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January 16, 2019

Bird Box (2018) --- "Never Lose Sight Of Survival"

Plot Summary
When a mysterious force decimates the population, only one thing is certain -- if you see it, you die. The survivors must now avoid coming face to face with an entity that takes the form of their worst fears. Searching for hope and a new beginning, a woman and her children embark on a dangerous journey through the woods and down a river to find the one place that may offer sanctuary. To make it, they'll have to cover their eyes from the evil that chases them -- and complete the trip blindfolded. (1)

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Hello, Movie Buffs!
     Award-winning writer and director Susanne Bier has a unique style of filmmaking that allows her to create films that often play out against a wide-reaching global backdrop with an incredible attention to detail. They focus carefully on exploring the explosive nature of human emotions and the complexities surrounding familial bonds. This unique style of filmmaking made her the perfect candidate to helm Netflix’s most recent success, Bird Box (2018).

     Written by Eric Heisserer (Arrival, Extinction) and based on the novel by Josh Malerman, Bird Box (2018) is a Netflix original drama/horror/sci-fi film set in an apocalyptic world where people have to blindfold themselves in order to survive a supernatural entity that will cause you to commit suicide if you look at it. The story mainly focuses on Malorie (Sandra Bullock) and her two young charges, Boy (Julian EdwardsI Mom So Hard) and Girl (Vivien Lyra Blair - Waco) as they try to survive long enough to find the safe haven from the radio.
     Right of the bat, it is clear that Bird Box is sort of a combination of two films: A Quiet Place (2018) starring Emily Blunt and John Krasinski, and focuses on the idea of being quiet to hide from the supernatural entities. And The Road (2009) starring Viggo Mortensen and Kodi Smit-McPhee, and focuses on a man and his son going on a journey to find shelter in a post-apocalyptic world. However, at the same time, Bird Box still manages to be its own film for two reasons.
     First off, the supernatural entities in this film and the ones in A Quite Place are completely different. In A Quiet Place if you make a sound, alerting the monsters to your whereabouts, at least you have the chance to hide and hope that they won’t hear you. However, in Bird Box, you can’t actually see the supernatural entities, not only because it will make you go crazy and commit suicide but also because they’re invisible and only those who have looked know what they look like. Kind of like Medusa, if you look at her you die.
     Secondly, between this film and The Road, there are more plot similarities than differences. Similarly, the story mainly focuses on an adult (Mortensen and Bullock) going on a journey to a possible safe haven with a kid (Smit-McPhee) or kids (Edwards and Blair) in tow. In order to cope with their situation and the high possibility of dying the adults adopt a no-nonsense, ‘I don’t care’, keep up or die attitude. This doesn’t mean that they don’t care about the kids, just that it’s the only way they know how to cope emotionally. Believing that if they show they don’t show that care or love the kids then it makes the possibility of losing them easier. The biggest difference between the two is that in The Road the human enemy is a roving gang of cannibals, while in Bird Box it's maniac people that are obsessed with the supernatural entities.
     The performances are incredible. Sandra Bullock (Ocean’s 8) is incredible in this film as she goes through a character arc that is just as diverse as this film. The audience is given a lot of character depth and backstory that helps you understand exactly who her character is even before the story has a chance to take off. She captures your attention from the beginning as she manages to express the emotion of fear to a whole new level. I don’t believe that anyone else could have done this role justice. Trevante Rhodes (12 Strong, The Predator) was also good as Tom and provides a nice compliment to Bullock’s tough-natured and defensive character. John Malkovich (Mile 22) is equally as good as Douglas with a great backstory, charisma, and interesting character depth. I just wish that his role was a little bigger and that he had more screen time. The rest of the characters perform well, some are easily forgettable but that’s understandable considering the number of characters we see all at one time.

     Overall, Netflix’s Bird Box (2018) is an entertaining apocalyptic thriller that does share some similarities with A Quiet Place and The Road but also manages to be its own film. The story is great, I like the use of going back and forth between the present and the past as it helped build the suspense. The only issue I have with the story is that it felt a bit too anti-climactic, maybe if they come out with a sequel then more will be explained about the supernatural entities. The character performances were incredible, the most noteworthy being Sandra Bullock, Julian Edwards, Vivien Lyra Blair, Trevante Rhodes, and John Malkovich. I highly recommend this film.

 “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.”
- Malorie

Final Vote --- 8 of 10 stars

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