Bird Box

Imagine threatening very small children with their lives. Imagine threatening your own children with their deaths, their painful deaths, by your own hands if necessary. Can you even imagine a situation so dire that you would tell your kids you would kill them IF?

If you’re a fan of Josh Malerman’s post-apocalyptic horror novel, Bird Box, the good news is,  you can always reread it. Netflix has adapted this “unfilmable” book (how many books have we said that about now?), and turned it into something bibliophiles will scarcely recognize. But that doesn’t meant it’s bad.

Malorie (Sandra Bullock) is in the impossible situation. She’s pregnant at the end of the world. This particular nightmare is the inverse of The Quiet Place – they had to stay silent in order to not die, and in Bird Box, they have to not see. The sight of something is causing people to almost immediately become homicidal and ultimately, suicidal. It’s a plague killing millions, killing billions, killing everyone around the world. The only way to survive is to not see, to never see. But food and water and resources inside are finite. MV5BMjE5Nzk1ODgwMV5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwMjU5MTE2NjM@._V1_SX1500_CR0,0,1500,999_AL_Malorie is living with a small group of people, strangers, really, who don’t always agree on the best way to exist together, or how to stay alive. Malorie’s not even the only pregnant one – Olympia (Danielle Macdonald) is expecting too, right around the same time. The house’s other inhabitants (Trevante Rhodes, John Malkovich, Jacki Weaver among them) will have to make all kinds of hard choices to ensure the group’s survival. As you probably guessed, ultimately, Malorie will need to leave the relative safety of their shared home – and worse than that, she may have to sacrifice one child to save another. Doesn’t that sound like a fun little jam to be in?

Yeah, this is a horror movie, in case you’re not picking up on the obvious. The unknown, horrible, unseeable things remain unseen by us, but they’re a constant threat. Director Susanne Bier understands it’s way creepier to only suggest the worst, and let our own imaginations prey on our fears. A newborn baby is of course the most vulnerable creature in the world. What else could heighten a dangerous situation like a helpless baby? But what else would pose a greater danger? A baby, unable to look away, unable to understand, a baby who will only need need need, and take take take, and attract attention while putting everyone at risk. A baby, two babies, normally a blessing, but in this scenario, the worst possible thing.

Bier creates a tense atmosphere and Bullock keeps us riveted. Rather than jump scares, Bier gives us a character study, and Malorie’s humanity and the children’s inherent weaknesses gives some real meat to the film’s anxiety. But the film strays quite far from the book, and to no real advantage. Since this film streams for “free” on Netflix, it’s a no-brainer if you can take the heat (or rather the chill, the frisson). Squeeze your eyes half shut.

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29 thoughts on “Bird Box

      1. Willow Croft

        Oh goodness, I need to catch up with NIN. I think I still have my “Pretty Hate Machine” cassette tape around here somewhere. Doubt it’s still playable, though. I remember seeing his (former?) house when I went on the ghost tour in New Orleans.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. ninvoid99

        Yeah, that’s John Goodman’s house now. He also used to own a studio in the city that was once a funeral home. NIN has been making great music for years and they haven’t stopped. There’s a few duds but much of it is incredible. I’ve seen 5 times already.

        Liked by 2 people

      3. Willow Croft

        Figured you would have the update LOL.
        I’ve not seen them in concert. Used to going to smaller shows back in the day. Including Marilyn Manson before he got big. Played at a goth club in Tampa. LOL
        Only been to a few stadium concerts. Bet they are great live!

        Like

      4. ninvoid99

        I saw Manson in ’96 and he was great then. Best not to see him now as he could barely do a whole set. NIN however are still playing important venues. I don’t know if they’re doing more shows in 2019 but always get a chance to see them. They always deliver a great show no matter how big or small the venue is.

        Like

  1. Invisibly Me

    I loved the book, partly because it was well written but partly because it felt so distinctive and different. I spotted this on Netflix the other day and added it to my list as I’m curious to see how it gets transferred to screen, but I’m glad to see Bullock in it as I’d like to hope she’d do a good job with this one!

    Liked by 1 person

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    1. Jay Post author

      I was startled by the casting when I first heard it – Malorie was perhaps 24 in the book. Sandra Bullock is wonderful, but she’s 54 and a little old to be having her first baby during the apocalypse. But you pretty much have to let go of what you know of the book because all the details are different, and we’ve only just retained the basic idea.

      Liked by 1 person

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  2. selizabryangmailcom

    I read the book and thought it was an interesting premise. It’s pretty much my worst nightmare: not being able to see. I’d rather be in A Quiet Place and have to be quiet all the time, even if I have to face the monsters that are barrelling toward me. But the movie sounds like it’s worth a spin…

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
  3. The Hipster Kitties

    Charlee: “Ooh, our Dada was going to watch this. We were looking forward to it.”
    Chaplin: “We were planning to stare at the birds.”
    Charlee: “But now it doesn’t sound like there are actually birds in it.”
    Chaplin: “Disappointing.”
    Charlee: “I guess we’ll have to stick with staring out the windows instead.”

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
  4. mywifeisablackbelt

    I liked it because of the build up, the atmosphere and some good acting and interesting characters. But I feel it strained the suspension of disbelief a little bit too much on some key occasions. Can’t say I found it scary – but I don’t regret spending time watching it.

    Liked by 2 people

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