Film Review: Bird Box (2018)

by - January 10, 2019

Bird Box (2018) is the newest release from Netflix that is currently breaking all of their records. The thriller is directed by Susanne Bier and stars Sandra Bullock, with numerous celebrities and famous actors popping up throughout the movie. In this thriller, Malorie (Bullock) is pregnant with her first child when an epidemic breaks that prevents everyone from seeing outside. It then becomes a case of survival as everyone tries to survive seeing what lies outside.

Bird Box (2018) - source: Netflix

This film has become an internet sensation unlike any other movie that Netflix has released. Bird Box has the highest viewership of any original Netflix movie, with over 45 million accounts watching more than 70% of the movie. This has also sparked another YouTube trend, in which people are trying to live a day as if they were in the universe of Bird Box. There is also the heavy comparison between this and another film that came out last year, A Quiet Place. Both of these films are thrillers that rely on the idea that one of the senses has to be removed to be able to survive that particular world.

What helps this film is that we have such a strong lead with Bullock as Malorie. Not only does Bullock give a great performance throughout the film, but we also get a lot of character development from her. She is strong and independent, yet also caring for her unborn child. She is tough to her children when they are looking for a safe place, yet it is only to protect them and keep them safe during a tough journey. Bullock is convincing throughout all of this and is captivating to watch.

There are some guest performances here, and some of them work really well. The stand outs for me were the guest appearances of Jacki Weaver and Tom Hollander, who both gave great performances. Hollander in particular had a key role in the film, and the exploration of his character adds to the lore and the background of the creature and the epidemic. However, there were some performances and characters that felt out of place and unnecessary, such as the role played by Machine Gun Kelly. Not only is he not a great actor and distracting to the story, but it feels forced and out of place throughout the movie.

Bird Box (2018) - source: Netflix

When I started the film, I did not expect it to continue jumping backwards and forwards between a space of five years. This is quite jarring at times, and whilst it looks beautiful visually, it does not relieve any tension or help drive the plot forward. In fact, I found the sequences that come five years later to spoil what was going to be shown afterwards, which meant that I had little investment in the story and the characters. I get why they did it this way, but for me the continuing cuts and jumps throughout the film simply did not work.

What did work for me though was the ending. I have heard from some people that they found the ending to be lacking in comparison to the tense nature of the situation, yet I felt that was a relief. The ending makes total sense and addresses something that I was continuing to think about during the entire film. I have heard that the book that this film is adapted from gets much darker in its ending, yet keeps the same message and focuses on the same subject matter. I am not sure what I would have made of the ending if shown in the film, but both endings are great on paper and make sense to the story.

I am also glad that this film does not show the monsters that are causing the epidemic. There have been leaked designs of the monsters, and to me they look hilarious more than terrifying. Massive praise should go to Susanne Bier for stepping up and saying that the hours of work that went into the sequences featuring the creature should get cut out. We still get to see some form of the creature through interpretation, which does look a lot cooler. The idea that we cannot even see the creature gives us a sense that we are in the world with everyone and we cannot look at the creature or else we will go as well. It may have been accidental, but it sucks you into the idea of the film and what is unknown may truly be the most terrifying thing out there.

Bird Box (2018) - source: Netflix

As people may expect, this film doesn't go near the standard of the likes of A Quiet Place. I found some of the characters to be badly written and I was not a fan of cutting between a span of five years continually. Having said that, this is still a clever concept and one of the better films to come from Netflix. Whilst I couldn't watch this film again, I do suggest to check it out if you are into darker and grittier thrillers, as this could be up your street.

3/5

Have you seen Bird Box yet? Did you find it to be enthralling, or were expecting more from the amount of chatter about it? Do you plan on watching it? Let me know in the comments below.

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