Bird Box (2018) Film Review

One of the most successful films released on Netflix, as according to Netflix themselves, 45 million people have seen the film in the first 7 days of being released on the online platform. It was time to see what all the hype was about for the Sandra Bullock horror vehicle.

Bird Box stars Sandra Bullock as a heavily pregnant Malorie Hayes where an unknown force is sweeping across the world that makes people commit suicide. The main way to survive is to keep your eyes shut when you are outside. If you look at this mysterious force you become infected by it and makes you kill yourself. The film has two different timelines, the present with Malorie and two children trying to row downstream to a nondescript location. The other, is 5 years before with Malorie and a group of people hiding in a house trying to survive from this mysterious force.

The film sounds like 2018 horror hit, The Quiet Place but instead of being quiet, you need to keep your eyes shut. It is a cool concept, to lose the use of your eyes in this kind of setting is terrifying. Sandra Bullock mentioned that she was blindfolded for 50% of the filming of Bird Box. The majority of the film is in daylight but without sight and this mysterious force haunting the place, the atmosphere is tense. Bird Box is highly effective in proving the concept of less is more. The plot of the film may seem vague with it’s monster but that it all that we are told. We get very little explanation and we are quickly chucked into this mad apocalyptic world. However, for this film, it totally works.

Bird Box also has a great cast that includes Sandra Bullock, Trevante Rhodes and John Malkovich. This helps as Bird Box is a good character piece, when they are in the house we get to learn about the people and made you care about them. Horror works best when you care about the people in peril because it increases the connection the viewer has with the character therefore heightening the danger. The characters almost fall into the category of cliches but are saved by the great performances by the cast. I would of preferred the film to be more lineal and focus more on the house because I found the river storyline to not add much, it was only the last 5 minutes that really added something to the film. The house was more interesting because of the array of characters.

Bird Box in it’s concept does have limitations. To escape the monster, all you have to do is keep your eyes closed. It’s a much easier task than keeping quiet (A Quiet Place) and keeping your eyes open. (Blink from Doctor Who) An element of danger is withheld because you know they are safe if they just keep there blindfolds on. The film does add a cravate to the plot that makes the situation a bit harder to survive but at times I didn’t feel any danger for the characters, especially when they were in the house. The hype surrounding Bird Box has made this a success but also it’s biggest downfall. There is no way the film could of justify the enlarged hype surrounding the film. It was tense, at times scary but it was muted at some points and I was not terrified at all.

Bird Box is another hit for Netflix and at the moment they are on a roll. This is a high budget horror that has got everyone talking. It is not as scary as the majority would say but it was a highly enjoyable film that took great care in its characters. The cast are fantastic and some of the scenes was full of tension and terror. The ambiguity of the film does lead to a possibility of a sequel but I prefer if this stood alone. Another great film from the online platform and a good way to end 2018. The next year looks exciting for online mediums and if they are anywhere as good as this film, I am very much intrigued by future releases.

Rating – ★ ★★★

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