If you’ve been online at all in the last few days, chances are you’ve seen at least one post related to Netflix’s new horror film, Bird Box. With over 40 million accounts signing on to watch and twitter ablaze with blindfold memes it’s safe to say Sandra Bullock, our artist-turned-survivalist protagonist, has still got it despite being referred to as “The Lady from Bird Box.” Adapted from Josh Malerman’s novel of the same name, Bird Box takes us into a world overcome with mass suicides after seemingly invisible monsters drive everyone who sees them mad. Directed by award winner Susanne Bier, Bird Box jumps between the start of the apocalyptic event to 5 years later on the river as Malorie (Bullock) attempts to get herself and two children to a safe place. The suspense consistently lingers over you as you watch the story of how this came to be and where we are now unfold.
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A pregnant Mallory finds herself in a house with other survivors of the apocalypse as they go through the initial shock of what happened and where to go from here. Similar to AMC’s The Walking Dead we see the group band together, despite their differences, to protect the house and even send a crew to search the local supermarket for food and supplies. It’s at this very supermarket where Malory discovers the birds that lend themselves to the title. These animals are able to sense when the monsters are near and aren’t affected by the power these monsters have over every other creature. We don’t see any other animals throughout the film so it’s apparent that humans aren’t the only ones affected. It doesn’t take long to discover that the actual monsters of this world aren’t the only thing to fear as there are other groups of survivors who, after looking at the monsters, didn’t immediately off themselves in the most convenient way possible. This adds to the danger of the post apocalyptic world because even once you’ve adapted to life with your eyes closed, there are people ready to pry your eyes open if they find you. Matters only seem to get more hopeless once Malorie is the last standing adult and must travel blindly down a river with her two small children. These kids, named Boy and Girl, were born into this world of fear and dutifully follow Malorie’s commands. On the river Malorie, Boy and Girl bundle up in the cold of winter while blindly following the river’s path. I don’t think a single person can watch these scenes without a melody of “wow that must suck” ringing through their head. Along the river voices echo in their ears and taunt them to open their eyes, “it’s safe” a voice calls as the most well behaved children on earth mostly ignore them.
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With a star studded cast of actors such as Sarah Paulson, John Malkovich, Trevante Rhodes, Get Out’s Lil Rel Howery and rapper Machine Gun Kelly Bird Box delivers in talent what it didn’t fully deliver in storyline. Despite having many interesting characters we get little to no backstory on many of them and even Malorie herself doesn’t get much exposition outside of knowing her father was absent and her mother and sister were slightly overbearing. This lack of information makes the viewer unable to fully invest in the characters outside of just general humanity of wanting others to survive. Despite being a horror I, a certified scaredy cat, never once felt the need to cower under a blanket or even close my eyes for a prolonged time. Watching this film felt like virtual reality sky diving, I enjoyed every bit of the thrill but missed the full wind of what makes the experience real. It never fully got me but I still find this film worth watching if only for the originality of the plot.
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