So everyone is raving about Bird box, Netflix’s latest horror flick featuring Sandra Bullock, John Malkovich and Sarah Paulson. There are click-bait posts claiming people are scared for life after watching what they claim to be the scariest movie ever… Bollocks.
So the premise is simple enough. Supernatural monsters have taken over the world, and a mere look at them will trigger your brain into suicide mode.
First off, this isn’t a completely new premise, ten years ago we had The Happening but instead of monsters we had the planet cleansing itself… if that’s any better.
The film follows two separate parallel timelines, the past (outbreak) and the present (the escape). The problem I have with the dual timeline crap in a horror flick, is, that you already know who will survive at the first glimpse of the present timeline, so the killing off of the protagonists isn’t as surprising as it should be.
Sandra Bullock’s pregnant character, Mallory, finds herself amidst the outbreak of invisible monsters wreaking havoc. She ends up being saved by a stranger who gives her life for hers and Mallory ends up barricaded in a house with a bunch of survivors, all of which represent the different race and sexual orientation profiles available for exploitation.
Sandra Bullock gives a solid performance, and so does Malkovich. The direction of photography is great and so is the sound design. I would have loved to see more of Sarah Paulson, her on screen chemistry with Bullock was fantastic, however her performance is cut short.
But enough with the praise, now its time for the brutal honesty. As complex the pattern and nature of the killings is, the group of survivors manages to figure out that there are invisible monsters that kill you when you look at them, which is remarkable.
The major problem I have with this movie is that there are no rules for survival. With the Quite place you have tangible monsters and the rules are quite intuitive. With the Birdbox you have the opposite of that, you have invisible monsters in the background who can trigger your suicide through a video feed, yet cannot open bloody doors. At the same time these being have spared the insane to use them to pry open survivor’s eyes, forcing them to look at the monsters. I mean is this the laziest writing ever or what? It feels like the movie was written as it goes along trying to stretch time as much as possible.
Susan Bier manages to keep this cliche’ riddled movie afloat with her direction, creating a claustrophobic and hopeless feeling, however she did have her misses. I felt almost offended with scenes such as the driving blind only using the gps, or Tom managing to survive without a blindfold for enough time to save everyone, or, even worse, birds surviving in a shoe box through the rapids in the hands of a 5 year old who barely survived herself.
The chilling and unforgiving narrative could have easily been used better, however inconsistencies and at times over simplicity ruin the overall presentation of this movie. It does provide cheap thrills and suspense, however it fails to bring something new to the table.
Overall Rating: 6 out 10