I just finished watching Bird Box, the new Netflix Original movie starring Sandra Bullock and featuring a surprising number of recognisable character actors, most notable John Malkovich.
If this movie had come out any later it would feel like an obvious grab at the success of A Quiet Place as the two have very similar concepts. That only came out earlier this year though and I'm sure Bird Box was already in production at the time, so in my mind it'll just go down as one of those Hollywood parallels that seem to happen every couple of years.
In Bird Box the world is plagued by seemingly invisible monsters who, upon sight, drive a person instantly insane and suicidal. To counter this constant threat, the survivors we fallow have barricaded themselves in a house and blacked out all the doors and windows. They do eventually have to start venturing out but when they do so they must remain blindfolded at all times.
The story is told over two timelines, the present timeline and five years earlier at the start of the catastrophe. To go into any more plot details would be venturing too far into spoilers and I'm not going to do that here.
The use of the parallel timelines is good, it ramps up the tension in the present day story while being able to explain context and backstory without having overly stilted and clunky exposition. We, as viewers, are discovering along with the characters in the film and often times context is given to something we saw in a previous scene.
Sandy Bullock is great, as she usually is, giving us a hard assed character who has a hard time being trusting, opening up and allowing herself to be vulnerable. It helps keep her alive for a time, but it is also her greatest weakness.
The other people in the house are fairly standard supporting characters for a closed setting thriller like this, but they all play their roles well.
I really enjoyed the use of sound to heighten the tension when it started ramping up, the confusion of loud and overwhelming sounds helps the audience connect with the characters who only have audio senses to go one while outside in the wild and blindfolded.
Over all I enjoyed the movie, I think A Quiet Place is still probably the better film over all, but this is a solid watch on a Tuesday evening. It's not going to be something I think about for years to come, but it's pretty entertaining and interesting.
Bird Box, available now on Netflix.