Review of Susanne Bier’s Birdbox.

Photo Credit: https://www.imdb.com/title/tt2737304/mediaviewer/rm1969058304

Directed by Susanne Bier, Netflix original ‘Birdbox’ has received over 2 million views upon release and has generated a huge following. The film includes a notable cast, staring Academy Award winner Sandra Bullock, American Horror Story’s Sarah Pulson, and new to the scene actor Trevante Rhodes, whom is best known for his roles in Moonlight and the 2018 rendition of Predator. The film is the visual adaption of the 2014 Novel Bird Box written by Josh Malerman; the story takes place in a Post apocalyptic America where life is in ruins, humanity is nearly on the point of being extinguished and mother Malorie Hayes must fend for her life alongside two children and get them all to safety. The movie cuts from present to past shots, exploring how life came to be in the current situation.

Firstly, we are introduced to 4 years prior to the horrific events; we see a pregnant Malorie painting as her sister comes to take her to the hospital for an ultrasound. Upon receiving her scan everything suddenly turns dark, and life begins to change in a dramatic unfolding of events which culminate in a bloodbath. When Malorie leaves the hospital she witnesses a crazy world where people are ruthlessly ending their own lives, however, the only thing that is on her mind is survival. Despite the chaos around her, Malorie is saved and let into a house with a group of people whose goal is also to survive.The film shows how these people survive, what will happen and exactly what the mysterious force is behind all of these deaths, casualties and unexplained happenings.

Birdbox is an outstanding production which not only focuses on the terrifying events which take place, but the emotional connection that people have with each other. Viewers meet Malorie when she is unable to show love and struggling to connect and then see her thrown into a new lifestyle which feedings on emotional bonds and humans sticking together as she not only has to fend for herself, but now two children. Whilst the film creates a sometimes unbearable atmosphere of suspense and tangible tension, the film simultaneously contrasts the care and love which Malorie develops for these two children, and touchingly captures the terror she feels when trying to protect them. She is a female protagonist who not only goes on a hunt for survival, but also learns how to love at the same time and connect with her maternal instincts. Sandra Bullock was a great choice of cast to play Malorie as she is well known for playing the role of an unconnected and lonely person from her movies such as: While you were Asleep, The Heat and the Proposal. This strong and independent characteristic about her, which initially prevents her from forming emotional and reciprocal bonds with others, is also evident in Birdbox. 

Photo Credit: https://www.imdb.com/title/tt2737304/mediaviewer/rm1969058304

The film further presents fear at its finest, not revealing the ‘monster’ or ‘creature’ throughout distorts all ideas of traditional horror movies and is both a refreshing and innovative move on Bier’s part. As aforementioned, it is an excellent production which allows viewers to imagine the scariest possibilities in our minds as we witness people go to lengths such as killing themselves upon seeing this monster (which as mentioned, we never see ourselves). The mental and emotional impact of this means viewers are able to personally experience some of the dread and fear that we watch paralyse the characters in the film. Moreover, this utter discomfort increases as we watch the surviving characters fend for their life completely blind – all wear blindfolds so as to not ‘see’ the creature which compels them to end their own lives. This means viewers do not know what each character will do, what they will bump into, or how they will adapt to this new way of life- we are unable to predict how the plot will unfold or how it will end, similarly we feel blind and have to stumble along behind the characters also. Will they be safe with the blindfold on, will the monster catch them, or will they stumble upon things worser then the monster? All of these questions will be on your mind as you watch the film. 

The film bares similarities to The Happening which stars Zoey Dechannel and Mark Wahlberg and which is about a force in the air which causes people to commit suicide. But unlike The Happening, there is no force in the air as the monster in Birdbox operates at all levels such as the air, the ground and basically all around! Nonetheless, if you like The Happening, you will surely enjoy Birdbox. Overall, if you love horror films and were looking for one to keep you on the edge of your seat, but at the same time fixed on the screen hungry for more, then Birdbox will surely satisfy you. With just the right balance of fear and emotional input we are immersed in an intellectual production about connection, bonds and how easy life can change. So, all that is required now is for you to turn the lights down, grab a blanket, and make sure your laptop is fully charged. This is a film you will surely not want to miss and that everyone will be talking about for a while… 

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