Bird Box (2018) Review



Bird Box is worth watching to see what all the fuss is about; it’s certainly an engaging watch with excellent performances and an attention grabbing first 20 minutes; it’s not as interesting after that though.

Plot: When a mysterious force decimates the population, only one thing is certain — if you see it, you die. The survivors must now avoid coming face to face with an entity that takes the form of their worst fears. Searching for hope and a new beginning, a woman and her children embark on a dangerous journey through the woods and down a river to find the one place that may offer sanctuary. To make it, they’ll have to cover their eyes from the evil that chases them — and complete the trip blindfolded.

Review: Based on the novel of the same name Bird Box has rapidly become a phenomenon on Netflix and is one of their highest viewed movies to date. I figured it was time to see what all the fuss was about so we gave it a watch the other night.

Bird Box has been compared to A Quiet Place in terms the similar idea; in A Quiet Place you have to remain silent or monsters will kill you, in Bird Box you have to remain blind or monsters will kill you. Aside from that though they are suitably different but A Quiet Place remains the superior film.

Bird Box starts off very well with Sandra Bullock’s character Malorie (who is pregnant) and her sister going to the hospital to check the status of her baby but in the background on the news there are stories of mass suicides and the world going slightly crazy. This quickly catches up with the two sisters as they leave the hospital and the city rapidly descends into chaos with people dying everywhere around them. It’s incredibly intense and easily the highlight of entire film and frankly it never quite lives up to it for the rest of the runtime. Malorie runs into a nearby house with a group of survivors and it’s up to them to survive whatever is happening.

Sandra Bullock gives one of her best performances yet; her character Malorie isn’t particularly sympathetic and is quite a bitter individual but she feels like a real person rather than a movie character. People in reality are difficult and not one dimensional and that is the case here.

For me it’s John Malkovich who steals this movie with his acerbic wit which gives the movie a dark sense of humour counterbalancing the tension. The rest of the characters aren’t all that interesting and you literally count down the seconds until they die as we all know that it’s just going to be Sandy and her kids making the trip down river.

The first half of the film is definitely the stronger as it has a greater sense of the unknown but once the rules are laid out that you need a blindfold when going outside to survive you quickly get the idea and it’s a lot of fun with plenty of tension-filled moments but I found the pacing dragged in second half and I just wanted to get to the end credits and see how it was resolved.

A lot of people have voiced their displeasure with the climax but I found it pretty satisfying and a good way to finish the story. I wouldn’t sit through the movie again though as once you know the story then it will lack the same tension or excitement.

There is an attempt at supernatural allegory but never really delves into it and only scratches the surface that these creatures are essentially demons but we never see them and it’s left to our imagination which admittedly is the better idea.

Overall, Bird Box has Sandra Bullock playing a rather different character from what we’re used to and she’s hard to root for a lot of the time but the concept is an interesting one with a tense opening sequence. It never quite lives up to it for the rest of the film but it’s diverting enough.