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Directed by Jodie Foster.
Rose and Charles are an old unhappy couple. Rose always wants more. She's always complaining about what the neighbor has and why she doesn't have it. That is, until a box is accidentally delivered to them saying, "DO NOT OPEN THIS BOX". The Postman soon comes by wanting this box, so Rose hides it. The Postman, expecting the box gives her anything she desires, while Charles just wants to give him his box back. When he finally receives the box, he realizes that it's been opened and it needs to be refilled. This was just a really nice episode, with great direction by Jodie Foster. It's dark, but not too dark, and it works really well as a Darkside episode! Can be found on VHS volume 1.
My rating: Perfect episode. 22 mins. TV PG
DO NOT OPEN THIS BOX is the first episode I've watched of the 1980s
horror series, TALES FROM THE DARKSIDE, and it's hardly inspiring
stuff. The story goes that an elderly couple find a mysterious box,
only to have a postman come calling who claims that the box belongs to
him. The only problem is, they're already opened it.
The script was written in the style of a classic Stephen King short story, but that's the only decent thing about this. The characters are way over the top and actually made me physically nauseous in places, particularly combined with the over the top acting - particularly of the old woman. The only notable thing is that this was directed by Jodie Foster, but I'm sure it's one she prefers to leave off the CV.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Tales from the Darkside: Do Not Open This Box starts as inventor
Charlie Pennywell (William LeMassena) finds a mysterious small wooden
box with the words 'Do Not Open This Box' written on the lid. Charlie's
nagging wife Ruth (Eileen Heckart) can't help but prise the box open &
look inside, much to her disappointment the box is empty. Then a
delivery person (Richad B. Shull) knocks on their door & claims the box
was sent to them in error, sensing she can blackmail the guy Ruth
suggests that they might have the box if they are compensated in an
appropriate way. However the box has an unusual function, a function
that Ruth will wish she had never found out...
Episode 15 from season 4 this Tales from the Darkside story originally aired in the US during May 1988 & was curiously the directorial debut of double Oscar winning actress Jodie Foster, quite how she got the gig of directing Do Not Open This Box & why she even wanted to direct it is probably more interesting & intriguing than the actual episode itself. The script by Franco Amurri & Bob Balaban is another one of those strange offbeat Tales from the Darkside stories which seemingly has no point or purpose & really doesn't make a whole lot of sense, even at only twenty odd minutes Do Not Open This Box feels padded with the first ten minutes comprising of nothing more than Ruth nagging Charlie. Of course the most interesting idea in Do Not Open This Box is the box with 'Do Not Open This Box' written on it, the very fact that it has don not open this box written on it would automatically make you want to open it although unfortunately that rather slim concept doesn't make for a particularly entertaining twenty minutes of television.
Like most Tales from the Darkside episodes Do Not Open This Box takes place in one single simple location, Charlie's basement. The episode is well made but unremarkable with no special effects, no scares, no suspense, no real intrigue & an odd plot that doesn't really go anywhere of any real significance. The cast are alright.
Do Not Open This Box is another distinctly average Tales from the Darkside episode that I think tries to have a moral message but it doesn't come across that great & the story really isn't that good either.
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