“Listen to me, we’re going on a trip now, it’s going to be rough. If you hear something in the woods, you tell me. If you hear something in the water, you tell me. But under no circumstances are you allowed to take off your blindfold.”
Bird Box tells the story of Malorie, a pregnant woman whose life, and the lives of the population, is destroyed by the presence of a mysterious entity that takes on the form of your worst fear. As this apocalyptic world begins to take over, she must raise her children and find a safer place to stay, even if that means possibly risking everything to get there. Now, the hype behind Bird Box was big when it came out. This excitement was mostly due to Netflix’s ability to get Sandra Bullock for a piece of its original content. And with a decent trailer, my hype was at an increased level. But what befell me as I watched this film, was sheer boredom.
Bird Box has its intense moments, but when you look at it, those thrilling scenes do nothing for its overall integrity. I honestly wanted to say good things about this film, mostly because I’m such a fan of Ms. Bullock. But in the case of seeing her waste her talents in this, well, it’s a shame. The hurt that caused the film to fall so far was due to its story. The novel, written by Josh Malerman, for which Bird Box is based on, is allegedly much better than the film. I can’t attest to the legitimacy of the novel’s superiority. But at this point, I’m sure anything is better than the screenplay that we have here. The first big intense moments don’t happen until almost 45 minutes in. It’s a struggle heading into this, when the first Act is all dialogue. It’s a constant running of “whose getting supplies?” “Don’t let people in!” I’ll sacrifice myself!” Blah, blah, blah. This bland use of dialogue in only on top of the cheesy and predictable speech that runs throughout the film.
The actors in Bird Box had a seriously difficult task at hand. Trevante Rhodes, who plays Malorie’s housemate, Tom, and Bullock, who plays Malorie, do what they can to hold this film together. However, even after their decent performing, it was too late. The damage was done from the very beginning. John Malkovich, who now plays the same character in every movie, added dreadful, cringe-worthy entertainment. His lines were part of the predictable nature of the film. Bird Box had some legitimate actors on board for the ride, but in the end, there was nothing much to be consumed in watching such a stale film. These actors, whether they had exhibited their amazing talents in drama or comedy, or both, came into this film and simply fell flat.
There’s not much I can say for Bird Box, but most of all, it’s hard to get so angry at a film where the crime of lackluster creation may rest in the source material itself. I’m sure a lot of us wish this could have been an excellent film that would have marked Netflix’s big year into prime original content. And frankly, if it had not been for Roma’s release, Netflix may not have had a leg to stand on when increasing prices for their users. In the end, I look forward to the future of Netflix’s original content, but they have surely had a misstep with Bird Box.
Directed by: Susanne Bier
Starring: Sandra Bullock, Trevante Rhodes, John Malkovich, and Sarah Paulson