Suspenseful and Relevant
A horror thriller with Sandra Bullock? That’s a rarity, and so is this world where your eyesight puts you in danger — your own eyes can, and will, lead to your death. Bird Box offers us an obviously fictional realm, but it also contains something frighteningly recognizable.
Bird Box introduces an apocalyptic force that wipes out the population if anyone looks at it. All we see as the audience is a morphing form of wind that follows people like a tidal wave approaching the shoreline; it’s just ready to eat up humankind. After the remaining survivors figure out how to avoid it, Malorie Hayes (Bullock) has to raise and protect two children from this never-ending disaster. And though her parental choices are controversial, what other choice does she have?
While most of it is unique, Bird Box unfortunately seems like a spinoff or even a sequel of The Happening, but it’s not. The concept of an invisible force causing humans to commit suicide isn’t a new idea, but Bird Box still managed to weave in some more unique aspects for its audience, such as the human villains.
The movie doesn’t make it obvious that there are any bad living people for the first half of the plot, which was an effective idea because it surprises viewers when it happens later. Why is Douglas (John Malkovich) so paranoid about letting an innocent person into their house-turned-hideout? Is he in the right here, or is he just a grumpy, crazy dude? Letting in a stranger who is seeking help is, therefore, a huge risk, but how could the others not help?
Then, there’s the sight of very small children growing up damaged from this violent, deadly environment. While it’s not particularly scary watching them in the second half of the film, it is unnerving to discover that Malorie refrains from calling them by their names; they’re just called “boy” and “girl,” which is basically inhumane. Growing up with no name, no personal title, and worst of all, your guardian constantly snapping at you is just below humanity. In fact, it looks abusive to us watching it on screen. But at the same time, Malorie’s borderline-militaristic parenting methods are understandable being that they’re living in a suicidal-inducing society now. This, right here, is pretty disturbing.
Finally, the whole concept of facing the monster is almost tangible. If you look at the apocalyptic force and then die, it’s eerily similar to real-world issues. And Bird Box reminds us of that — face your fear, and you’ll pay the price. The alternative is to blindfold yourself from it all (rightfully so in this fictional case of survival) and that’s reflective of how we “survive” in reality. It’s everyone for themselves in the end, and if preventing ourselves from facing, accepting or even believing the problems in front of us means we can live, then so be it — a pretty dark mindset to have yet necessary too in this case.
Other details and minor moments in the movie contribute to an overall perturbing story to watch: A guy forcing a victim’s eyelids open, a woman and two children blindly sailing toward safety not guaranteed, and a pregnant woman very close to either starvation or violent death.
All in all, Bird Box succeeds in thrilling its audience even though it doesn’t haunt us in our dreams.
Bird Box (2018) Official Netflix Trailer
|Elisabeth joined Dead Talk News in 2022 and loves movies and TV! After working for various sites, including Screen Rant and Showbiz Cheat Sheet, Elisabeth joined DTN to critique and review various movies, from horror flicks to Disney live-actions.|