Review: Bird Box

 

If Hollywood has taught us anything, it’s that surviving the apocalypse is  hard. After 2018’s hit A Quiet Place, we learned surviving the apocalypse without making a sound can makes things much more difficult.

In Netflix’s Bird Box, the world is thrown into chaos after something is causing mass suicides across the globe. A pregnant woman named Malorie (Sandra Bullock) is caught in the middle of the hysteria and takes shelter in a stranger’s home.

The group of survivors learn this hysteria is caused by an alien entity that, if seen, will show you your worst fears –  that’s what’s driving everyone to suicide. Not going outside is the only way to survive. It’s not long before the group’s survival is tested when they’re low on resources and have to go outside.

Bird Box can’t avoid comparisons to A Quiet Place. They’re both post apocalyptic stories that center on a small group of people trying to survive an alien invasion without the use of a tool we use to communicate every day. While A Quiet Place focuses on family, Malorie is reluctant to be a mother and doesn’t have a significant other to help her through this pregnancy.  The group, lead by Douglas (John Malkovich) and Tom (Trevante Rhodes) have some some infighting due to different approaches on how to deal other people seeking shelter.

Bird Box is a non-linear story that jumps from what’s happening currently to the first days of the invasion. The film opens with Malorie in a lousy situation and the time jumps put the pieces together to show exactly how she arrived at this point. Once Malorie’s journey catches up to present day, it’s more alien horror film than a post apocalyptic saga about strangers stuck in a house.

Sadly, the alien creatures are never seen.  A few times the audience is treated to a character’s reactions to seeing them and the alien presence is often accompanied by a sound/shadow or the wind rustling up some leaves. There is no indication of the size and/or scale of these creatures, but they seem massive.

Even without showing the threat, the story  is intense and you feel for Malorie and the other people stuck in the house. The fear of anyone seeing the aliens is a dark cloud that hangs around the entire movie.

Bird Box is an entertaining sci-fi story that would feel a lot more inventive and exciting if  A Quiet Place hadn’t already come out. The film plays out like 100 different films just like it – there’s an alien threat and a human threat, someone inside doesn’t want to help strangers outside, another person sacrifices themselves, and someone acts unhinged because it’s the end of the world. Bird Box is enjoyable but doesn’t bring anything new or groundbreaking to the genre.

Grade: B-

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