Bird Box Review

Josh Collins, Staff Writer

Towards the end of 2018,  Netflix blessed audiences with the gift of Bird Box, a film that has taken media and audiences by storm. This chilling thriller stars notable actors such as Sandra Bullock, Sarah Paulson, and John Malkovich. This movie left many, including me, confused but ultimately satisfied with the plot and suspense of the entire film.

Set initially five years into the future, the story follows a hardened Malorie as she instructs two kids, Boy and Girl, to keep their blindfolds on and to never take them off under any circumstance, setting the eerie and spine-chilling tone of the movie. The movie then transitions to five years prior to a seemingly normal world. This shift in time periods occurs a majority of the time in the first half of the movie, adding some sort of context to the situation that Malorie is in.

As the movie continues, the story develops to show that the world has fallen in an apocalyptic state, terrorized by mysterious creatures that can make a person commit suicide from just a glance. These creatures, however, are not seen at any point in the movie, just in the eyes of anyone who falls victim. Some, however, are not affected in this negative way at all, and actually do the bidding of the creatures and help to open the eyes of survivors who haven’t seen the creatures yet, shown when Olympia, one of the survivors, has her eyes forced open by Gary, a crazy and homicidal man.

As I watched this movie, it brought up many questions about the plot itself and the believability of the characters. I know that this is a fiction/thriller movie filled with bizarre things that would never happen, but I just felt that the way the characters were portrayed was a bit far fetched. In the beginning, when the characters meet up at Douglas’s (played by John Malkovich) house, they all seemingly adapt to the situation in about an hour. Although they are scared of these “creatures,” they seem to just push aside what has happened to them. It’s possible characters themselves are in a state of shock, but their acclimation to their circumstances just seems a bit outrageous.

I do, however, like the suspense that filled the air throughout the movie. Personally, it left me on the edge of my seat and frantically predicting the outcome. When Malorie is on the river with Boy and Girl, I was invested in the innocence that the children had, regardless of the apocalyptic world that they had grown up in. When Girl decides to travel to find Malorie on the edge of the river, after having very strict instructions not to leave the boat, I was extremely worried for the wellbeing of Girl. It definitely pulls the audience in and plays up the drama, making the people and danger seem lifelike.  I feel like the director and actors in the movie were really great at portraying the right amount of suspense to shock viewers, but not too much to seem like all hope is lost.

As for the aftermath of Bird Box, I am none too happy about what social media has turned this movie into. After the movie’s release, a trend or “challenge” went viral, resulting in Netflix responding with a tweet against this challenge. The Bird Box challenge, gaining much popularity with some YouTube channels, tests a person’s own ability to navigate through their daily lives blindfolded. And yes, people actually did this. This trend is incredibly dumb and I, along with countless other people, advise you to NOT TO PARTICIPATE. Not only have there been many injuries along with this viral trend, but it is just a REALLY stupid idea. Netflix discussed the issue in a tweet saying quote, “ Can’t believe I have to say this, but: PLEASE DO NOT HURT YOURSELVES WITH THIS BIRD BOX CHALLENGE. We don’t know how this started, and we appreciate the love, but Boy and Girl have just one wish for 2019 and it is that you not end up in the hospital due to memes.” It might be a funny idea to even attempt to do this, but it is not worth it.

Along with the rise of the Bird Box Challenge, Netflix actually received backlash due to the release of Bird Box as well. Canada’s Parliament is demanding compensation for some of the disaster scenes used in the initial portion of the movie which uses images such as a train accident from different newsreels without proper authorization.  Compensation was agreed upon, but Netflix will not pull the images and scenes of the disasters out of the movie. As of now, there has been no decision made and continues to be an ongoing legal battle.

Overall, I thought that this was an okay movie that doesn’t deserve the hype that it received. After more in-depth research of the movie, I still feel this way and I actually have a more negative perception of it. Besides the confusing ending of finding asylum in a sanctuary for blind people as well as never finding out the actual purpose of, meaning, or explanation of the creatures themselves, the backlash that it caused just out weights the semi-great performance that the actors themselves put on. This definitely is not the greatest film of all time, but it is a fun flick to watch with friends if you’re looking for a scare. This movie filled my need for a quick thriller and that is what satisfied me the most.