Bird Box (2018)

Bird Box
Director: Susanne Bier
Writer: Eric Heisserer
Based on: Josh Malerman‘s novel
Cast: Sandra Bullock, Trevante Rhodes, John Malkovich, Sarah Paulson, Jacki Weaver, Rosa Salazar, Danielle Macdonald, Lil Rel Howery, Tom Hollander, Machine Gun Kelly, BD Wong, Pruitt Taylor Vince, Vivien Lyra Blair, Julian Edwards, Parminder Nagra
Seen on: 6.1.2019

Content Note: suicide, ableism/saneism

Five years ago, something happened. Something came and whoever saw it, committed suicide. Malorie (Sandra Bullock) and her children Boy (Julian Edwards) and Girl (Vivien Lyra Blair) managed to stay alive so far and found a community with several other survivors. But things have changed now and what used to be safe, isn’t anymore. Malorie has to find another haven for her children and herself.

Bird Box felt a little like a genre movie made by people who don’t actually have much to do with genre at all. It looks great and the acting is awesome, but oh the tropes and clichés…

The film poster showing Malorie (Sandra Bullock) with blindfolded eyes, cradling both her children who are also blindfolded.

Bird Box is a high quality film. The cinematography was great and the acting was fantastic. Rhodes in particular managed to impress me again. And the movie really starts strong – the chaos at the beginning was gripping and absolutely gave me goosebumps.

But then the film simply walks from one cliché/trope to the next, and it doesn’t feel like it’s actually aware that this is what it’s doing. It’s like a horror film by someone who has barely seen any horror movies, bound to go for the most obvious things – when decades of genre history have taught us to expect those things, and more importantly to subvert them. Now, I didn’t research Heisserer, the screen writer, and I haven’t read the novel this is based on. It’s possible that these are genre savvy people but my impression was distinctly not that.

Blindfolded, Malorie (Sandra Bullock) carries her daughter Girl (Vivien Lyra Blair) and holds her son Boy's (Julian Edwards) hand. The children are blindfolded as well.

The film then runs a little long and the sound design was a little too aggressive for my taste – too loud and prominent. I also didn’t like how they handled mental illness here and the final plot twist was a little late. [SPOILERS] Now you realize that blind people exist? After five years / two hours of a film? [/SPOILERS]

That means that overall, despite the film’s many good qualities, I just didn’t get excited about it. It was okay in the end, but not much more.

Malorie (Sandra Bullock) and Tom (Trevante Rhodes) in the supermarket.

Summarizing: fine.

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