Over the years, we’ve been excited to report on some of the most refreshing and gruesome releases Matt Shaw has to offer. These have included award-winning flicks like Monster (2018), Next Door (2020) and Up All Night (2020). We can now reveal that Matt has wrapped up his latest production Box, and, true to form, he shows his audience no mercy.
We follow the story of Frank, a convicted criminal who awakes to find he has been removed from death row and dropped into an even darker situation. Frank refuses to take responsibility for his past, and his humorous monologue offers the perfect blend of sarcasm and confusion to introduce us to him and his new disorientating surroundings. Frank’s cocky and cavalier attitude is quickly put to the test when a faceless voice claiming to be a higher being taunts him, striking the beginning of a very turbulent relationship between the two.
Not quite tall enough for him to stand up in and with no natural light, the box is hell on earth for Frank. His only companion is the goading and vengeful voice, mocking him with confusing riddles and painful reminders of his past misdeeds. Frank’s isolation leads him to analyse every step he made that landed him in this new handmade home. He is trapped with nothing but a faceless quiz master and his own vivid nightmares for company.
Manipulated through sensory deprivation, Frank is forced to make some stomach-churning choices as we watch his cruel fate unfold. As a captive audience, we are forced to consider the choices that we would make in his shoes. This focus on the psychological represents an evolution for Matt Shaw, taking his work beyond visceral horror and into more profoundly unnerving territory. It is another string to his bow, and shows the kind of versatility that makes him a true master of the macabre.
The dull lighting and minimal colour palette cleverly make an impossible situation even more grueling to witness, adding a real sense of grit and despair. As the film starts to play tricks on our eyes, Shaw throws in a few shakes to the soul every now and then to check you are paying attention. His productions are infamous for having that one scene that makes the audience want to fall into the brace position, and Box is no different. With another painfully long eating scene (fans of Monster will know what we mean), it is clear that Shaw has not lost his eye for the kind of gruesome visuals that his fans know and love him for.
Box is a claustrophobic and gripping ride filled with twists and turns. Whilst the film has yet to be released, the clip below should give you a taste of the kind of gut-punching tone that the movie strikes.