week’s review sees us drifting downriver with a blindfolded Sandra Bullock and
two scared kids as we take a look at another Netflix original: Bird Box.
Bird Box began streaming (no pun
intended) worldwide on 21 December 2018.
In a nutshell
film starts off with Bullock’s character Malorie telling a young boy and girl
that they’ll be taking a boat down river, and not to remove their blindfolds
for the duration of the journey, otherwise they’ll die. Skip back five years
and we see why, as supernatural entities begin appearing around the world,
causing anyone who looks at them to immediately commit suicide.
Who’s it for?
over the age of 15, if the certification people are to be obeyed. There isn’t a
whole lot of anything in this movie other than violent death scenes that would
require a viewer to be a bit older, but it’s certainly not for children or
those of a nervous disposition.
Who’s in it?
Bird Box has a nice little cast.
Sandra Bullock is the protagonist supported by Trevante Rhodes, BD Wong, Tom
Hollander, Jacki Weaver and John Malkovich, among others.
is, as you might expect, as strong as ever in the lead role – assured, funny,
empathetic and believable playing Malorie, a character who’s well capable of
preserving herself and others while remaining vulnerable enough in the midst of
an apocalyptic situation for us to relate to her as a person (not that we’ve
been in too many end-of-the-world scenarios, but you know what I mean).
puts in a notable performance as Douglas (are we supposed to hate him or like
him?) while Rhodes is a strong support for Bullock’s lead. Hollander is
sufficiently creepy in his role, too.
The good stuff
recently acquired an inexplicable taste for horror movies, so I couldn’t resist
flicking this one on as soon as I watched the trailer. And it didn’t disappoint
– it is scary, and it is a
relatively-fresh breath of air in its genre. And it’s another bull’s-eye for
Netflix’s efforts in horror after the superb Annihilation.
enjoy movies where a group of random strangers are thrust together and have to
collectively figure out how to survive. I wouldn’t do so well in that scenario
myself, but it’s fun watching others have a go at it. The plot of the movie,
which cuts back and forth between the river journey and how it all kicked off
five years prior, is engaging enough to keep you hooked in without giving you
too much of a chance to dig any deeper into potential plot-holes; the tension
is pumped steadily into the house where much of the retrospective action takes
place and when the scares do come, they’re worth the wait.
filmmakers also employed a clever trick to maintain the suspense, one that
directors have used countless times in the past to great effect – you don’t see
the monsters for a very long time (or in this instance, technically not at
all). Think of the shark in Jaws, the
T-Rex in Jurassic Park, or Norma
Bates in Psycho. The suggestion of
horror in Bird Box is often greater
than what’s actually seen, and that makes it all the more powerful.
The not so good stuff
mentioned previously, Bird Box is a relatively-fresh idea, but it’s not
totally original. M. Night Shyamalan’s The
Happening (which is a terrible movie) was centred on the same idea of
people committing suicide under the influence of some invisible entity, so I
felt like this one was a slight rip-off. Indeed, Josh Malerman, who wrote the
novel on which the film is based, feared that his rough draft (written prior to
The Happening) was too similar to
Shyamalan’s idea and would be passed over. This is a much better take on the
idea, though, so he needn’t worry.
only other gripe was the ending, which was a bit of a come-down after all the
tension leading up to it – it’s not the worst, but a little more closure would
The bottom line
Bird Box is another solid horror
showing from Netflix, and well worth a watch. It’s plenty scary and
intelligently executed by the filmmakers and cast. I enjoyed it a lot and will
definitely give it a second viewing at some stage.
Verdict: (3.5 / 5)