Netflix has been very hit and miss lately, particularly in the horror department. However, they do let the occasional gem slip through. Bird Box is the latest Original, and it’s definitely worth a peek, but for sure keep your blindfold handy.
“What the fuck is that?!”
Bird Box tells us its story during two points in time. Five years ago, the world is essentially destroyed by the sudden appearance of. . . something. This primal, irresistible force sweeps across the globe unchecked. And once you lay eyes on it, you’re dead within moments, and at your own hand. The pregnant Malorie (Sanda Bullock) holds up in a house with other survivors, as whatever is outside remains a constant threat. In the present, Malorie and two children attempt a dangerous journey down a river, hoping to find a safe haven. But they must make the trip blindfolded, or suffer the same fate as every one else.
This flick gets a lot right, but will certainly not be everyone’s cup of tea. While it is a horror film, it focuses more on the drama of the survivors co-existing, as well as Malorie’s fear of motherhood from her difficulties connecting emotionally with anyone. Bullock is terrific as expected, and John Malkovich, Trevante Rhodes, and Tom Hollander all turn out great performances as well. The parallel storytelling, usually in danger of seeming gimmicky nowadays, is actually handled quite well, and adds to the urgency of both situations.
“Do you see? It’s beautiful.”
The terror of Bird Box could almost be described as Lovecraftian. It certainly toys with the ideas of cosmic horror, as our heroes contemplate the end of the world at the hands of the incomprehensible horrors outside. We never get a look at the entities responsible, save for a few very different drawings from one of their “believers.” And therein lies the mystery; you have no idea what people see. Demons? God? The Mothman? Cthulhu? It could be anything. We know only that it drives them so mad, suicide is inevitable.
This kind of horror still has a place today, and it was honestly quite refreshing to sit down and be genuinely creeped out, without a focus on gory visuals or expensive CGI. While not quite as polished as A Quiet Place, and not as campy as In The Mouth Of Madness, Bird Box is certainly worth a watch, and is sure to give you a few good scares, while letting your imagination run wild.