Film Review: Bird Box (2018)

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Sandra Bullock in  Bird Box  | Den of Geek

Sandra Bullock in Bird Box | Den of Geek

- PEEP PEEP SPOILER BIRD -

What a way to end the world’s longest year! We were graced with the bizarre presence of A Quiet Place back in April, in which a family navigated a NO SOUND post-apocalyptic world. Here in Bird Box, we also get another family navigating a NO SIGHT post-apocalyptic world. It’s the perfect combination of troll and thrill, with 100% of the tangible suspense that A Quiet Place lacked. The memery has spoken for itself (not to mention did the advertising for the film), and Netflix has just reported a whopping 45M views of the film in its first week. If Bird Box shows us anything, it’s the undeniable power of word-of-mouth and memes. 

The basic premise is simple: some weird and totally unexplained entity has take over the world, and one sight of it will lead the individual to be overcome by mass depression and eventually commit suicide. In some cases, the individual will be overcome by the entity’s “beauty” and try to violently convince others to view it. Talk about a weird and fucked up premise.. but somehow it all works here. Bird Box is a film that you really can’t take too seriously, even as a horror film, because you just gotta Yes And through all of its unexplained plot holes. All of those things are instead made up for by its tangible suspense and stellar performances. 

Sandra Bullock, Vivien Lyra Blair, and Julian Edwards in  Bird Box  | Collider

Sandra Bullock, Vivien Lyra Blair, and Julian Edwards in Bird Box | Collider

Sandra Bullock, as Malorie, leads the film, but is well-supported by a truly star-studded cast, including Sarah Paulson, Trevante Rhodes, Tom Hollander, BD Wong, John Malkovich, Lil Rel Howery and more. Of course they each get plucked off one by one, but that’s (kinda?) beside the point. The entity may be unexplained and quite bullshit-like, but the filmmakers did not fuck around in casting actors like Paulson or Hollander.  The second Paulson’s eyes made contact with the entity, she channeled all of her years of American Horror Story acting excellence into her pupils to create one of the most memorable scenes of the film. The same goes for Hollander who portrays one of the “crazies” determined to make others see the entities. He’s a superstar of a thespian, able to channel A Clockwork Orange and The Shining all the same.

Bird Box is an eerie story also, apparently, about motherhood. Malorie at the start of the film is a cynical and depressed pregnant artist who wants to live in isolation. But in the process of survival, she is forced to become the fierce caretaker of not only her child but also the child of another woman she gave birth with while trapped from the entity. Like any Lady of Cynicism, she does of course name the kids “Girl” and “Boy” respectively. There’s a scene in the film in which “Girl”, who is not Malorie’s own child, essentially offers herself up for sacrifice, and Malorie pauses just a little too long for anyone’s comfort. You better believe I shrieked. 

The ending is questionable and in a weird way, almost enlightening? For me, it brings into the forefront the real problems with movies like this, A Quiet Place, and even 2016’s Hush. What does it really mean when horror has shifted to using blindness, deafness, and hard of hearing as a plot point? Does it even mean anything?

Before I get too too serious about Bird Box, I’m going to end this short with a short collection of Dank Memes About Bird Box because let’s be honest, that’s what drew us to this movie in the first place.