Do you see what I see?
Been a while since I did one of these eh? Wel lets sea iff eye cann stil woord gud.
Bird Box has taken the world a bit by surprise. A Netflix Exclusive Blockbuster, a lot of buzz has said that it is the next "Quiet Place" (a movie I also enjoyed) but does it deserve that praise?
We start with Malorie (Sandra Bullock) and her sister Jessica (Sarah Paulson). Malorie is kind of a loaner, is pregnant, and the father is not in the picture. That is about as much as we learn before the birds hit the fan...
Something is causing people to go insane and kill themselves. All it takes is for someone to see the "creature" and they go cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs and they kill themselves. No one knows why and no one knows what to do about it except cover your eyes and hope it all works out.
The movie bounces between Malorie and a number of survivors holed up and Malorie with two children five years in the future floating down a river. "Past" Malorie tells a story of the survivors as they learn what they are dealing with, figuring out what to do for supplies, and sets up how "Present" Malorie ends up going down a river with two children. "Present" Malorie tells a story of Malorie doing everything she can to keep Boy (Julian Edwards) and Girl (Vivien Lyra Blair) alive (also, that is their names in the movie, I didn't just forget them).
Now I've heard a lot of people comparing this to another movie where you heavily restrict a certain sense (A Quiet Place and them restricting sound). While Bird Box does force the characters to restrict a certain sense (in this case, their sight), that's about the extent that the two movies are similar. It is hard to really explain why without going into spoilers so just be warned that if you're going in expecting A Quiet Place, you will be sad. About that part at least as I would say that Bird Box is just as good as A Quiet Place was.
The tension in Bird Box is a similar tension to A Quiet Place but for different reasons. Unlike Quiet, there are no physical creatures attacking the characters. The name of the game in Bird Box is to not look at the creatures but that is far harder said than done as the movie demonstrates with a few things that I won't get into for spoiler reasons. While the creatures are not able to physically attack the characters, there are a few tricks up their sleeves that the characters have to learn about and then learn how to fight against. The movie does an excellent job of keeping these things a secret (and is likely a major reason for the two-timeline setup as if it was in chronological order, it would ruin a lot of the suspense of the "Present" timeline). This is not a horror movie (though it does have a R rating presumably for some of the suicides but they feel pretty tame for a R Rating); it is more of a psychological thriller. Most of the tension is a slow burn as characters learn how to deal with their situation and the movie doing a very good job of not tipping its hand and revealing too much.
While the movie is a healthy 2 hours long, the movie never really feels like it drags on. The time jumps seem to help a lot with that as the Past Malorie has different things to deal with in different ways than Present Malorie. As the problems each deals with are so different, it really helps keep the movie from getting stale and boring.
The actors are all on point in this. It has some pretty big guns (Sandra Bullock and John Malkovich I imagine being the most well known actors) but everyone who showed up brings their A Game. Not everyone gets a lot of screen time (someone has to take the bullet and get killed to show up what the creatures can do) but no one is glaringly bad that it takes away from the movie.
Overall, I was very happy with the movie. I am the kind of a cranky old horror movie man who complains that horror movies are all vapid and gore with jump scares rather than being actually scary. It is a movie that is tense and scary for all the right reasons. It is certainly not perfect (even at two hours, it feels very rushed at certain parts that could have really used a slower burn). It also has my personal pet peeve of time jumps but I can understand why this movie did it so I only barely hold that against it.
8.5/10; If you have Netflix and are looking for a good thriller, it would be hard to find one better than this one. Believe the hype and give it a watch. If you don't have Netflix, it might be worth the $10 or whatever Netflix cost nowadays to subscribe for the one month and watch it if you're really itching for a tense horror movie.
Last Review: Deadpool 2