By now you’ve seen the memes, heard about the blindfold challenge it has spawned and been talked about all across your timeline on social media. After seeing the much ballyhooed two-hour and four minute Netflix thriller, Bird Box, to say it was anti-climatic and mediocre at best is being too kind.
Based on the Josh Malerman novel of the same name and directed by Susanne Bier, Bird Box stars Hollywood A-listers such as Sandra Bullock (The Blind Side, Gravity) , Emmy and Golden Globe winner Sarah Paulson (Ocean’s 8, American Horror Story), John Malkovich (Transformers: Dark Side Of The Moon), Parminder Nagra (ER, Bend It Like Beckham) and relative newcomers in rapper-turned-actor Machine Gun Kelly—credited as Colson Baker, Rosa Salazar (Parenthood, Alita: Battle Angel) and Trevante Rhodes (Moonlight).
So unless you are not like the other seven billion people on this plastic-filled and polluted rock we call Earth who have already seen this tour de force of a movie—and based on all the fuss online—the $19.8 million media darling should have easily upset both Bohemian Rhapsody and the Lady Gaga/Bradley Cooper masterpiece, A Star Is Born at the Golden Globes, right!—then I’m not spoiling what you already know.
In deciding to finally not only satisfy my own curiosity and see what all the commotion was about, I popped on Bird Box with an open mind and not only came away slightly disappointed, but honestly baffled about all the fuss over what was in essence an shrewdly-marketed towards Millennials, social media-driven borderline B movie with a very predictable plot, foreshadowing that a freshman in Film 101 could predict and honestly, a very disjointed story that jumped back and forth too much to build any sort of continuity for a viewer to grasp and understand.
Bird Box begins with Malorie, played by Bullock instructing two children—aptly called Boy and Girl until the end of the movie when they are called by their real names of Tom and Olympia—to not take off their blindfolds under any circumstances and to do as she says, whenever she says, attempt to navigate down a raging rapid for 42 hours to a sanctuary away from so-called beings that cause individuals who gaze upon them to act out both violent and psychotically.
As I said earlier, my biggest gripe with Bird Box is how it jumps back and forth between five years in the past, when Malorie is pregnant with Tom and rooming with her older sister, Jessica, decide to make a visit to her OB-GYN for a routine pregnancy visit, only to witness strange and unusual behavior by people in the hospital, with televisions in the background commenting about some sort of bio-disease that is spreading from Eastern Europe to the State that has caused people to act strangely and proceed to kill themselves.
What happens next is total anarchy as masses of people are running away from something—the beings?!?—and if they look directly at them, they in turn will turn violent. All movies since the beginning of time have a hero, villain and a plot, Bird Box fails in two out of the three.
So, people are running amok, getting run over by vehicles, including Jessica, Malorie is pregnant and under a lot of external stress already, somehow manages to evade what is turning into a human mob of pure hell to make it to the now famous Bird Box house—Google it, it’s now a tourist attraction!—where she meets what would become her new “family” headed by the in-shock and grieving shotgun-loving widow, Douglas, whose wife sacrificed herself in allowing Malorie inside, only to end up dying by walking herself into a burning car.
Once inside, Malorie get to know everyone inside the house and form friendships with everyone, while slowly trying to understand the craziness outside of the house, and these so-called beings. To adjust, everyone wears a blindfold to avoid looking at said beings. Which is smart, and actually adds a smart element to the movie.
The key to the movie—or shall I say the hidden McGuffin—is a pair of birds that Malorie decides to adopt when she along with her housemates make a blind-folded trip to the supermarket to restock on food. Again, the name of the movie is “Bird Box” and there are two birds in a box, and as Malorie and the others come to learn, the birds serve as a proverbial warning system of when these beings are in the area.
As mentioned above, Bird Box burrows a lot from classic horror and horror movies in forcing a group of strangers to become close, live in close quarters and rely on each other, relationships are formed—most notably between Bullock’s Malorie and the tall, dark and handsome Rhodes’ Tom.
Which, while again predictable, is the most developed and consistent inter-personal relationship in the movie, as everyone else’s seems flimsy, forced and pure cardboard.
Not to divulge the rest of the plot, but Bird Box honestly suffers from a lack of continuity, molasses-like pace, terrible foreshadowing and—as stated already—too many story holes and a thin plot that fail to make it worthy of all the hype it has received. And don’t even get me started on the ending, which had to be one of the most W.T.F. and ironic in the history of cinema.
No clues needed if you’ve already seen it, but think “Birdbox challenge”.
Overall, Bird Box starts off with some potential and despite having a decent cast, the birds are better off staying in the box where they belong.