Psychological horror set in 1970s Virginia. A suburban couple face a moral dilemma when they receive a mysterious box which could make them millionaires - at the cost of a life.
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This film contains some violent scenes
You hear something?
It's the doorbell.
-Are you sure?
What time is it?
Quarter to six.
-What is it?
-Someone left a box.
I don't know. There was a car and they just drove off.
Did Santa come early this year?
I guess we're up.
You never really believed in Santa Claus, did you?
Not really. You should've come up with a better story
than a fat guy coming down the chimney.
-It's so illogical.
It's breaking and entering.
What kind of car was it?
Well, it was black.
-Why would they just drive off?
I don't know, sweetheart.
Get the box.
What is it?
Never seen anything like it before in my life.
Well, you need a key to open it.
There's a note.
Looks like a wedding invitation.
Is it some sort of bridesmaid gift from the Powells?
"Mr Steward will call upon you at 5pm."
Do you know a Mr Steward?
I don't. Do you?
-It won't stick.
Hey. PB and J.
-Did you cut the bread into squares?
-Of course, like always.
Well, don't do that. Squares are for babies.
-Hey, Mrs Lewis.
-Hi, Mrs Lewis.
Feel free to call me Norma. Mrs Lewis makes me feel old.
You are old.
I'm only 35.
Yeah, to us, that's old.
You're kind of a geezer.
You'll be a geezer one day too, Mr Smarty-Pants.
Why does the bus stop have to be in the front of my driveway?
So I can watch my little Walter get on the bus safe, in one piece.
Please go inside, you're embarrassing me.
-My love embarrasses you?
-Yes, it does.
What if I give my big strong Walter a big hug and a kiss...
right before he gets on the bus?
-Do it, do it!
-Mom, get off.
Bye, Walter. See you boys later.
-"..will not be a year of politics as usual.
"It can be a year of inspiration and hope..."
Little early for a midlife crisis, don't you think?
So, who's Mr Steward?
I have no idea.
Is it someone from school?
I don't know.
Is it your secret lover?
I hate you.
I hate you too.
Three strangers trapped in a room for all eternity.
Each wanting something from the other.
A wish unfulfilled.
This is Sartre's vision of hell.
Hell is other people.
Yes. Hell is other people seeing you for who you truly are.
So, what does this mean for Estelle?
It means she's going to rot in hell.
She's a slut who married for money and killed her baby.
It's slightly more complicated than that, Charles.
See, she was poor and married into money to save her family.
What happened to your foot?
I beg your pardon?
I've seen you limp.
Did something happen to your foot?
Can we see it?
Can we see what it looks like?
-Why don't you just shut up?
-Yeah, come on.
What? Are you embarrassed?
SCHOOL BELL RINGS
Remember, everyone, essays are due tomorrow.
Whether life has begun or not
it is critical to our concept of chemical evolution
to determine the path of carbon chemistry.
Mars offers the first opportunity
to gain another perspective in the cosmic history
of planetary chemistry.
-Are there any questions?
-What's the next step?!
Yes, in the back. Rhonda.
Yes. Can you elaborate on the soil tests?
The gas exchange experiment measures the production
or uptake of CO2, nitrogen...
methane, hydrogen and oxygen...
during the incubation of the Martian soil sample.
Why is the National Security Agency involved?
Yes, Martin Teague, deputy director of the NSA is here in Langley.
Why is the NSA here at Langley?
Would you tell us about tests...?
Would an ancient Martian civilization have left something behind?
Sorry, I have no comment on that, but I thank you for the information, Rhonda. Any other questions?
If we find water beneath the surface...
and the orbiter photos of Utopia Planitia
indicate there were once rivers on the surface of the planet...
it's quite possible we'll eventually find evidence of life.
And who are you?
Arthur Lewis. I used to work in the optics lab.
I helped design the camera.
-There in the back.
-If NASA continues funding...
In your short time with us,
you've really become part of our family here at Libby Hill.
That's why it's so difficult to tell you this.
We've cancelled the faculty tuition discount.
I'm real sorry about this, Norma.
I know you are.
Your nose is bleeding.
Why does your mom limp?
None of your business.
-So, what are you going to do?
-I don't know.
We're already living paycheck to paycheck.
Well, what does Arthur think?
He doesn't know yet.
God, this is going to devastate him.
Then again, he's still living on Mars.
What is it with you and that tie?
-Third time you've worn that this week.
-This is my lucky tie.
God knows you need it.
I should loan it to you since today's the big day, huh?
Planet Earth's not good enough for old Arthur.
He's got to go up to outer space.
Well, let's not get ahead of ourselves. We shall see.
Yeah. You're getting a little too big for them britches.
I'll guess I'll have to tell the boss
that you've been working on a personal project on company time.
-Is that what you're going to do?
-Terry, don't blow the place up!
-Yeah, I know, I know.
Well, it's a Christmas present for Norma. Is that all right with you?
It's sweet, I guess. Where's my present?
-Don't mention it.
-"Your summer favourites are back to strut their stuff.
"It's Roger, Dwayne and Rerun.
"There's Roger's mama and his lovable sister, Dee..."
"It's the premiere of the show that answers the hilarious question, "'What's happening?'"
"Next Saturday night on ABC."
Hello. May I help you?
Hello. My name is Arlington Steward.
I assume you received the box I left on your doorstep.
And you found the button unit inside the box?
Is that what you call it?
A button unit?
Yes, we do.
Please don't let my appearance frighten you.
I assure you I'm not a monster.
I'm just a man with a job to do.
May I come in?
Can I offer you anything?
Oh, no, thank you. I never have much of an appetite.
Shall we sit down?
..are you trying to sell me something?
Yes, in a way. I do have an offer to make.
What are you offering?
A financial opportunity.
Let me explain.
In this envelope, there is a key.
I'll show you.
This key opens the glass dome to the button unit.
Now, if you push the button,
two things will happen.
somewhere in the world, whom you don't know...
you will receive a payment...
of one million dollars.
The payment will be delivered to you by me...
just as you see here.
Oh, and Mrs Lewis, please permit me...
to present to you this crisp 100 bill as a gift...
in exchange for your kindness in allowing me into your home.
You're going to give me this 100 bill...
even if I say no?
That is correct.
Are you for real?
Oh, I assure you, Mrs Lewis...
this offer is quite real.
Who do you work for?
Guarantee of payment comes with three restrictions, I'm afraid.
One - I am not permitted...
to disclose any information about the identity of my employers.
Two - you are not permitted to discuss the details of this
with anyone, except your husband, of course.
Three - you have 24 hours.
You have until five o'clock tomorrow to make your decision,
at which point...
I shall return and retrieve the button unit.
It will be reprogrammed...
and the offer will be made to someone else.
It's been a pleasure meeting you, Mrs Lewis.
-Oh! It's a new prosthesis for her foot.
-You got it.
But I'm using the new GE Silastic polymer
they're developing for the pilot chairs for the shuttle.
Hey. What happened to her foot?
When she was 17, her brother dropped a barbell on her foot.
She thinks one of her toes is broken, so she goes to the hospital.
The doctor sets her in a chair, turns the X-ray machine on...
then goes to check on another patient down the hall.
And he forgets all about Norma.
Leaves the X-ray machine running.
Oh, Jesus, that's....
-That's not good.
The tissue in four of her toes was completely destroyed by the radiation.
They had to amputate four of her toes?
Yep. Then they had to go in and get skin from her inner thigh
to cover the front of her foot.
This is back in 1958,
so they didn't have the skin-graft techniques they do now.
And she had to sit like this, the same position...
full body cast, for a month, waiting for it to heal.
Jesus. I hope she sued this idiot.
Yeah. Her family sued and they won.
-What was the settlement?
If this sucker works, she can start jogging again.
I hope so.
That's a nice thing you're doing for Norma.
Thank you, sir.
One good turn deserves another.
This just arrived for you. Certified mail from...
..The Astronaut Corps?
This is a joke?
Well, that's the way it came. Nobody opened it.
Well, it says I was rejected.
'Arthur Lewis. His astronaut application was rejected.
'Can you tell me why?
Arthur, they say you failed the psychological exam.
You got to be kidding me?
That makes no sense.
Norm, I aced every test.
I was counting on this.
What am I supposed to do with the rest of my life?
There are many great opportunities here.
Yeah, we just got a grant to develop optics
for the new planetary camera system. You're perfect for it.
A quasimanagerial position that doesn't exist?
Well, we'll always have Mars.
"Alice, honey, when are you and me going to get together?
"When Barry Goldwater gets together with Jane Fonda!"
Before I could ask him any more questions,
he got in his car and drove away.
-What are you doing? Be careful!
-Oh, come on, Norma, you can't think this thing's real.
-Did you get his license plate?
Your dad's a cop. Always got to get the license plate.
Well, I was a little overwhelmed.
OK, so somewhere in the world someone you don't know will die?
Yes, those were his exact words.
-Did he say how they would die?
And he offered you a briefcase full of cash?
Yes, he said it was a million dollars,
and it looked real.
What did he look like?
You don't want to know.
What do you mean?
Well, he must've been a burn victim...
because half of his face was gone.
-Are you messing with me?
-Yes, you are.
-No, I'm not.
We're going to be late for the play.
-(I'll lock it up downstairs.)
I would like to buy St Charles Place.
OK, St Charles Place.
-Hi, Mrs Lewis.
Did Mr Steward show up?
Yeah, he stopped by.
Well, so, what does it do?
What happens when you push the button?
Did he give you a key to the dome? I bet it does something cool.
You sure do ask a lot of questions.
And now you're avoiding them.
Hey, big mouth, that's enough. All right?
In bed by ten o'clock?
CAROL SINGERS SING He was very charming.
I honestly believe he would give us that entire briefcase full of money.
-For ever and ever and ever.
let's get on with it.
MOURNFUL STRING MUSIC
So, what are you thinking?
Look, there's absolutely no upside for him in this deal, OK?
So he's a con artist. The bill's a counterfeit.
You don't just give someone 10O with no strings attached.
-That's just crazy.
-Maybe he IS crazy.
I mean, maybe he's mentally ill and he's just using this device
as some sort of excuse to murder someone
and then blame us for it.
So, should we call the police? What do you want to do?
If we tell anyone, the deal is off.
-He said that?
-Yes, we can't tell anyone.
-Let's go home.
-All right. I'll get our coats.
Well, someone spent a lot of time designing this.
Anodized aluminium, hand-blown glass.
It looks expensive.
What are you doing?
I'm going to take a look inside.
Look at this silly....
There we go.
No transmitter, no radio.
If we pushed the button right now, there's no way he'd even know.
OK, just... You know what?
Put it back together. I don't want you breaking it.
Well, what do you care?
Because, either way, he's going to come back to retrieve it.
He says he takes the box, he reprograms it
and then he makes the offer to someone else.
I don't know what he's going to reprogram. It's a piece of wood.
-"People start pollution. People can..."
So, are you going to push it or not?
It's not my decision to make.
It's ours and I would never push it without you knowing.
Don't forget to turn off the tree lights.
No, I like leaving them on.
It's a fire hazard.
Yeah, but it keeps the Christmas spirit alive while we sleep.
We could die.
Everybody dies, Norma.
Leave them on.
"Strange. He only makes house calls when you're out of town..."
What are you thinking?
I'm thinking we're never going to see that much money.
And why do you say that?
Be realistic, Arthur. You work for the government.
God knows we both spend too much money.
Sure would make it easier to live the life we want.
why do we need a million dollars to be happy?
But imagine what we could accomplish.
I mean, we could provide security for our entire family.
Look, you know, I don't need to work at NASA for ever.
I can get another job.
Are we ever going to leave Richmond?
We're going to have to postpone my foot surgery.
No, we're not doing that. You need that surgery.
Yeah, I know, but we can't afford it.
Well, then push the button. See what happens.
Norma, why are you scared?
You didn't see his face.
-I'm calling the police.
Right, because then the deal is off.
Norma, how the hell is he going to know if we even call anyone?
Does he have the house bugged?
It's a gift to each of the bridesmaids at the wedding.
They're going to make a big joke of it tonight and...
Doc Powell's going to ask who pushed the button and who didn't.
And everyone's going to have a laugh at the con artist he hired...
to show up at our doorstep.
-WOMAN CRYING ON PHONE:
-I was at the grocery store, and she wandered
-into the next aisle.
-Well, where is she?
I ran out into the parking lot.
They put her in the back of a van and drove off!
OK. Look, lock all the doors.
-She just vanished, Jeffrey!
-I'm on my way home.
I ran a test on it at work.
This 100 bill is real.
So, let's assume it's all real.
We push the button, we get a million dollars...
and we can be responsible for the death of another human being.
Is that something we can live with?
What if it's someone's baby?
What if it's a murderer on death row?
What if it's our neighbours across the street?
Do you even know them?
Doug and Donna.
What is it to really know someone, Norma?
Do you know me?
Better than you know yourself.
Do you know Walter?
Even better than I know you.
What do we want to do, Norma?
It's just a box.
911 Emergency, how may I direct your call?
Excuse me, you need to slow down.
I can't understand what you're saying.
So, you heard loud screaming? Then a gunshot?
I heard a gunshot!
Then he ran out the front door with a briefcase and got in his car!
Ma'am, get back inside.
Take the boy and go back inside right now.
Check her pulse.
All right, get back, I got to kick the door down.
Get away from the door!
Shh. It's OK.
Hello, Mrs Lewis.
Shall I come in?
Hello. You must be Mr Lewis.
Forgive me, I have a rather busy day. Shall we?
Do you have the key?
There we are. One million dollars.
You can count it, if you like.
You said before that the button unit would be reprogrammed.
What happens now? Are you going to make the offer to someone else?
Well, yes, Mrs Lewis. That's how it works.
And I can promise you that the offer will be made
to someone you don't know.
We don't want your money. Take it.
I'm sorry, Mr Lewis.
The button has been pushed.
Open the door.
Open the door!
XH34568. I got his license plate.
What are you thinking, Norma?
Someone we don't know.
Does that mean we're next?
Is that what he meant?
All right, let's just...
OK, put the money in the safe.
No, not today!
Clean out your lunch pail too, OK?
We got ourselves another domestic homicide.
This time it's the wife.
The victim's name is Diane Carnes,
31 years old, gunshot wound to the chest.
They found her little girl locked in the bathroom.
-Husband is unaccounted for.
Neighbours saw him bolt out the front door after they heard a gunshot.
Has the husband got any priors?
No. And that's the thing.
Husband is Jeffrey Carnes...
described as a loving father by all the neighbours...
and he's a rocket scientist.
Works for NASA.
It doesn't hurt anymore.
-Merry Christmas, sir.
Enjoy your evening.
All of this for a rehearsal dinner?
Remember our rehearsal dinner?
-You mean the keg party in the backyard?
Here's my little girl.
-Oh! Look at the way she walks. You float.
You knew about that?
Santa came early and brought your step back.
That he did, Mama.
-How are you, Dick?
-How are you, Arthur?
-Good to see you.
Arthur, now, is Norma still cutting your hair?
Yeah, who are you, Lynyrd or Skynyrd?
Honey, they're not going to let you into outer space with those sideburns.
Mama, everybody's wearing them like that now.
Well, honey, I know, but...
Forget about it. Where did you get that?
-Right back over in there.
-All right. You want something?
Could I have your attention? We'd like to thank all of you
for coming out on such an unseasonably cold night in Richmond.
Now, I'm told that I'm supposed to keep this quite short
because we have another 43 speeches coming tonight.
Friends of the bride and groom
have very generously donated this array of gifts.
And it being the holiday season,
we thought it'd be a good idea to have a...
Well, to have a holiday gift drawing.
-All right, Lana, let's....
-You need to mix these up.
-Let's do it. OK, I will.
-Like you're spiking a punch bowl.
-He knows how to do that!
-No, I've never done that.
Never done that.
All right, here we go.
My son-in-law. Not you. Arthur.
Come on up.
-I have to get up?
Come on up, Arthur. Come on up.
Folks, I did not rig this. I'm an honest cop. I swear I am.
All right, get your gift, lucky.
-All right, just pick anything here?
-Any gift that you like, yes, sir.
Just leave those golf clubs, all right? Those are mine.
-No, you can have the clubs, you can have the clubs.
You know, I'm just going to take this box right here.
-He's so polite.
-That's a nice plain gift, isn't it?
All right, here we go. Let's get another one here.
-Come on up, Leticia.
-Well? Open it.
Why don't you go put it in the car? We'll open it up when we get home.
You got to open it here, see what's inside the box.
Yeah, come on, open it.
Arthur, that's him.
What is it, a photograph?
-Well, let's see it.
-No, no, it's an inside joke.
Oh, nice. All right, yeah, we know about that.
We've taken some private photographs. We could trade up.
Let your minds run wild with that.
Is that the one you brought?
What about this rehearsal dinner?
Can you imagine what the wedding's going to be like?
Astounding Science Fiction.
"Day of the Moron"?
Yeah. My dad collects comics.
What else does he collect?
Well, he has a bunch of Mars stuff in the basement. You want to see?
What's your dad have to do with the Viking?
He helped design the camera.
They designed it so that it photographs 360 degrees.
It scans the image one line at a time.
Takes about five minutes to complete one revolution.
How do they get the images from Mars back to Earth?
They figured out a way to interpret the data
and then print it out on film.
How long does it take to transmit the signal?
About two hours. The signal travels 58 million miles
in about five minutes.
They tested it out last year in Colorado.
MUSIC: "Scarlet Begonias" by Grateful Dead
Look, I don't think that we should say anything to my father, OK?
Let's see how that new foot works on the dance floor. Come on.
"Any sufficiently advanced technology
"is indistinguishable from magic."
Arthur C Clarke's 3rd law.
My dad knows him.
Arthur, that was a wonderful thing you did for Norma.
I don't know what she'd do without you.
I don't know what I'd do without her.
Really, I don't.
-That was the perfect gift.
-"Bell Bottom Blues" by Derek And The Dominos
-It's a really nice party, Dick.
-And I'm not paying for it.
-You're not paying?
-Well, how did you work that out?
-No, no, no.
Hey, listen, you think you could run a license plate for me?
This is a black sedan.
You think you could find out who owns it?
Yeah, sure. What's going on?
It's just someone hanging around the house, you know.
-It's probably nothing, just want to be safe.
-Yeah. It's worth checking.
What's the deal with this kid? He flashed me the peace sign.
-He's one of your students, isn't he?
-Norma didn't tell you?
No, she didn't. What's...?
Well, he humiliated her in front of the entire class.
He made fun of her foot.
You've got a bloody nose.
Is there something I can get for you?
Well, you said that I had a phone call.
Yes. Right here.
Mrs Lewis, hello. It's Arlington Steward.
I see your husband has contacted the police about my vehicle.
I have quite a few employees.
Listen, we don't want anyone to get hurt.
Well, if you didn't want anyone to get hurt,
you shouldn't have pushed the button.
We don't want any more trouble, OK?
I'm afraid trouble has found you, Mrs Lewis.
There are always consequences.
The test will continue until the button unit is reprogrammed.
OK, what are we supposed to do now?
Listen to your conscience.
Do what it tells you.
Enjoy the party.
What did you say to my wife?
You want to tell me what you said to my wife?
Is that funny to you? Is that funny?
Making fun of someone's disfigurement's funny to you?
Is that funny to you?! Huh?!
No, Mr Lewis. It's not funny, it's tragic.
Are you OK, son?
-# ..the land of the free! #
Dana? We're back.
-Do you have a ride home?
OK, Arthur can take you.
-Here you go.
So where am I taking you?
There's a motel off I95, the Galaxy Motor Lodge.
You're staying in a motel?
Yeah. My parents bought a new house, but it's not ready yet.
You've got blood on your hands.
-What do you mean by that?
Are those blood stains?
Oh. Uh... Yeah, I got into a fight tonight.
Embarrassed everyone and ruined the whole party.
Somebody pushing your buttons?
Why would you say that?
Just an expression.
Don't jump to conclusions.
You'll get yourself in a whole heap of trouble.
Well, I'm already in a whole heap of trouble.
What are you going to do about it?
I don't know. You got any suggestions?
Look into the light.
-Yeah, the light.
Soon you'll be blinded by it.
What is "the light"?
I cannot remember.
I cannot remember.
Are you OK?
You have to get out of here. It's not safe for you here.
Slow down. What are you talking about?
There's only one person who can save you now.
Look in the mirror. You'll see.
TV: "The first picture you saw which included the footpads...
"took about five minutes to take on Mars...
"and then it is transmitted by a relay radio up to the orbiter.
"July 20, 1969...
"we received a transmission from the Moon telling us
"'The Eagle has landed.'
"Today's landing, like that one,
"represents the realization of a dream
"that has long excited mankind's imagination.
"And this mission offers the possibility
"of a momentous discovery in the history of mankind -
"The existence of life elsewhere in the universe.
"If the experiments of Vikings 1 and 2
"do not reveal living organisms,
"they WILL learn other secrets of the universe.
"They will tell us a good many things about our own planet,
"opening up new possibilities for exploration...
"and should produce knowledge that will improve the quality of life
"right here on Earth.
"Our achievements in space
"represent not only the height of technological skill,
"they also reflect the best in our country,
"our character, the capacity for creativity and sacrifice,
"and a willingness to reach into the unknown."
Where did you say you met Dana?
On our field trip to the Kennedy Center in DC.
Right. And she said she lives in Richmond?
Yeah, we rode back on the same bus.
OK. This is her driver's license.
Her name is Sarah Matthews.
She lives in Boston.
He called them his employees?
Did your husband tell you where he was going this morning?
No, he didn't.
I hope for your sake he isn't playing detective again.
Though I assure you, I'll know if he is.
Because of your employees?
Is Dana one of your employees?
As I've told you, I have many employees.
Can I see you? In person?
I want to meet face to face.
I'm looking at you right now, Norma.
I'm in your backyard.
Are you still there?
All right, hold on. We want to get this straight.
You've had the wind tunnel for months.
Now you want the lunar lander and the hangar?
That is correct.
-The NSA activity...
-What kind of activity?
The activities will occasionally involve NASA employees,
but I am not at liberty to disclose how they will be involved
or what they will be doing.
I think this whole thing's outrageous,
but we don't really have any choice, do we?
No. You don't.
Did you get a chance to run that license plate yet?
Yeah, I did.
It's a government-issue license plate.
It's a town car licensed for use by the NSA.
What are those?
This guy's wife, she was shot once in the chest. Point-blank range.
Whoever shot her held a gun directly to her chest
and fired the bullet straight through her heart.
The husband works at Langley.
Was there any sign of a struggle?
There's no skin under her nails, no bruises.
What time did she die?
Neighbours say they heard the shot at 4:45pm.
What's all this to you, Arthur?
Do you think you could take me to his house?
Well, your sister feels awful about last night.
Arthur's just sick about it, too.
Well, Norma, let me just say this.
Daddy and I have always marvelled at your strength
and how positive you always are, even since your injury.
And I just wonder if maybe sometimes...
we don't take for granted that you are all right?
I'm fine, Mama.
The NSA is letting him do it.
NASA can't stop it. Test subjects are all under 40,
happily married with a single child.
Go to the Richmond Library. Follow this call number.
Don't trust anyone, not even your husband.
Oh, my Lord
She's bleeding! Somebody call for help.
Oh, my heavens.
Who is that woman, Norma? Do you know her?
No, I don't, Mama.
Listen, I have a lot of errands to run before the wedding.
Can I drop you off at home?
Ah-ah-ah, don't touch.
He's the public relations manager at Langley.
-What's his name?
-Steward with a D.
-Can you check him out?
There's three dead so far.
"Human Resource Exploitation Manual."
'I want to put in a request for a search warrant down in Langley.
'But don't put the request in through my office.
'Whatever it is, it's bigger than you and me.'
Excuse me, I'm looking for the nearest exit.
You aren't an employee. This library is for employees only.
You're his wife.
I am Clymene.
What does he want from us?
He's testing you.
He's testing all of us.
Please, follow me.
There are three gateways,
but you may choose only one.
Be careful which gateway you choose
for there is only one path to salvation.
Have a seat, Mrs Lewis.
(Indistinguishable from magic.)
Lightning strikes the earth 100 times per second.
A single bolt of lightning can reach temperatures
approaching 28,000 degrees Celsius in a split second.
This is five times hotter than the surface of the sun.
Is that what happened to you?
You were struck by lightning?
And now I am in communication with those who control the lightning.
And what lies behind the other two?
What's the emotion you felt when you first laid eyes on me, Norma?
-You felt what?
You felt love for me?
Because of my disfigurement.
Because of all of the pain that it ever caused me in my life.
I thought what it would be like to have all of that pain
magnified and projected onto my face.
And if I refuse?
You have chosen Gateway number two.
I saw that pain on your face and I just...
I understood it.
I felt an overwhelming feeling of love for you
because I knew that I would never
feel sorry for myself ever again.
Take my hand, Norma.
You don't remember coming home, do you?
You came in your car. You walked in the door like a zombie.
You didn't say anything. You just went straight up to bed.
Where did all this water come from?
-Why isn't Dad telling us what happened?
Go down to the basement and get me more buckets, all right?
-But I just want...
Can you tell me what happened?
I need a drink.
WALTER: Are we still going to the wedding?
There is only so much information that I can disclose.
In the hours following the first Viking transmission from Mars,
your colleague Arlington Steward
was struck by lightning while standing here on this platform.
Yes. And we haven't heard from him since then.
something else now.
ECHOING THROUGH SPEAKER: 'What do you mean?
'Arlington Steward died shortly after being admitted
'to the burn unit at Riverside Hospital.
'Several hours after his body was taken to the morgue
'and locked in a freezer storage unit
'a nurse heard a voice coming from behind a metal door.
'It was a man, laughing.
'Mr Steward had come back from the dead
'and he was laughing hysterically.'
'He was then transferred to a high security military hospital.
'Soon after, we realized he was
'demonstrating some extraordinary capabilities.'
What do you mean by "capabilities"?
His body healed at a rate ten times faster than normal.
Cellular degeneration essentially halted.
Ladies and gentlemen, Mr and Mrs Edward Powell!
SWING MUSIC PLAYS
-You can't drink too much now, all right?
Sir, if you don't mind my asking...
..why a box?
Your home is a box.
Your car is a box on wheels.
You drive to work in it. You drive home in it.
You sit in your home, staring into a box.
It erodes your soul
while the box that is your body inevitably withers, then dies.
Whereupon it is placed in the ultimate box to slowly decompose.
It's quite depressing when you think of it that way.
Don't think of it that way.
Think of it as a temporary state of being.
once you've completed your tests?
I submit the data to my employers...
and then your fate rests in their hands.
One cannot say they are not without a bizarre sense of humour.
Look at me.
I wouldn't know, sir, of whom it is that you speak.
Your...employers remain a mystery to us all.
I like mystery.
How do we pass the test?
Isn't it obvious?
Simply don't press the button.
If enough of you don't, the test will conclude.
But there will be more tests to come.
'Walk directly into the light.
'Do not turn back under any circumstances.'
When you walk into the light,
you're going to feel your body submerged in a liquid.
Try to hold your breath.
If you feel a drowning sensation, it will pass.
Where are you sending them?
To prepare for the next test in Massachusetts.
You spoke earlier about the altruism coefficient.
If human beings are unable
or unwilling to sacrifice individual desires
for the greater good of your species, you will have no chance for survival.
And my employers will be compelled to expedite your extinction.
MUSIC: When Joanna Loved Me by Scott Walker
I was gone, Norma.
I was gone for nearly an hour.
What did you see?
What was there in the light?
Words can't describe it.
It's a place...
neither here nor there...
..but somewhere in between.
It's a warm embrace.
A place where...
the sidewalk ends...
..and despair is no longer the governor of the human heart.
Dad. What's going on?
I'm going to be sick, Walter.
You can still save yourself.
It's too late for me, but you can still save yourself.
Jeffrey Carnes. Boy, do I got a lot of questions for you.
If you want to survive this thing, you'll come with me. Right now.
All right, why don't you put the gun down before someone sees you?
Get in the truck.
Those are classified CIA documents.
"Test subjects and free will.
Test subjects cannot be treated like employees."
-Frontal lobe haemorrhage?
-That's his weakness.
He hasn't figured out how to get in their heads without them noticing.
-You see lots of them?
And so there's limits to what it can do. It's fallible.
Living inside a 70-year-old man?
Yeah, that's why it embedded itself at Langley.
It's got everything it needs: military, CIA, FBI, NASA.
So he can be killed?
-'..the existence of life elsewhere in the universe.'
Where are we going?
Look, it's kidnapped your son, just like it took my daughter.
-But I know where it has him hidden.
There's a motel off I95. It's... Steward's employees took your son there.
It's a transport hub.
There's a swimming pool they use, a sort of gateway.
So, did you push the button or was it your wife?
-Yeah. Yeah, mine too.
And now she's dead.
Did you kill her?
I did it for my daughter.
What do you mean, you did it for your daughter?
I had to make a choice between my wife and my daughter.
-'..and to reflect on our journey into the unknown.
AMBULANCE RADIO CHATTER
Was there anyone in the truck with him?
Not that we saw.
MAN: Let's move!
MAN: All teams execute!
MAN: Bravo, Charlie, forward position.
MAN: Weapons tight!
Move, move, move!
Arthur. Arthur, listen to me.
Whatever happens to you from this point on
will have greater ramifications than you can possibly fathom.
Please, have a seat.
Where's our son?
He's in a safe place. We'll get to him in a moment.
Please sit down.
I want you to know...
that I have the deepest respect and admiration for you both.
You gave me hope.
But I am very sorry that you pushed the button.
I'm afraid I have to tell you
that two of your son's functional senses have been impaired.
He can no longer see and he can no longer hear.
Where is he?
What have you done with him?
I have done nothing with him. I am just a vessel.
You are now presented with two options.
Option one, you can live the rest of your lives
and enjoy the money that has been given to you
and learn to live with your son's permanent impairment.
It is irreversible.
He will never hear your voices or see your faces again.
..there is one bullet in the chamber of this gun.
You can fire it into your wife's heart, killing her.
At the exact moment your spirit leaves your body
your son will be returned to normal.
As for the million dollars,
it will be placed into an interest-bearing account
given to your son on his 18th birthday.
Let me kill myself. Arthur has nothing to do with this.
I'm sorry. The offer is non-negotiable.
Arthur, you must fire the gun.
Norma, you must die.
Or Walter will live for ever in darkness and silence.
Kill me if you like, Mr Lewis,
and condemn your son to a life of agony.
You will be imprisoned for the murder of Arlington Steward, a mere employee.
And they will simply send another to replace me.
-Who will send another?
-Arthur, please don't.
Good day to you.
Can I be forgiven?
I don't know.
I understand you admire the writings of Jean Paul Sartre.
Perhaps these words will comfort you.
There are two ways to enter the final chamber:
free or not free.
The choice is ours.
You gave me a glimpse of the afterlife, didn't you?
Because this is purgatory.
And you're here to shut us down.
HE KNOCKS ON WALL
Your son is locked in the upstairs bathroom.
Sweetheart, can you hear us?
Is anyone out there?
-Is anyone out there?
They must have locked it on the other side.
I can't see. Please. Help me.
I can't hear. Please, help me.
W-Walter. Just back away from the door if you can hear me.
-He can't hear us.
He can't hear us.
Stop it. Arthur, stop!
Arthur! Arthur! Arthur!
Mom! Dad! Please!
Stop. Stop this.
I can't see him like that.
-SHE SOBS QUIETLY
FAST, SHALLOW BREATHING
FAST, SHALLOW BREATHING
I can't do this.
We cannot leave him like this.
It's the only way.
There's no other way.
He smiled at us.
When you asked him about the afterlife, he smiled at us.
-He did, did he?
I love you, and I am so sorry.
I'm so sorry for what I did to us.
Sh! You didn't do anything. We did it.
So don't apologise.
I love you.
And I regret nothing in this life we've lived together.
will count the days...
until my Arthur comes to see me again.
I'm going to push it.
-Until we meet again.
Let's get on with it.
911 Emergency, how may I direct your call?
You said you heard a gunshot? What is the address?
Hello, Mrs Weller.
Shall I come in?
Walter, it's your dad, I'm right here.
Can you hear me?
HE KNOCKS ON DOOR
Walter, if you can hear me, just yell or something. I'm right outside the door.
Put your hands on your head and move away from the door!
I'm right here, honey. Everything's going to be fine, OK? Just hang tight.
I said, put your hands on your head and move away from the door!
Walter's upstairs. He's OK.
They assure me you and your son will be taken care of.
Psychological horror set in 1970s Virginia. Norma and Arthur Lewis are a charming, loving couple; he is a research scientist at Nasa's Langley facility and she is a teacher. Early one morning a mysterious box is left at their door. Hours later, a gentleman with a badly burned face arrives to tell them that if they push the red button on top of the box they will receive one million dollars, but someone they don't know will die. They have 24 hours to choose. He will then return to collect the box.