Directed by Susanne Bier and based on the 2014 novel of the same name by Josh Malerman, Bird Box sees an ominous unseen presence spread across the world, as it drives most of society to commit suicide. Pregnant Malorie (Sandra Bullock) finds safety with others – including Tom (Trevante Rhodes), Douglas (John Malkovich), Greg (BD Wong), Cheryl (Jacki Weaver), and Olympia (Danielle Macdonald). Five years later, however, she must make it through a forest and river blindfolded, along with her two children (Vivien Lyra Blair and Julian Edwards), in a desperate bid to reach safety.
For obvious reasons, Bird Box is being compared to one of this year’s most successful horrors, A Quiet Place, which is probably the reason for a huge lack of appreciation for this film. Although I really want to watch A Quiet Place, I haven’t had the opportunity to watch it as of yet, so I have been able to experience Bird Box without being able to make any comparisons. For that reason (or maybe it won’t even be relevant in the end), I thought that the concept and delivery of Bird Box were both original and fresh.
Other comparisons of this film have been made to The Happening, but aside from the natural feel to this apocalyptic thriller, I don’t think that they are even close to being on the same level of quality. Not only is this an excellent horror, being equally terrifying and hauntingly mysterious (which is tough enough for horror films to achieve these days), but there’s also a lot of emotion behind it.
The story is brilliantly developed and paced and it keeps you guessing until the very last minute. There are still a few things left unanswered, but I was happy with how the film concluded as I had no idea how this world was going to survive this unknown force, or if it ever will. The effects are great and the whole film is shot really well, too. It’s like a really good nightmare; never allowing you to see what is there but always making you aware that something is close by.
The acting plays a huge part in why I found this film so engaging. Each and every performance is believable, even though the characters had to act like something had possessed their body to drive them to suicide, and the characters are all engaging. Sandra Bullock is absolutely fantastic, as are the young actors who play her children. The moment her little girl pulls out the bottom lip towards at the end of the film, a tear strolled down my cheek.
It’s not often that a horror film impresses me these days, but Bird Box has certainly done that. I only wish that Sarah Paulson was more involved.