Netflix’s newest production, Bird Box, is helping to establish the streaming service as a film studio to rival the big Hollywood companies, having allegedly racked up 45 million views within its first 7 days (source). Having seen it all over my news feed since its release, I thought I would check it out and see what all the fuss is about.
Adapted from the Josh Malerman novel of the same name, Bird Box is psychological thriller that thrusts us into a world where unknown forces ‘show’ people their deepest fears and regrets, leading them to commit suicide. The only hope of survival is to remain blind-folded and trust in the birds that can sense when the entities are nearby.
In a bit of a post-apocalyptic cliché, we follow a mother and her two children as they make their way to a promised safe haven. However, rather than the traditional linear approach, the story begins five years after the initial outbreak; just as Malorie (Sandra Bullock), Boy (Julian Edwards) and Girl (Vivien Lyra Blair) attempt the perilous journey down-river to said sanctuary.
The time spent on the river is punctuated by a series of flashbacks, with some good performances from the likes of John Malkovich, Sarah Paulson and BD Wong. As we learn more of the events of the last half decade, the greater our understanding of the perils faced by the family.
The simple premise and strong performances from a star-studded cast make this a thoroughly enjoyable watch.
The messages are subtle and ambiguous, meaning that everyone will see this film differently. Some will focus of the idea of parenthood and the need to protect your children at all costs; whereas the idea of loneliness and the inability to connect will resonate more strongly with others.
There are some strong similarities between this film and A Quiet Place (2018) which, if you have seen the latter, sort of ruins it for you. Everything that happens in Bird Box feels a bit been there, done that.
That being said, I would still recommend watching this film. So get your PJs on, grab a blanket and settle down on the sofa. Loved ones are optional, popcorn is not.