Black Box

Inside Blumhouse’s ‘Black Box’ with Phylicia Rashad and Mamoudou Athie

Waylon JordanInterviewsLeave a Comment

Welcome to the Blumhouse is slated to launch this week. The eight-film anthology tackles a variety of topics centered around family, relationships, and the terrifying positive and negative wielded by each. The first two films–Black Box and The Lie–are set to drop on Amazon Prime on October 6, 2020 with two more features the following week. The back four feature-length episodes will drop in 2021.

In advance of its opening this week, Black Box stars Phylicia Rashad and Mamoudou Athie sat down with iHorror to talk about the film and the particularly dark vision it presents.

Athie plays Nolan, a single father suffering from amnesia after surviving the terrible car accident that killed his wife. His life is falling apart and he is at his wits’ end when he is convinced by a doctor (Rashad) to take part in an experimental treatment in an attempt to recover his memories.

The experiment works, but with terrifying results revealing far more questions than answers with a mind-blowing conclusion you must see for yourself.

When I began watching this film, I couldn’t help note that this was exactly the kind of role I would expect Rashad to play, but the genre was surprising, and I had to know what what drew her to Black Box.

“I liked the story,” the legendary actress explained. “I like the way it’s told. I like the humanity of the story. Also, I really like the challenge and the opportunity to research a field that I haven’t researched before. I mean, not since college studying general psych and abnormal psych, but this was on another level. This was researching from a practitioner’s point of view. Not just learning about it. So that was quite nice.”

One of the particularly interesting points of the film was the growth and development of the relationship between doctor and patient. Athie and Rashad’s chemistry onscreen is incredible, especially considering there was very little time to rehearse.

“We were thrown in like peas and carrots in a pot of soup,” Rashad said with a laugh. “We didn’t have much rehearsal because we didn’t have much time.”

“Yeah we were just really just thrown right into it,” Athie–who you might remember for the recent deep sea horror film Underwater–agreed, “but you know with an actor like Ms. Rashad it’s like you’ve been there all your life.”

It’s not only their relationship that evolves throughout the film, however. Athie’s character has an incredible arc especially as he begins to feel a darkness in the memories that are coming back to him in the healing process.

It’s an intense transformation to watch, and offered its own challenges to the actor as he was preparing for the role.

“It’s one of those things where it looks kind of awful,” the actor said. “I had a teacher that once said you can use acting as a kind of therapy sometimes and get some things out of you. This was an opportunity to do that. I was like, this is the one. It was wonderful.”

“He’s very modest,” Rashad said of Athie. “He’s really phenomenal. Al Freeman, Jr., I don’t know if you remember him or not; he was a masterful actor and a master teacher, and he would say to his students that acting is movement of thought. Move to the center of thought and put yourself in the way of the reality. He never studied with this master, yet that’s what Mamoudou does.”

Black Box premieres on October 6, 2020 on Amazon Prime. Check out the trailer below and don’t miss this excellent film!

Waylon Jordan is a lifelong fan of genre fiction and film especially those with a supernatural element. He firmly believes that horror reflects collective fears of society and can be used as a tool for social change.