RED does not mean "stop." GREEN does not mean "go." Click on the CAPCon Alert image for explanation
CAP Movie Ministry
A ministry of the ChildCare Action Project:
Christian Analysis of American Culture (CAP Ministry)
A 501(c)(3) Nonprofit Christian Ministry.
Entertainment Media Analysis Report
A service to His little ones through you in His name by His Word


(2009), PG-13 [Very Lite R-13*] (-hr --min)

Final Score
Analysis Date
Date Posted
Influence Density
February 20, 2010
February 26, 2010

The #1 Christian entertainment media analysis service on the Internet. We give you OBJECTIVE tools NO ONE ELSE CAN to help YOU make an informed decision for yourself whether a film is fit for your family. Over 1200 analyses for parents, grandparents, pastors, youth leaders and more.
This space for sponsors.

PLEASE . . . . . . .

(a PayPal account is NOT required)
OR (preferred) by Check or Money Order.
The CAP is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit Christian ministry. Donations to us are TAX-DEDUCTIBLE

Stay informed ...OBJECTIVELY...
on what Hollywood feeds your kids. SUBSCRIBE
(or unsubscribe)
to our FREE text-only email version of these reports and our COMING SOON notices.
Email this report to friends and
tell them about the CAP Ministry:

Christian Long Distance

(While the Scriptural references are certainly not subjective, my commentary may be and sometimes is somewhat subjective.)

If Scriptural references appear, the full text appears at the end of the Summary / Commentary.

(2009), PG-13 [Very Lite R-13*] ... I fully expected it to earn a PG-equivalent final score.

Cast/Crew Details Courtesy Internet Movie Database
Production (US): Darko Entertainment, Media Rights Capital (financial support) Radar Pictures  •   Distribution (US): Warner Home Video  •   Director(s): Richard Kelly  •   Producer(s): Sue Baden-Powell, Terry Dougas, Ted Field, Ted Hamm. Richard Kelly, Paris Kasidokostas Latsis, Dan Lin. Kelly McKittrick, Sean McKittrick  •  Written by: Richard Kelly (screenplay), Richard Matheson (short story Button, Button)  •   Cinematography/Camera: Steven Poster  •   Music: Win Butler, Régine Chassagne, Owen Pallett  •   Film Editing: Sam Bauer  •   Casting: Kerry Bardenl, Billy Hopkins, Venus Kanani, Suzanne Smith. Mary Vernieu  •   Production Design: Alec Hammond  •   Art Direction: Priscilla Elliott  •   Viewed on Warner Home Video DVD

In keeping with their family-friendly posture, the DVD for this analysis was provided by the courtesy of Blockbuster.

I have not seen that many performances by Cameron Diaz, mostly of the Charlie's Angels™ caliber and similar where she played parts such as air-headed bimbos. The Box is the first truly dramatic role I've seen Cameron play. And she was good! Diaz was a perfect casting for the part of Norma. James Marsden (Enchanted, X-Men and others) as Arthur was a little cardboard and not in one of his best roles. Almost anyone could have done as well with the part of Arthur. Frank Langella as Mr. Steward was nearly as good at his part as Cameron was at hers.

If you are looking for a simple ho-hum, pass-the-time flick The Box is not for you. The Box has a somewhat intricate weave of subplots into a relatively seamless fabric of suspense and intrigue. If you are not paying attention, key points and connectivity can escape you and the entertainment experience would not be as rich. Aside from the properties we reveal for you in the Findings/Scoring section. this sci-fi whodunnit might be a good Saturday night flick. But let me suggest you watch it first, mom/dad, before deciding whether to let the little ones watch. And the detailed accounting of the content in the Findings/Scoring section should help you make an informed moral decision whether The Box is fit for the whole family.

While watching The Box (PG-13) I fully expected it to earn a PG-equivalent final score. Maybe a "hard" PG but a PG nonetheless. But when all the numbers were crunched it earned a final score of 53 which places it at the top of the range of scores earned by R-rated films (54 and below out of 100) in the comparative baseline database, making it a very lite R-13. The CAP analysis model being better than I at content assessment is good evidence of the objectivity of CAP analysis model. Further, The Box is a good example of our CAP Rule of 1000 .

The CAP Rule of 1000 addresses a relatively new cinematographic technique of loading a movie with tons of "lesser" issues of assaults on wholesome values to get the same effect or "feel" of a more severe movie which uses fewer but more extreme and bold issues of content. The Box is an example of this loading or weighting of the content with "lesser" instances of assault on wholesome ethics to get the feel of a film with more severe and extreme content without incurring the more severe rating. The "loading" or "weighting" of the content of The Box is most prevalent in the Wanton Violence/Crime (W) and Offense to God (O) investigation areas. If the film had earned a final score of but two more points it would have earned a score equivalent to the PG-13 films in our comparative baseline database, equivalent to a "hard" PG-13 but equivalent to a PG-13 nonetheless.

During a snowy December 16, 1976 Christmastime at 7321 Park Road, Antrim, VA, Arthur (James Marsden) and Norma Lewis (Cameron Diaz) suffer a life-changing encounter with a strange and disfigured man named Arlington James Steward (Frank Langella): "Steward with a 'd'."

Steward left a cardboard box on the Lewis' doorstep and rang the doorbell at 5:44 AM. As Norma peered through the peep hole in the front door to see who it was that interrupted her sleep, a car in front of their house drove off.

The box had no labels or other information about its content. At the breakfast table with their son, Walter (Sam Oz Stone) Arthur opened the cardboard box. Inside the cardboard box was another box, a well crafted wooden box with slightly sloped sides and a large red button atop it enclosed in a locked glass dome. Also in the cardboard box was a note stating "Mr. Steward will call upon you at 5:00 p.m." Nothing was explained about the box with the big red button under the locked glass dome.

Next comes a day of routine and a few cinematic devices to build characters and begin a plot. A couple of those devices were ominous and eerie. Arthur is a scientist for NASA and Norma is a teacher at Libby Hill academy. As Norma teaches Sartre and "life in Hell" Charles, one of the rude teenage boys in her class, asked about what happened to Norma's foot: that he had noticed her limping. With a face full of perverted hunger of some type Charles asked Norma if the class without concurrence of the class could see her foot. As if she had no control of what she did next Norma showed the class her foot with missing toes lost in an X-ray blunder when she was 17.

Sure enough, Steward appeared at the Lewis's doorstep at 5:00 PM. Arthur was at a conference. Steward was intimidating in that he was missing about half the left side of his face that, under the influence of the choreography, made him appear threatening. He asked whether Norma had found the box with "the button unit" inside.

After letting Steward inside, Steward produced the key to the button unit and explained to Norma that if she or Arthur pressed the button he will give them the $1,000,000 he laid out before her but if one of them pressed the button someone they do not even know somewhere in the world will die. One condition of getting the money is that Norma cannot tell anyone except Arthur about the affair and that there is a 24-hour time limit. If they have not pressed the button by 5:00 PM tomorrow Steward would retrieve the box and make the same offer to someone else. They have until 5:00 PM tomorrow to decide. Steward gave Norma a crisp $100 dollar bill from the $1,000,000 for her cordiality that she can keep even if she says "No."

The Lewis' are financially vulnerable since they are strapped. They must decide whether to get rich by killing someone they don't even know or continue in their financial hardship with only a $100 gratuity. Will Arthur or Norma press the button? Will no one press the button? If one of them does, who dies because of their greed?

I've spoiled enough of the story and plot and will say no more. Whether the Lewis' press the button is for you to discover should you decide to watch this movie after discovering the content we reveal for you so you might be in a better position to make an informed moral decision whether the movie is fit for your families or yourselves.

The story and plot sound a little like a parody of the Saw chain of movies. But you can rest assured that while The Box seems to mimic Saw, it does not even approach the graphic or extreme content of the Saw films, at least of the first Saw, the only Saw installment I've seen (of which I did not bother to conduct an analysis). At least I think it was the first Saw. There were III weren't there? IV? V? VI? …

Following are brief discussions of the content of The Box for they who do not like detailed lists as provided in the Findings/Scoring section, the heart of the CAP analysis model. For a full and detailed accounting of the content found, be sure to read the Findings/Scoring section. The full text of each verse referenced below is provided after the individual investigation area discussions.

Wanton Violence/Crime (W) - Zero out of 100
For the most part the content found by this investigation area involves, dead bodies, injury gore, kidnapping, the use of firearms to control and forced choosing between a wife's life or her son's sight and hearing. We are faced with difficult decisions every day but never should we have to choose between a mother's life or her son's sight and hearing. Such is a very emotionally violent decision. And portrayal of having to make such a decision by larger than life characters that have your undivided attention is one more step into desensitization for most.

In addition to the deeply basal issue of forced decision-making, the film presents many more items of violence and/or crime: dead bodies with lite gore; still photos of the same; injury gore (frequent); trespassing; theft of crime scene evidence; kidnapping with firearms and other acts with firearms to control, including of a child; home invasion/stalking; more. See the listing in the Findings/Scoring section for a full accounting of the violence/crime content.

The American Medical Association and three other professional health agencies jointly warn of such an influence which probably unknowingly and unintentionally echoes God in His many warnings that violence is "contagious." But God said so a l-o-n-g time before them. Proverb 16:29 is just one. God speaks darkly of violence 56 times in the Old and New Testament of the KJV.

Impudence/Hate (I) - 88 out of 100
With only one use of profanity, this film is most atypical of PG-13s. But even once is too many in accordance with God's wishes for us. [Prov. 22:11] Teen arrogance at parents [Exod. 20:12, Eph. 6:1 - 3] and the perverted rudeness of one of Norma's students dragged down the Impudence/Hate investigation area score more.

Sexual Immorality (S) - 81 out of 100
The sexually immoral behaviors and imagery in this film were also quite atypical of a PG-13. The suggestion of the teen student's sexual interest in Norma's feet started a rather short list of behavioral or imagery improprieties. Others included adults in underwear and a man and a woman in bed together though dressed in sleep wear repeatedly. If we as prudent and responsible adults should not display a behavior or state of [un]dress in public such as a court room or classroom we should not display it on screen for 200,000,000 viewers. "Acting" does not excuse iniquities. [Phil. 4:8]

Drugs/Alcohol (D) - 57 out of 100
While the content of this film is quite atypical of the content of most PG-13 films in profanity and sexual immorality, it provides strong examples of drinking alcoholic beverages plus a couple examples of smoking tobacco. It is no longer arguable whether such onscreen demonstrations embolden the young to drink and smoke. The American College of Physicians (ACP) found in a 2002 study of 4544 middle school students, 90% of whom were under 14 years old (the "PG-13" age stratum), that of the ones who had no movie viewing restrictions, 46% of them tried alcohol without their parents' knowledge. Only four percent of they who had complete viewing restrictions had tried alcohol without their parents' knowledge.

Though it is not a sin to drink, it is a sin to get drunk [Eph. 5:18] or to influence to get drunk or to drink in defiance such as underage drinking. Yes, Jesus drank wine and even made wine from water, but never did He get drunk.

Offense to God (O) - Zero out of 100
Eight times someone uses God's name in vain but all are without the four letter expletive. Remember that God makes no distinction between using a four-letter expletive with his name or not. Only man places more offensive weight on the use of His name with the four letter expletive. Any use of His name other than in respect, reverence or responsible discussion and in praise and prayer. That includes the use of Jesus' name or title and the popular three-syllable sentence with His name trailing it. [Deut. 5:11]

In addition to the 8 uses of God's name in vain, this investigation area found a number of behaviors and/or comments in violation of His Word: ill-gotten gain [Hab. 2:9]; Christmas without Christ; some supernatural (unholy) manifestations such as mystic or psychic power to make things happen; an unholy resurrection and "magic" healing; mockery of the path to Salvation and other matters of abuse of Scripture.

Murder/Suicide (M) - 91 out of 100
There were no suicides throughout the 108 minutes of actual movie time but there was one admission of murdering a wife plus a gunfire murder of another wife. Maybe under the "justification" of the story the murder was noble since it was to save the son from being blind and deaf the rest of his life, but the CAP analysis model does not care what the trumped up justification for an onscreen murder might be. If there is a murder portrayed in a film, we report it. You decide on any justification for it. See the text of the BEFORE You Read On... link for more information on this matter.


If needed to focus or fortify, applicable text is underlined or bracketed [ ] or bold. If you wish to have full context available, the Blue Letter Bible is a convenient source. If you use the Blue Letter Bible, a new window will open. Close it to return here or use "Window" in your browser's menu bar to alternate between the CAP page and the Blue Letter Bible page.


  • Prov. 16:29 A violent man enticeth his neighbour, and leadeth him into the way that is not good. [The issue is the violence, the 'way that is not good' no matter how "small" or "justified" the violence might seem, and its "leading" effect on the observer. "A violent man" can be any character of any age, any gender, human or not in the act of committing (demonstrating in the case of entertainment) violent behavior/action whether for good or evil OR the violent behaviors/actions themselves. Such exposure can and does embolden the viewer into aggression, especially youth. It took years for American professional health community to finally affirm, probably without knowing it, that which God told us in 1 Cor. 15:33 below. See also Joint Statement on the Impact of Entertainment Violence on Children: Congressional Public Health Summit for more information.]
  • Prov. 22:11 He who loves a pure heart and whose speech is gracious will have the king for his friend.
  • Exod. 20:12 Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long upon the land which the Lord your God is giving you.
  • Eph. 6:1 - 3 Children, obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right. Honour thy father and thy mother, which is the first commandment with promise. That it may be well with thee, and thou mayest live long on the earth.
  • Phil. 4:8 Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.
  • Eph. 5:18 Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit. [Since "drunk" is methusko {meth-oos'-ko}: to intoxicate; make drunk; to get drunk; become intoxicated, "wine" can be any intoxicating substance including illegal drugs or abuse of prescription drugs. The issue is do not abuse the body by intoxicating it [1 Cor. 6:19].]
  • 1 Cor. 6:19 What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?
  • Deut. 5:11 Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD thy God in vain: for the LORD will not hold him guiltless that taketh His name in vain. [Vain is shav {shawv}: emptiness, nothingness, vanity, such as an expletive. With or without the four letter expletive, the use of God's name in any way other than respect, reverence or responsible discussion is in vain. That includes the popular three syllable sentence with His name trailing it AND the misuse of Jesus' name or title. So, trying to excuse such expressions with "I was talking To God/Jesus when I said that" or It's just words" or "I was acting" will not work with Him.]
  • Hab. 2:9 Woe to him who builds his realm by unjust gain to set his nest on high, to escape the clutches of ruin!

    ***Selected Scriptures of Armour against the influence of the entertainment industry***
  • Jer. 37:9 This is what the LORD says: Do not deceive yourselves, thinking, 'The Babylonians [the destroyers from within] will surely leave us.' They will not!
  • Ps. 12:8 The wicked freely strut about [e.g., create progressively vile/offensive entertainment with impunity and no consequences and present it to younger and younger audiences every year] when what is vile is honored among men [when enough people continue to defend it, embrace it, enjoy it, want it, submit to it. I call attention to Ps. 12:8 to warn of the creeping desensitizing power of "entertainment."]
  • Col. 2:8 Beware lest any man [by his influence] spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.
  • 1 Cor. 15:33 Be not deceived: evil [kakov: of a bad nature, not such as it ought to be] communications corrupt good manners.
  • Rom. 5:19 For as by one man's disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous.
  • Jude 1:4 For there are certain men* crept in unawares [secretly slipped in among us], who were before of old ordained to this condemnation [whose condemnation was written about long ago], ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness [a license for immorality], and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ. [*men: anthropos {anth'-ro-pos}, generic, a human being, whether male or female]
  • Matt. 25:40 And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.
  • Luke 17:2 It were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and he cast into the sea, than that he should offend one of these little ones. [Offend: skandalizo {skan-dal-id'-zo} - scandalize; to entice to sin; to cause a person to begin to distrust and desert one whom he ought to trust and obey; to cause to fall away.]
  • Ps. 119:133 Order my steps in thy word: and let not any iniquity have dominion over me [let no sin rule over me].
  • John 14:15 If ye love me, keep my commandments.
  • 1 Thess. 5:22 Abstain from all appearance of evil. ["Evil" includes all things that are sinful.]


    As always, it is best to refer to the Findings/Scoring section -- the heart of the CAP analysis model -- for the most complete assessment possible of this movie.
    (The objective heart of the CAP Analysis Model, independent of and insulated from the Summary / Commentary section.)

    The Box (YEAR) CAP Thermometers

    Wanton Violence/Crime (W) - Zero out of 100
  • dead body with lite gore, repeatedly
  • police action violence
  • still photos of dead bodies with lite gore, repeatedly
  • injury scarring gore, frequent
  • theft of crime scene evidence
  • explosive startle
  • trespassing
  • firearms to control, repeatedly
  • firearm to head, repeatedly
  • kidnapping - adult
  • kidnapping - child
  • alien "possession" to exterminate
  • motor vehicle accident, graphic
  • brutal escort against will
  • home invasion
  • brutal impairment of child due to mom's wrong-doing
  • forcing to choose between wife's life and son's blindness and deafness

    Impudence/Hate (I) - 88 out of 100
  • one use of profanity (not the most foul of the foul words)
  • teen arrogance/disrespect at parents, repeatedly
  • teen student's perverted rudeness at teacher

    Sexual Immorality (S) - 81 out of 100
  • man and woman in bed though in sleep wear, repeatedly
  • suggestion of sexual perversion of student to teacher
  • adult in underwear, repeatedly
  • claim of a photo being erotic

    Drugs/Alcohol (D) - 57 out of 100
  • party booze, repeatedly
  • party drinking, repeatedly
  • smoking, repeatedly
  • want of drink to soothe emotions
  • wedding booze, repeatedly
  • wedding drinking, repeatedly

    Offense to God (O) - Zero out of 100
  • eight uses of God's name in vain but all without the four letter expletive
  • ill-gotten gain
  • Christmas without Christ
  • unholy supernatural events, manifestations and presence, repeatedly
  • unexplained bloody noses and unconsciousness, repeatedly
  • people impossibly knowing in advance of the actions of others
  • implications of psychic connections, repeatedly
  • mockery of the path to Salvation, repeatedly
  • unholy power to make things happen
  • claim of resurrection without Christ
  • unholy power to steal and restore sight and hearing
  • claim of purgatory

    Murder/Suicide (M) - 91 out of 100
  • man admitting to murdering wife to "save daughter"
  • gunfire murder of wife to "save son"

    Interested parties, send us your proposal. Your link will appear on each new analysis report prepared during the desired period and, once placed on a page, will not be removed.

    There are some in the entertainment industry who maintain that 1) violent programming is harmless because no studies exist that prove a connection between violent entertainment and aggressive behavior in children, and 2) young people know that television, movies, and video games are simply fantasy. Unfortunately, they are wrong on both accounts." And "Viewing violence may lead to real life violence." I applaud these associations for fortifying 1 Cor. 15:33. Read the rest of the story. From our years of study, I contend that other aberrant behaviors, attitudes, and expressions can be inserted in place of "violence" in that statement. Our Director - Child Psychology Support, a licensed psychologist and certified school psychologist concurs. For example, "Viewing arrogance against fair authority may lead to your kids defying you in real life." Or "Viewing sex may lead to sex in real life." Likewise and especially with impudence, hate and foul language. I further contend that any positive behavior can be inserted in place of "violence" with the same chance or likelihood of being a behavior template for the observer; of being incorporated into the behavior mechanics and/or coping skills of the observer. In choosing your entertainment, please consider carefully the "rest of the story" and our findings.

    The ChildCare Action Project (CAP) is a nonprofit Christian ministry. We arre 00% dependent on public support. If you wish to contribute to the CAP, please make your donations through

    Just enter "Donation" in the "Description" block and the amount in the "Unit Price" block. You DO NOT need to have a PayPal account. Note that PayPal cannot process your donations unless your browser is set to accept cookies.

    Your gifts are tax deductible in accordance with Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Service Tax Codes.

    You are welcome to go to the
    CAP Reports page
    or go to the
    Top of the CAP Home Page
    or the
    CAP Site Map (Table of Contents)
    or leave me an email message or comment at

    Thank you for visiting us and may God bless you. Prayerfully, we will provide you with some of the most revealing commentary and investigative reporting you have ever read.

    In the name of Jesus:
    Lord, Master, Teacher, Savior, God.
    Tom Carder
    ChildCare Action Project (CAP): Christian Analysis of American Culture
    100% dependent on your tax-deductible financial support

    Copyright ChildCare Action Project (CAP) Ministry

    Since December 5, 2000

    Christian Long Distance
    The Fundamental Top 500

    We exist only by your tax-deductible donations. PLEASE

    Features PayPal! You do NOT need an account to donate.
    JCSM's Top 1000 Christian Sites - Free Traffic Sharing Service!

    Copyright ChildCare Action Project (CAP) Ministry
    A Nonprofit Christian Ministry