The latest addition to Netflix’s collection of original movies, “Bird Box,” had been highly anticipated since its trailer released in October. With its eerie music, moving character development and thrilling psychological narrative, “Bird Box” did not disappoint.
Sandra Bullock stars in “Bird Box” as Malorie Shannon, a painter about to give birth to her first child, despite only having her sister Jessica (Sarah Paulson) for support. Suddenly, the world is confronted with a series of monsters that drive people to kill themselves on sight. Malorie escapes and meets others who have done the same. Malorie comes to realize that the seemingly supernatural entities responsible for all this can only hurt people if they look at them. Armed with that knowledge and not much else, it falls to Malorie and the others to figure out a long-term solution to staying alive in this strange new world.
The world-building in the movie was particularly impressive and reminded me of the thrilling atmosphere created in John Krasinski’s “A Quiet Place.” Whereas “A Quiet Place” used silence to construct a tense mood, “Bird Box” evoked uneasiness through the symbolic blindfolds the characters put on to avoid the monsters.
Another similar theme between the two movies was on the role of family. In “A Quiet Place,” the power of a familial bonds and relations are shown to be crucial to the survival of its main characters while in “Bird Box,” Malorie helps trains and assists her two children to survival while blindfolded. Both movies are centered around this primary obstacle of protecting and maintaining a family in the face of danger. This premise helps add higher stakes to an already gripping film and a powerful emotional impact to deaths in the movie.
In many respects, the literal loss of sight displayed in the movie serves as a clever and intensified comparison to parenthood. Like first-time parents navigating their way through child-rearing, Malorie must guide her children with a blindfold while trying to lead them to a better life. In an interview Ellen show, Sandra Bullock even called the movie a commentary on being a parent. Regardless of its symbolic significance, however, the blindfolds added an obstacle in the character’s relationships that allowed for the development of deeper and closer bonds between the characters.
Often, the things we do not know are the things we fear the most.
In regards to the movie’s affinity to the horror genre, “Bird Box” plays on the concept of a unknown and frightening monster that the audience never sees. Often, the things we do not know are the things we fear the most. By allowing the audience to imagine what the monster could look like, the movie creates a psychologically thrilling and unsettling tension in the scenes with the monsters that few other movies are able to create.
Following the footsteps of its predecessors, “Bird Box” does justice to the rising psychological thriller genre. With well-developed themes and equally frightening chase scenes, “Bird Box” is well worth the watch.