Review: 'Dybbuk Box - True Story Of Chris Chambers'
For the last year or so, there's been an unstoppable trend sweeping across YouTube, one which sees video makers purchase possessed demon boxes from the dark web to open on camera - a challenge which often results in paranormal activity.
In his 2019 documentary horror film, which is available to watch now on Amazon Prime Video, Chris Chambers gets hold of one of these "dybbuk boxes" to test their validity himself. The 34-year-old from Texas got more than he bargained for and the outcome was near fatal.
The reason so many people make dybbuk challenge videos is that people watch them, they work. With this film, director Joseph A. Mazzaferro has created the same compelling content in what is essentially an extended YouTube video.
The film is made up of footage which is said to have been released by Chris' parents and shows the filmmaker's attempts to document the opening of a dybbuk box he bought online. The paranormal activity he experiences becomes increasing violent, until it reaches a point where Chris is forced to leave his home.
Like other documentaries of its genre, the film starts with an on-screen warning: "The following footage is real. It's strongly suggested that you do not attempt to conjure spirits, play with black magic or invite dark entities into your life. The encounters contained in this documentary have been studied by industry professionals and proven to be accurate recorded paranormal accounts."
We then meet Chris, who is sat in front of his computer in his home office in January 2019. Speaking into his camera in the style of a vlogger, Chris says, "I've been seeing this new thing on YouTube where people are getting these dybbuk boxes and they're basically opening them live." He adds that "some of these YouTubers are actually getting some pretty neat results."
He also admits that some of the videos are totally fake and it is that for reason that he wants to give the challenge ago. He explains, "I kind of wanted to do my own investigation on this particular topic because it's something that I kind of believe in." He adds, "I think that there is a possibility that this sort of stuff is real."
Like many of the YouTubers who have experimented with dybbuk boxes, Chris bought his from the dark web, a listing with the title "EXTREMELY Haunted Dybbuk Box (Strong Demonic Spirit Possessed)". The item, which was listed for $250 came with the warning, "there are no such thing as ghosts or spirits there are only demons. This item is not for the ill willed and should never be opened by anyone. It is sealed shut and should remain as such for all eternity."
The description warned, "a dybbuk will search for a living soul latch itself onto and will never be able to die, even if attached to a host. This being will never be at peace."
Ignoring the warnings, Chris paid for the item and two weeks later the mysterious package arrived. Chris first noticed a foul smell coming from the box, which he described as "rancid". Once he'd removed it from its packaging, Chris commented, "it's not that heavy, there's definitely something in it," as he rattled the contents around inside the box.
Chris was instantly unsettled by the dybbuk box, speaking to camera he said, "the moment I pulled it out of the box, beyond the smell of this thing, there's a presence to it. It's like its own entity sitting here."
Chris then began to conduct some paranormal experiments on the box, first using a ghost hunting device called an EMF meter. This gadget detects changes in the electromagnetic field around it, some believe that these changes can be cause by paranormal entities.
When the filmmaker put the meter near the box it began to flash and beep wildly. It was clearly reacting to the box as it triggered when it was moved towards it and stopped when moved away. An amazed Chris said, "it definitely seems to be picking up the box or something in the box."
He then switch to a device called a spirit box, which rapidly scans through the radio spectrum. The idea is that spirits can interfere with this and use the static to communicate in the form of audible words or sentences. A caption on-screen tells us that Chris spent around half an hour asking questions like "is there a ghost in this box... is there a spirit in this box... can anyone hear me?", we only see the few responses he got.
When Chris called out, "is there a demon in this box?" what he thought sounded like "yes" could be heard coming from the spirit box. He also heard the word "help." Speaking later Chris said, "there were a couple of responses in there that freaked me out."
I thought Chris was going to drag out the opening of the box for the full hour, but just 16 minutes in to the film he said "OK, so here it is. The opening" and proceeded to open the box. As he cut the wax seal from the outside of the box, he said "something is totally telling me not to do this," but moments later wearing latex gloves in case of demonic transfer he opened the box up.
While opening the box, Chris had placed his EMF meter next to it and as before it was beeping due to its proximity to the box, but the second the box was opened the EMF meter stopped. Chris said there was a "strange heat coming from the box, everything feels hot to touch."
He found a number of strange objects inside of the dybbuk box, but Chris soon realised that what was in the box was nothing compared to what he seemed to have let out. Just as he was wrapping up, the lamp next to him flickered. A shaken Chris said, "that has never happened before." The lamp then started to repeatedly flash, but this was tame compared to the activity he experienced over the next few days.
From this point on, the movie is similar in style to that of the popular 'Paranormal Activity' franchise, after Chris sets up a series of cameras around the house to keep tabs on the haunting. Over the next few days Chris has trouble sleeping and experiences everything from doors opening and closing on their own, and electrical faults, through to poltergeist-like activity.
The supernatural happenings build slowly and are believable, but soon escalate to a terrifying climax. Towards the end of the film Chris reveals that for the past few days he's been feeling really sick and has been suffering with constant headaches and daily vomiting.
The activity eventually forces Chris to move out of his apartment after it became violent and life threatening. A caption at the end of the film tells us that there's been no update on Chris' condition since the film was made.
The film finishes with the warning: "We hope that the footage will persuade anyone involved in these acts to consider the outcome before it's too late."
Watch The Official Trailer
'Dybbuk Box - True Story Of Chris Chambers' is available to watch on Amazon now, click here. It is well worth a watch.
As a skeptic, I started off wanting to debunk this documentary, but by the time I'd got halfway through the film I realised that it was just too entertaining to attempt to pick apart.
The film won't convince anyone that dybbuk boxes are real, but it is well produced, brilliantly shot and edited. Because it's filmed in the style of a YouTube video with Chris talking directly to the camera, the viewer is drawn into the story, making the paranormal activity feel all the more unsettling.
The film doesn't go over the top like many Hollywood supernatural horrors do, which means the movie is less dramatic, but its fast pace makes up for that. The story develops quickly and concludes within 60 minutes - perfect for a film of this genre.
The movie has had mixed reviews so far, some who believe the activity is fake feel cheated that the film has been passed off as being a real documentary. One angry reviewer wrote, "to lie to people to tell them this is factual is wrong" - clearly they have never seen the genre defining found-footage documentary 'The Blair Witch Project'.
Other reviewers have praised the movie for its storytelling and realism, calling it a "great watch", and describing it as "brilliantly stitched together and shot in an indie documentary style. A film that has me both scared but skeptical."
If you're looking for proof of the paranormal, this film is not for you. However, if you're looking for an hour of supernatural entertainment, then suspend your disbelief, sit back and enjoy this realistic glimpse into the eerie trend of opening demonic boxes.
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