Review – Bird Box (Netflix) Wastes A Promising Premise

  • Writing - 5.5/10
  • Direction - 7/10
  • Character Development - 7/10
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Writer: Eric Heisserer
Director: Susanne Bier
Producer: Chris Morgan
Release Date: December 21, 2018

Sandra Bullock shines in this post-apocalyptic thriller.


Bird Box Wastes Its Potential

Arriving just before the end of the year, Netflix‘s newest original film, Bird Box, has become a viral sensation. Much like John Krasinski’s A Quiet Place and 2016’s Hush, Bird Box revolves around the survivors suppressing one of the five senses. In this post-apocalyptic sci-fi thriller, unseen forces are causing society to commit suicide by appearing to them as their worst fears or regrets. The film is based on Josh Malerman’s 2014 debut novel of the same name. And while the movie is high on suspense, there are enough problems to leave viewers confused or unsatisfied.

What’s the Story?

Bird Box - novel and movie poster
Bird Box: Netflix’s movie poster and the novel’s cover

Sandra Bullock stars as Malorie, a woman who struggles to get her children (Boy and Girl) to safety, all the while wearing blindfolds. In this universe, the only way to remain alive is by taking away one’s ability to see. The entities that are terrorizing the world only have access to kill once a victim glances at them. The film jumps between two time periods. First it shows the creatures’ initial effects, and then it highlights Malorie’s attempts at getting her children to safety as they travel down “the rapids.”

Danish filmmaker Susanne Bier (Brothers) directs this gripping thrillerand she captures a visually stunning movie. Bird Box was written by Eric Heisserer, and while the screenplay has a unique concept, its inconsistent narrative takes away from the experience. This post-apocalyptic thriller never makes sense out of certain plot devices, and backtracks on its own rules multiple times. Alongside Bullock, the film stars Colson Baker, Rosa Salazar, Trevante Rhodes, Tom Hollander, Sarah Paulson, and John Malkovich.

Luckily, the performances in the movie make up for the wasted story. Bullock’s character development throughout the film is enough to keep the viewer invested. The audience never sees the creatures in this universe; this was probably done to keep the audience in the same position as the characters. Bird Box plays out like a typical survival film by having a group trapped in a setting after an outbreak occurs; then they begin to die one by one until it’s down to two particular characters. 

Final Verdict

This Netflix original film isn’t worth all the hype it’s getting, but it is still one of the streaming platform’s better projects. Bullock delivers a crowd-pleasing performance as the film’s protagonist; her growth as a character is evident once all is said and done. Since release, the movie has garnered lots of attention, and Bullock has been at the center of several recent memes. While Bird Box fumbles over its own set of rules and leaves several questions unanswered, it is still a decent effort at making a survival film. Perhaps the films greatest accomplishment is the progression of Malorie as she learns to accept her role as a mother.

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