Steven Spielberg. It is set in 1979 and centres on a train crash in a little Ohio town. Something mysterious is contained in one of the freight containers, that escapes and is witnessed by a group of kids making an amateur zombie film with a Super 8 camera. Many people haven’t seen ‘Super 8’ yet, so I won’t review the film here. In the past, I’ve felt that Abrams struggles with his endings: I’ll let you decide whether he suffers the same in ‘Super 8’ or whether he knocks it out of the park. What I will say is that Abrams’ script gives the young cast lots to work with and that the actors (Joel Courtney, Riley Griffiths, Ryan Lee, Gabriel Bosco, Zach Mills and particularly Elle Fanning) do a fantastic job.



‘Super 8’ firmly falls into the ‘What’s in the Box?’ film category. This got me thinking about other great ‘What’s in the Box?’ film scenarios. Here’s my Top 5. Beware – spoilers follow.


5) The Omen
Gregory Peck, Lee Remick and Patrick Troughton battle the Antichrist in a bleak 1976. Peck suspects his child isn’t his own and has been swapped with another at birth. Uncovering the coffin of his son’s actual mother, he prizes open the lid only to find the remains of a jackal inside...

4) Ronin
Ex-CIA operative Robert De Niro signs up for a covert mission in Paris in which he is to join a group of international mercenaries in their attempt to recover by force a briefcase carried by a group of Russian gangsters for the Provisional IRA. Car chases and fire fights ensue with all parties fighting a capture-the-flag game across Nice and Paris in an effort to claim the case. What’s in the case? Your guess is as good as mine...

3) Castaway
Fed-Ex manager Tom Hanks is flying across the Pacific on a cargo plane that hits a storm and crashes. Stranded on a desert island, Hanks must fight for survival with only the random contents on the Fed-Ex parcels washed up from the crash. One parcel is decorated with an emblem resembling a pair of wings, which gives Hanks the idea for a plan to escape the island. The package remains unopened and Hanks even takes it with him on his solo voyage across the barren Pacific. When he is rescued by a passing ship and returned to his life in America he travels around re-purchasing and delivering the contents of the parcels he used to survive. He delivers the package displaying the winged emblem to a farmhouse in the middle of nowhere, but no-one is home to open it. He simply leaves it with a note claiming, ‘This package saved my life...’

2) The Fly
Brilliant but eccentric scientist Seth Brundle invents teleportation. Unfortunately, during a test run in which he attempts to teleport himself from one telepod to another, Brundle fails to notice that a fly has been trapped in the pod with him. What comes out of the other pod is half-human, half-fly but the most horrific aspect of this is that Brundle does not realise this at first and slowly degenerates, transforming horrifically from man to fly...

1) Se7en
Detectives Brad Pitt and Morgan Freeman are on the trail of a serial killer murdering people in ways inspired by the Seven Deadly Sins. Ingenious enough, John Doe (the killer) actually turns himself in to the police three quarters of the way through the film and as part of a deal to go to prison for his crimes and not plead insanity, claims he will lead the two detectives to the remaining bodies in his series of seven killings. Taking them out into the scrub, the three wait while a delivery truck arrives with instructions to drop off a small box for Brad Pitt. Freeman opens the box, horrifically uncovering that the head of Pitt’s wife within. ‘What’s in the box?’ Pitt yells. The maniacal John Doe tells him and despite Freeman’s entreaties, Pitt executes the serial killer – turning the murderer into the last victim in the series of seven...


3 comments:

Dan Sharp said...

Pulp Fiction? Samuel L. Jackson reckoned all he saw inside the case was a lightbulb...

timkenyon said...

Surely, Sir, the Ultimate what's in the box (case) would be Pulp Fiction; itself referencing another film.

Anonymous said...

The suitcase in pulp fiction is rumored to have held Marcellus Wallace's (Ving Rhames) soul - hence the bandaid on the back of his bald head, clearly visible in his sit-down with Butch (Bruce Willis) the boxer. Call it a metaphor.