And this time, M. Night Shyamalan is nowhere to be seen.
For the past two weeks, social media has been dominated with nothing Bird Box memes, jokes and reactions.
The question has to be asked: “Why?”
It’s not that Bird Box is a bad movie, per-say (I actually liked it more than you might think based on that intro), and I understand the convenience factor related to the film as it was released straight to Netflix. Still, I see all the attention this movie is getting and wonder where all these people were when something like Spider-Verse or even Bumblebee was released.
Bird Box comes from director Susanne Bier (Serena, which is a Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence movie that nobody, including myself, bothered to see) and is based off a novel from singer Josh Malerman.
From what I hear, that novel is actually pretty good, too, even though I’m probably not going to take the time out to read it, if we’re being totally honest.
With a screenplay from Eric Heisserer (Arrival, Lights Out), the film stars Sandra Bullock as Malorie — a new mother who’s trying to save her kids from the end of the world.
If you had asked Malorie what the most surprising part of that statement is six years before everything in Bird Box actually goes down, she probably would have told you that it’s the motherhood part.
She’s never really considered herself to be a people-person, you see. Despite pleas from her sister, Jessica (Sarah Paulson), Malorie strongly considers putting the child up for adoption upon hearing that she’s pregnant just because she doesn’t think she’d be capable of interacting with a baby every single day.
In the end, though, she doesn’t have much of a choice when it comes to motherhood.
Malorie is on her way home from a routine check-up when the invasion starts — the invasion being a bunch of unseen monsters that give you the urge to commit suicide if you stare them in the eye.
Within minutes, the entire world descends into chaos and fiery explosions. Malorie, however, is one of the lucky ones who realizes what’s happening pretty early on as she quickly shields her eyes in order to protect herself.
She manages to take shelter in a nearby mansion with a group of survivors composed of Greg (BD Wong), the homeowner; Douglas (John Malkovich), the cold as ice alpha-male; Cheryl (Jacki Weaver), the confused elderly woman; Lucy (Rosa Salazar), the police officer in training; Felix (Machine Gun Kelly), the burnout; Charlie (Lil Rel Howery), the conspiracy theorist; Olympia (Danielle Macdonald), the innocent one who’s also pregnant; and Tom (Trevante Rhodes), the only one with a lick of sense whatsoever.'
While Malorie is able to give birth at this house and stays there for a time, she knows it can only be temporary. The nearby threats are too great and she needs to get her children somewhere safer.
There’s tale of a safe haven down the river, but it’s a 48-hour journey through dangerous territory that will almost certainly get her killed (especially because the whole journey has to be made with a blindfold on).
Of course, that’s what she winds up doing and, as you might imagine, everything that can go wrong pretty much does go wrong.
Bird Box might sound like somewhat of a gimmicky movie, and it can definitely feel like that at times. It also might sound like it’s playing off other movies that came before it, such as A Quiet Place, The Mist, I Am Legend or The Happening (just to be clear, this is a much, much better movie than The Happening).
As a whole, though, Bird Box still manages to be an enjoyable, albeit light, romp with some good action and suspense thrown in there.
The concept of these monsters — which, thankfully, are never shown to the camera as fear of the unknown is almost always scarier than a CGI creation — and the way they prey on their victims lends itself to some frightening sequences and cool imagery, the likes of which I haven’t seen done in any previous film.
Some parts of Bird Box might be a bit stale, sure, as the movie really slows down once Malorie enters the house and all of the characters play into the exact trope that you’d expect them to, but it picks up again when the film simply presents itself as the monster-flick it’s trying to be.
Until the ending, that is.
Bird Box completely airballs its last ten minutes with an ending that feels so anti-climatic and dull. Without spoiling what, exactly, happens, the climax of the film is nothing more than a character walking around with a blindfold, shouting things at unseen entities.
Admittedly, the film backed itself into a corner in coming up with an ending when deciding they weren’t going to show the monster, but I’m pretty sure that someone out there could have come up with something that’s more exciting than what we got.
Part of that also might be the fact that I really didn’t buy Malorie’s character arch in the movie. Apart from the fact that it felt forced, a lot of it just feels awfully cheesy in a laughable kind of way — to the point where the film doesn’t really know how to convey her stubbornness to motherhood so they just have her name her kids “Boy” (Julian Edwards) and “Girl” (Vivien Lyra Blair), which is a ridiculous as it sounds.
That being said, Sandra Bullock is still, hands down, the best part of Bird Box as she elevates the film to a new level compared to how it would be received with any other actress. There’s a great opening scene I can’t get out of my mind where she sits her kids down and basically threatens to hurt them if she ever finds out they take their blindfolds off, which Bullock is able to sell perfectly.
Ultimately, Bird Box is a perfectly enjoyable film that probably became too popular for its own good. If fewer people saw the film, it would be widely declared as a sleeper-hit that’d go on to gain a cult following. Since it’s so popular, though, it holds a different place in pop culture legacy — for better or worse. But, hey, I'm also the guy who enjoyed Escape Room, so take that for what it is.
Watch the trailer for Bird Box here and then let us know, in the comments below, what you thought of the film!
'Bird Box' - It's about time they remade 'The Happening' [REVIEW]7