Have you ever wondered what it would be like if someone remade M. Night Shyamalan’s The Happening, but actually made it good? Well the answer is Bird Box. The Netflix original movie has been dominating the social media headlines lately, albeit mostly in meme form. I know I’m a little late to the party here, but I finally got around to watching it and here’s what I thought.
The movie follows the struggle of a girl named Malorie who is part of a group of people trying to stay alive while strange invisible creatures hunt them down. Although hunting them down might be a bit of a stretch since as far as the movie reveals the creatures cannot actually touch anyone. The closest that happens is that they can move bushes and grass aside when they run, and when they get really close to a human the leaves begin to swirl in the air and their hair stands on end.
At this point you might be wondering what threat these creatures could possibly present if they can’t attack people, can’t go through walls or doors or anything, and are invisible. Well turns out that they make people see their worst fears, which makes them instantly go crazy and try to commit suicide (think Boggarts from Harry Potter only with a lot more death). So for me it would be some kind of spider and non-alcoholic beer combination (seriously what’s scarier than something that has the awful taste of beer but without all the fun of intoxication?).
The strange thing about these creatures is that they don’t seem to affect certain people in the same way. At first it seems like it’s people who are deemed mentally insane, but some people such as Gary appear to be affected in this way and don’t appear to necessarily be “insane”. So honestly I’m not exactly sure who it is affecting in this way. For this select group of people the creatures appear to be extremely beautiful and cause them to try and forcibly convince others to look at the creatures instead of just killing themselves.
The movie dumps you right into the action with it starting off with Malorie (played by Sandra Bullock) giving a speech to two children appropriately named Boy and Girl (no I’m not kidding). They then put on their blindfolds, which is how the vast majority of characters spend the entire movie, and get into a boat and begin floating down the river.
It periodically goes back and forth between their venture down the river and the scenes that show the beginning of the devastating invasion. This strategy can work for a lot of movies, but when it comes to this one I found myself just wanting the scenes with the survivor group to hurry up and end so it would go back to the river scenes where all the action was happening. I get that background story is important to developing a full narrative, but I think a better tactic would have been to set it up like a chronological storyline. That way we would have no idea what is coming later on and there wouldn’t be any obvious indicators that certain people (I won’t say who) don’t make it to the journey down the river.
Overall I thought this movie was good, but not great, and nowhere near the level of quality that I expected from all the hype that was surrounding it. I give this movie 3.5 out of 5 bird boxes.