Rating: 4 Stars
Imagine a world where you go insane the moment you open your eyes to see what lies in front of you. That exact scenario is the premise of the 2018 Netflix Original movie, “Birdbox.” The movie tells the story of a woman named Malorie (Sandra Bullock), who must undertake a dangerous journey down a perilous river with two young children in order to find sanctuary from the apocalyptic world around them. The catch is that she and the children have to do it while blindfolded. In this nightmare, anyone who opens their eyes immediately begins to see or hear things which ultimately lead to their death.
The movie starts with Malorie and the children embarking on their dangerous adventure but frequently cuts to contextual flashbacks to give viewers an idea of how they got there. This part of the story takes place inside a large house owned by a man named Douglas (John Malkovich). Also taking shelter there are Tom (Trevante Rhodes) and Olympia (Danielle McDonald).
As a thriller, “Birdbox” succeeds in creating the necessary tension to put the viewer on edge. The characters are all highly convincing and relatable, which makes you care for them and fear for their safety. The eeriest element of “Birdbox” is that it relies solely on the idea of not being able to see in terrifying situations. There are no jump scares or fake-outs, all of the danger in the story is a legitimate threat to the characters, which makes the world very unsettling. There is one sequence that falls into the cliches of typical horror or survival movies but it’s not enough to damage the overall quality of the film.
Although “Birdbox” is categorized as a thriller, there is a great dramatic narrative at the heart of the film. The story isn’t so much about the apocalypse or the thing outside that comes after people; it’s about the characters and the relationships that they have with one another. This makes for a very engaging and entertaining movie, especially when those characters come into conflict with each other.
On the technical side of things, “Birdbox” is well shot and well directed. There isn’t shaky camerawork or lazy directing. Everything is presented clearly and all of the actors give strong performances. However, the best thing, technically, about “Birdbox” is the editing. Like I said earlier, the movie relies on transition storytelling and in order to do that successfully, the film’s editing has to be as smooth as possible, especially when transitioning from the scenes that take place on the river to the scenes that take place in the house. The music is also quite impressive which comes as no surprise as the score was composed by Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross of Nine Inch Nails.
If you’ve seen the 2018 film “A Quiet Place” and liked it, then you will definitely like “Birdbox” as both films play on the idea of survival without the use of one of your senses.
“Birdbox” has a running time of two hours and four minutes. Fans of the thriller movie genre will enjoy the lore and mystery behind the apocalyptic world, while casual movie fans will enjoy the characters and story. Overall, I really enjoyed “Birdbox” for its strong characters, engaging story concept and suspenseful mystery. This is definitely one to check out while it’s available on Netflix.