Tuesday, January 1, 2019

Movie Review: "Bird Box" (2018)

Director: Susanne Bier
Year: 2018
Rating: R
Running Time: 2 hours, 4 minutes

The world is invaded by creatures of an unknown origin that cause everyone that looks at them to go mad, compelling them to kill themselves. Now, a woman and two children must navigate a post-apocalyptic landscape blindfolded to find one of the few remaining human sanctuaries.

Bird Box 2018 Netflix movie
"You have to do every single thing I say, or we will not make it." (Image Source)
There has been a recent trend in the horror genre where filmmakers create a scenario where one of the senses in inhibited or removed entirely. Mike Flanagan's "Hush" was a slasher with a protagonist who could not hear. John Krasinki's "A Quiet Place" was a creature feature where the protagonists couldn't speak or make noise. Now, director Susanne Bier's "Bird Box" creates a world where people must travel blindfolded. Susanne Bier is a veteran director who has helmed films like "Brothers," the Oscar-nominated "After the Wedding," and the Oscar-winning "In a Better World." The screenplay is written by Oscar-nominated screenwriter Eric Heisserer and is based on the novel of the same name by Josh Malerman. Needless to say, there is a lot of talent behind this film. The story begins with a woman named Malorie (Sandra Bullock) and two children preparing to boat down a long river blindfolded. She tells the kids that if they look, they will die. The three risk a dangerous two-day-long journey blindfolded for the promise of a sanctuary at the end of their travels. The story then flashes back to when the apocalypse began, showing how creatures of an unknown origin invaded earth, causing all that look at them to go mad and kill themselves.  
Bird Box 2018 Netflix movie
"If you look, you will die." (Image Source)
If you go into "Bird Box" hoping to get every lingering question you might have answered, you may leave it feeling disappointed. You're also not going to see the creatures that cause these mass suicides, so this is something to be aware of as well. Come on...you're telling us Netflix can't lay down a little extra scratch to show us some damn aliens/entities/beings/creatures/spirits/phenomenon?!!? PSH!! We believe the unsettled enigmas and the omission of seeing said aliens/entities/beings/creatures/spirits/phenomenon are both done intentionally so that the audience gets to share in the experience of the protagonists, but still....could have been cool to see them. Malorie and those who take refuge with her are confused. They must live with the fact they will never know how this event began and that they will never see the monsters, so neither does the audience. You can be the judge of whether or not that's a cop-out in its storytelling. This story is told in two parts, one in the post-apocalyptic world where most of the population has been wiped out, and the other that takes place at the beginning of the event, which shows mass suicides, the breakdown of society, and the search for resources in a world without vision. The flashback portion is the most engaging aspect. As soon as the creatures appear, the tension begins to amp up, and as more layers of the story begin to unfold, situations get more dangerous and more unsettling. We remained engaged with the narrative, which kept us on the edge of our seats for a good portion of the movie's runtime. Sandra Bullock is really the driving force of why "Bird Box" is as successful as it is. She does a terrific job in her role, as does the supporting cast including the helpful Trevante Rhodes, the ornery John Malkovich, Tom Hollander, and comedic relief Lil Rel Howery, just to name a few. Still, we can't deny that several big moments left us bewildered as we questioned why this or that happened the way it did. Again, it appears that Bier isn't interested in answering those queries. Some viewers will absolutely hate this choice, and others will accept it. Since we enjoyed the experience of watching it, we'll just have to resign ourselves to this fate as well.
Bird Box 2018 Netflix movie
"We're never getting out of here. No one's coming for us." (Image Source)
"Bird Box" is worth your time, especially if you are a fan of Lovecraftian post-apocalyptic suspense and horror movies. We have to admit, this is one of Netflix's better original films, questions and confusion and improbabilities and all.

My Rating: 7/10
BigJ's Rating: 7.5/10
IMDB's Rating: ~6.8/10
RT Rating: ~66%
Do we recommend this movie: Sure, why not?

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  1. Same predictable plot - different villian

    1. Hi Anonymous,

      We agree that it is predictable, but since most original ideas in Hollywood have been done before, we have to judge on entertainment value, and we enjoyed it for the most part. Sorry you didn't like this one so much!

      Have a good day,
      Lolo and BigJ

  2. Running through the forest at full speed with two kids in tow and rarely falling or hitting a tree was really reallly hard to believe

    1. Hi Byron! We wondered about that as well. At least they seemed to make her count her paces in the early part of the movie. She also didn't get too banged up despite all her falling. Suspension of disbelief is pretty high on this one!

      Thanks for you comment,
      Lolo and BigJ