Netflix has a rocky history when it comes to their exclusively produced films. While their series mostly come with a certain level of quality, their movies don’t often land the mark. Last year’s Bright was a bit of a misfire despite baring an interesting concept, which is what could also be said about Bird Box, a new supernatural thriller revolving around mass suicide by way of a mysterious, unseen force. If that sounds familiar, you may be thinking of an M. Night Shyamalan movie, but we’ll get to that in a bit.
Bird Box takes place five years after a mysterious, unseen force – which we come to learn are actually invisible demonic creatures – causes people who gaze upon them to violently commit suicide. The film hops between past and present, following our lead character, Malorie (played by Sandra Bullock), struggling to come to terms with her newborn child while also attempting to survive the harsh new apocalyptic world. It’s a great concept on paper, but its execution is a middling affair.
Director Susanne Bier adapts a pretty compelling novel of the same name from Josh Malerman, though fails to capture that resounding sense of dread and hopelessness that permeates through each word. Instead, Bier spends most of her time developing Malorie as a sympathetic character despite everything in the first half-hour suggesting just the opposite – which brings me to my first flaw. Malorie is brilliantly acted by Bullock, though struggles to find consistency with her own character. She’s initially perceived to be a strong-willed woman with a bleak outlook on life who prefers to spend most of her time alone, though this character trait is never really explored to its fullest. The problem with Bird Box is that it sets up compelling character threads across its wide cast, yet never doubles down on them, taking us out of being emotionally invested in their plights.
Despite Malkovich and Bullock being the standout stars, they’re still somehow drowned out by a group of bland characters...
Bird Box tries its hardest to replicate that same morbid shock factor [of The Happening], but falls flat because it doesn’t understand how to set up those scenes effectively.
Writer. Enthusiast of all things geek. Legend has it he completed Final Fantasy VII without a memory card.
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21 December 2018
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