bird box | susanne bier | eric heisserer | sandra bullock | trevante rhodes | john malkovich | drama | sci-fi | sci fi | thriller | united states | monster | monsters | creature | creatures | sarah paulson | jacki weaver | rosa salazar | danielle macdonald | lil rel howery
Film: Bird Box
Director: Susanne Bier
Writer: Eric Heisserer
Starring: Sandra Bullock, Trevante Rhodes and John Malkovich
This was a film that was recommended to me by a couple friends who wanted to see what my thoughts were on it. I decided to give a viewing as part of my year-end review and because so many people seemed to be talking about this film. The official synopsis is five years after an ominous unseen presence drives most of society to suicide, a mother and her children make a desperate bid to reach safety.
We kick off with a woman talking to two children. She is Malorie (Sandra Bullock). The two children are Vivien Lyra Blair and Julian Edwards. She tells them that they have to do exactly as she says and be absolutely quiet. The other thing is to not take off their blindfolds, no matter what they hear. They go down to a river and get into a boat. They are looking for a group of people and hear over a radio telling them where to go.
It then cuts to five years in the past. Malorie is a painter and is pregnant. Her sister is Jessica (Sarah Paulson). She is bringing groceries and informs her to turn on the news. There is a report of people committing suicides in Romania and Europe. They head to the hospital for an OB appointment. On their way back, whatever is causing this hits the city. Jessica purposely gets into an accident and Malorie seeks refuge in a nearby house.
The house belongs to Greg (BD Wong). With him is Tom (Trevante Rhodes), Cheryl (Jacki Weaver), Lucy (Rosa Salazar), Charlie (Lil Rel Howery), Douglas (John Malkovich) and Felix (Machine Gun Kelly). They learn that if you look at whatever is causing this, it makes people commit suicide. These people have to try to find a way to survive, which includes getting food and ensuring that the windows are covered. They will also have to decide who else to let in and who else might be dangerous.
All the while, we see in the present where Malorie is taking the two children down the river and the difficulties of surviving when you have to remain blindfolded.
Now I will say, this film was quite interesting in that it really is like a combination of A Quiet Place and The Happening. I think this film does better with taking the best part of the latter film and actually making it much more interesting. It is quite terrifying that looking at this creature will cause you to commit suicide. It gets even worse when you have people who are deciding to help these creatures as well.
The film does have some deeper meanings behind it as well. In the first scene with Malorie and Jessica, we learn that Malorie has issues with connecting with people. She is showing this in her painting, but her father was absent and her boyfriend who impregnated her is no longer in the picture. This is prevalent in the reveal of the names of the children, as well as a conversation she has with Tom. It is something that many women go through, especially right after childbirth, in normal circumstances. Having to deal with it while the world is ending makes it that much more amplified.
Going from there, I thought the dynamic of the characters is interesting as well. I will go deeper into the acting a little bit later, but I think we get a nice mix of characters in this film. Seeing how people react to situations like this is quite believable and it would actually make people do things they might normally not do.
The film though I did think was a tad long. I don’t think there was really a pacing issue though. It is edited together very well where we are seeing things in the present and then we are given part of the past which fills in ideas, concepts and what is happening. I thought that aspect was good. I read some people thinking that this film should have ended at different times, I disagree. I think how it ends is fitting and wraps everything up. I just wanted more of bleakness to the ending would be my only gripe.
Something that really blew me away was the acting. Bullock was pretty solid as the lead in this one. She is interesting as a broken and flawed character. She is facing being a mother, when she really doesn’t want to be, but seeing the changes it makes within her is interesting. Rhodes I thought was solid as the male lead who is trying to help her. Malkovich is great, which is nothing new. I was a big fan. Paulson and Howery were solid in their own ways. I thought the rest of the cast was pretty good for their roles. I was glad to see an appearance by Pruitt Taylor Vince late in this film as well.
The effects for this film are quite interesting. The creature is something that can make or break a film. I’ve always said that if you can’t make it look good, hide it as much as you can. This film does that and I think it is better for it. I would have been upset if they would have given us a CGI monster that looked cheesy. We do get some solid effects with people as they kill themselves or those around them. These look to be practical, but if they were CGI, they were well done. The film was also shot beautifully.
Score for the film really didn’t stand out to me, but I don’t think it really hurt the film either. What I really wanted to touch on here is sounds that the characters hear. One of the ways these things try to get people to look is by masking their voice as their loved ones. We hear it faintly like ghosts and I thought that helped make it feel eerie. It had a couple moments where I kind of thought the person might be there and wanted to see if they’d check or not.
Now with that said, this film has been really divisive on social media. I was quite intrigued to see where I fell. I thought that this was a pretty solid film. It took aspects of other films, but didn’t really do a whole lot differently with it. I did like seeing someone take one of the major concepts of The Happening and doing something better with it for sure. It has a strong cast that did good. The effects were fine as I had no problem with hiding the monster and the wounds looked real. I like some things they did with the sounds of the film. It does run a little bit long, but I did think it was enjoyable. I would say this film was good.
My Rating: 8 out of 10