Review: Bird Box

Over winter break, Netflix released a new thriller, known as “Bird Box” available to those who own a Netflix account. Not many people knew this movie was coming, but once Netflix released the new horror film, it became an overnight sensation. The plot is about a mysterious force that ultimately chooses if a person lives or dies. Neither the watcher nor the characters in the movie know what this force is, but if a character chooses to try and find out what it is, they will die. The only way to survive is to shield one’s eyes as soon as they see anything with natural light. If they do see the light however, they will see their worst fears, and decide to take their own life. The movie starts off with Malorie (Sandra Bullock) talking to her two children, telling them that they are going on a trip to try and get to safety. She lectures them, telling them that no matter what happens, to never get off the boat, and to never take off their blindfolds. The three have to make it down a treacherous river without being to see, one of the biggest challenges of all.

Malorie opens the movie as a painter who has her sister visiting in town. At first, it was hard to even tell that she was pregnant and was only noticed after Jessica, Malorie’s sister, drives her to the doctor’s office after talking about a bunch of mass suicides happening in Europe. As they walk in, Malorie notices a woman talking on the phone, acting completely normal. However, after her appointment, the woman is repeatedly hitting her head across the glass, and at the moment, Malorie realizes that whatever epidemic was spreading in Europe, has most definitely now come to North America. Right off the bat, I thought the movie went straight into some pretty gory scenes, especially with the woman in the hospital. I was not expecting to see something that revealing so soon into the movie, and knew I was in for more.

If you have not watched Bird Box, I would suggest to stop reading before I tell you what happens to Jessica. As they continue to drive home as fast as possible, both sisters notice chaos breaking out in the streets. Cars crashing, things blowing up, people screaming. Jessica begins to notice whatever force it is as well, and her eyes begin to water up and change. She says something under her breath before losing control of the car and ultimately flipping it. Although both sisters are alright and roll from underneath the car, Jessica looks at her sister one last time before jumping in front of a semi truck, killing herself. Another scene that left me surprised with gore, but it was easy to tell something was going to happen as soon as the eyes change. The death are predictable, just the way they are shown are too much information for some.

Within the next ten minutes, Malorie is in a home with four other survivors and they are all trying to figure out what has happened, without finding out any answers. All systems are down, and one survivor suggests the idea of looking at his security footage, convinced that he will be fine since it is not looking directly at the force itself. However, the man succumbs to suicide as well. From this point forward, each survivor knows not to mess with the force, since no matter what they try and do it will find a way to have them look at it.

At this point in the movie, I am underwhelmed. The foundation of the story has left me bored, often checking the time to see how long I have actually been watching. Everyone is fighting instead of working together, and no one really seems to want to work together. One character, Charlie, even begins to tell the rest of the group that this is the ‘doom day’ that every single religious book talks about. But the group just seems to dismiss him. I am also not a fan with how cold the rest of the group is with the deaths of fellow survivors. The movie quickly becomes a dog eat dog world, leaving me uneasy. I most certainly would not want to be left with this group of people if I were in the movie. As the movie continues, the group lets in a pregnant woman who was calling for help outside of the house. As soon as she began to knock I immediately thought they should not have let her in, there is no point she had been in contact for far too long. But my subconscious was not listened to, and they let her in since she seems to still be normal.

The movie then continues on to the two pregnant women, Olympia and Malorie going into a simultaneous birth, and at the same time, one of the newer members of the pack, Gary, revealing that he is one of the mentally unstable people who are able to see the light without seeing a great fear. While the tree women are in the bedroom, Gary is trying to convince everyone to look outside. He succeeds, and even has Olympia look into the light, killing herself and abandoning her daughter. Malorie takes both children in as her own, and Tom is the only remaining survivor. This scene was pretty intense, since everyone thought Gary was going to be normal, but I had a bad feeling about him as soon as he took out his sketches, and put the birds into the fridge. I wanted to understand more as to why some people who were described by Gary as, “mentally insane” were the only ones who could see without punishment since they have already lived through the worst fear of their lives. That does not cut it for me though, I wanted to understand more. However, these people were crazy and just wanted to kill everyone, so it makes sense that no one wanted to have to see them.

The movie then fast forwards five years, and I have so many questions. How did they train the children not to take off their blindfolds? How often did they move? Have they really not run into any other survivors? None of my questions are answered, but Tom was able to get into contact with someone who told the family how they can get to safety. The only catch: They have to go down a treacherous river, and traveling with children is not recommended. As they were getting ready to embark on the journey, they hear the people who can see normally, and Tom tells Malorie and the children to get to safety. As they hide, Malorie hears shooting, and decides that they are going to start the journey right then. Now we are at the beginning of the movie again, listening to Malorie tell boy and girl that they need to listen to every single thing she says, or they will die. Malorie is yelling at the kids as if she has no relation to them, as if she is the commander and they are just in the way. She gives more attention and comfort to the birds than she does the children, but I suppose this is a situation where the risks are at an all time high, and she probably cannot help but feel scared throughout the entire movie.

If it was not a given, the children are going to make it, because the directors of the movie are not complete monsters, they only want to scare you. The entire movie was just about keeping you on the edge of your toes, so once you figure that out, one can focus on the other little things about the movie, not just the life or death decisions that Malorie has to make throughout the entire movie. The thriller was brilliantly executed, however the children were just a slight hint that there was going to be a happy ending. And there was, Malorie and the kids make it to a blind school, which is the perfect setting since the school has coverings over everything, since blind people do not need to see as a necessity of life. At the school, Malorie runs into her OB/GYN, what are the odds? It had to end with a happy ending, so I’m sure it made everyone’s heart skip a beat. Overall, Bird Box was a truly suspenseful movie, but did not leave me at the edge of my seat. The plot was nearly the same as “A Quiet Place” just with sight instead of hearing. Bird Box to me would receive a solid 8.5 on the movie scale, and I would recommend it to anyone who likes a happy ending.