How was your Christmas? Great, I hope! The past week for me has been a bit of a daze. I flew home to Ireland on Christmas Day from New York, and the following few days were a blur of jet lag, broken sleep, copious amounts of chocolate and the obligatory homecoming catchups! I also don’t think it’s fully hit me that I’m back home for the foreseeable, but we won’t dwell on that…on to 2019 and the next adventure, wherever that may be!
I also spent the past few days lazing around reading (Michelle Obama’s book is so good FYI! Such an inspiring woman. Will share my thoughts on here when I’m finished it), and watching movies. And of course, Bird Box, the much hyped new release from Netflix was on the list. Check the trailer out below before reading on if you haven’t seen it!
I didn’t really know much about Bird Box before it was released. I’d seen some promotional articles and knew that Sandra Bullock was leading it, but I wasn’t aware of the just how good the rest of the cast was too, or that the story was adapted from a book (adding it to my list for 2019)!
I really liked the movie. It’s the type of story I often find myself drawn to: mysterious force threatens Earth, a band of survivors are thrown together, and said band is then picked off one by one!
As I touched upon above, the cast is pretty impressive. You have the Hollywood heavy hitters in Sandra Bullock, Sarah Paulson, John Malkovich, Jacki Weaver, Tom Hollander and BD Wong. Thrown into the mix with them is a batch of up-and-comers who have all had recent successes and are creating a buzz: Trevante Rhodes, Rosa Salazar, Danielle MacDonald and Colson Baker (A.K.A Machine Gun Kelly, who I never realised had branched into acting from the rap world). The movie, as you’d expect, is a vehicle for the Oscar winning Bullock who gives a commanding performance, transforming from a lost, disillusioned, pregnant woman into a warrior mother throughout the two hour run. But she certainly has great support in the group of actors around her, who have varying degrees of relevance in the story, but who all work well with what they are given!
In Bird Box, mass suicides start to grip the world. Initially, it’s unclear what is causing this, but we soon learn that the victims are driven to take their own life after laying eyes on an unforeseen force that compels them to do so in gruesome ways. Bullock’s character Malorie witnesses the harrowing death of her sister Jess (Paulson) and in the rush to escape the chaos engulfing the streets, she finds herself trapped inside a house with a group of other survivors. Realising that the people who are killing themselves have seen some mysterious entity before they do it, they board up all of the windows in order to protect themselves from seeing it!
The film is paced very well, and while the suicides are certainly horrible to behold, it’s impossible to turn away as you wait to see who the next person to go will be, and the ways in which they go are certainly creative if nothing else. All of the cast give great performances, however there are a couple of throwaway characters that could possibly have been left out and the overall film wouldn’t have suffered. For instance, a pair of characters leave the group midway through, and are never seen again. This kind of leads me to believe that Netflix may have plans for a sequel, which I’d be all for if it makes sense to do one, but there isn’t a second book, and I’m not sure if there is enough for a sequel that would allow it to be as interesting as this movie is. But, who knows. The film has been really well received, and is already breaking records, so I won’t be surprised if there are plans in places to capitalise on this!
Bird Box has also understandably received comparison to A Quiet Place, given the similar use of atmosphere and dread, along with having parenthood as a central theme! Although, while it’s a good effort, I don’t think director Susanne Bier manages to get the same kind of tense atmosphere into her film that John Krasinski won praise for getting into his!
One main thing that I didn’t like…and this is slightly spoilery…is that there is no real conclusion to the film. We never really get an indication as to what exactly is causing people to kill themselves, or how the mysterious entities actually do it! While I’m always a big fan of stories that don’t show the monster straight away to kick up the suspense, I’m not the biggest fan of not showing it at all! But perhaps there is something to be said for leaving it up to your imagination as the film ends.
There is also a moment in the third act, in which Malorie is forced to contemplate an unthinkable choice. It looks as if she is about to make it, and while it would indeed be shocking, I was ready to commend the director for taking the gutsy move of going in that director and risk having audiences turn on the main hero of this story. Having the narrative take this turn would have been a clear nod to the desperation experienced by survivors of the apocalypse. But, ultimately, Bier opts for the cleaner route, which is still fine, but it’s much less biting!
It might not be the best horror-thriller you’ll ever see, but Bird Box has strong turns from its lead and support actors, and enough intrigue and suspense to keep you interested!
Have you see it yet? Let me know your thoughts below!
Also, it’s now officially 2019 here in Ireland, so Happy New Year all! I hope it brings happiness and health for everyone. Thank you for reading along here this past year if you have been keeping up. Looking forward to continuing to grow Cover and Character in 2019! Thanks for your support!