Bird Box

Five years after an ominous unseen presence drives most of society to suicide, a survivor and her two children make a desperate bid to reach safety.

Year: 2018
Certificate: 15
Director: Susanne Bier
Starring: Sandra Bullock, Trevante Rhodes, John Malkovich, Sarah Paulson, BD Wong, Jacki Weaver, Rosa Salazar, Danielle Macdonald, Lil Rel Howery, Tom Hollander

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There’s a Netflix film that has gripped the country, nay, the world in recent weeks for a number of reasons. Firstly because there are idiots on YouTube and, secondly, because it met with some rather good reviews from the outset – quite rare these days for a streaming film. So, is the film that led idiots to crash while driving blindfolded actually any good? Or is it more ‘bird brain’ than ‘Bird Box’ (do you see what I did there?)

The film starts with a voice talking over a radio explaining that to find safety, the listener must travel down a river but remain blindfolded. It’s a dangerous expedition that can take a couple of days. It’s all very ominous and then we see Malorie (Sandra Bullock) with her two children telling them that it’s time to go and reading them the riot act – ensuring they keep their blindfolds on and don’t ever take them off. We see them following string that has been put in place, we see Malorie and her children counting the steps on a clearly practised route. Then they reach a boat and set off. We are still none the wiser as to why they are blindfolded and then we hit a time jump…

The opening scenes set the film off to a great start and gives the viewer an idea of the intensity of the upcoming story. Visually it works very well with occasional ‘first-person’ shots through the blindfolds – they’re not totally blind, but can see some bits of light. But what is it they’re afraid of seeing?

The time jump mentioned earlier takes us back five years to a heavily pregnant Malorie as she’s chatting with her sister. On the TV in the background there are news reports of mass suicides in Russia and Eastern Europe – something that Malorie brushes off. It doesn’t take long, however, until the mysterious cause of these mass suicides heads over the Bering Strait to America and this is where our real story begins.

Throughout the film we jump backwards and forwards in time between the past and the perilous two-day journey along the river (the present). This is cleverly done so that things we learn in the past are then played out in the present and vice versa. “Bird Box” can be quite intense at times, and is incredibly gripping – it’s a film that successfully keeps your attention throughout.

As the story continues in the past we learn that the mysterious ‘thing’ causes anyone who sees it to commit suicide. The obvious answer to this, then, is to only go outside if you’re wearing a blindfold – hence the opening scenes of the film. We meet more survivors and learn a bit more about the mysterious cause of the mass suicides as the film goes on. We see relationships form and we meet some incredible characters – a varied bunch of people that are handling the new world in their own way. Writing this review is hard because it would be so easy to give away spoilers, but it is clear that the cast were very well chosen. Each one playing their part in a very believable way. The stand out star, for me at least, was John Malkovich’s character Douglas who is easy to hate, yet equally loveable – a perfect representation of a human being going through a difficult situation.

I really enjoyed watching “Bird Box” – it was gripping from the start and made for an entertaining thriller. Trent Reznor’s score fit the theme perfectly too. While it’s not horror, per se, I would certainly want to warn potential viewers about the scenes of suicide and blood that are, at times, highly emotional and could affect some people.

As mentioned earlier, it is a difficult film to review without giving away spoilers but one that comes highly recommended. Sure, it can be predictable at times, but there is enough story, interesting characters and excellent acting to make up for that. “Bird Box” is ripe for a sequel and I would love to see more (pun fully intended) but, equally, it works well as a single entity.

Have you seen this film? Let us know your opinions in the comments below and of course if there are any films on Netflix UK you want us to review let us know!

About MaFt

Film and TV fan, creator of New On Netflix (UK, USA, Australia and Canada), dad of two amazing children, code geek and passionate about autism.

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