Review: BIRD BOX Is Dystopian Sci-Fi At Its Creepiest

FIRST IMPRESSION

A post-apocalyptic thriller with legitimate emotion and thrills, Bird Box takes its wildly intriguing premise and delivers a satisfying watch.
Writing
Directing
Acting
Technical Merit

Bird Box is the newest film from director Susanne Bier. It stars Sandra Bullock as a mother who must lead her children to safety while blindfolded in a post-apocalyptic world decimated by an unseen force that drives people insane once they see it. It debuted at the 2018 AFI Fest to mixed reviews.

This is one of the most effective post-apocalyptic movie to come out in a very long time (yes, way more effective than A Quiet Place). This is the because the film has an extremely effective balance of emotion and genuine horror. The idea of not being able to see has always been terrifying, and the movie capitalizes on that.

The character development is one of the most effective elements of the film and what makes it so compelling. The protagonist, Mallory, is a complex character. Thankfully, the movie decides to leave her background ambiguous, meaning that almost every scene in the film is used in some way to further develop her. Most of the supporting characters are quite well-developed too, with emotional connections actually forming with the characters. There are a few that were a bit shallow, but that is a casualty of having about two too many characters.

bird box river

The theme of the movie was also quite resonant. The film contains many of the themes common to the post-apocalyptic genre, however, it also has a few that stand out. For example, the movie’s messages about parenthood will likely be sympathetic to everyone, even if they are not parents themselves. The film’s premise also serves as a metaphor with a great deal of significance.

That being said, the movie isn’t entirely consistent. It follows a nonlinear storyline, part of the film following the three characters’ journey on the river, and the other part dealing with the events earlier in the apocalypse. Unfortunately, the early apocalypse storyline is spoiled by the river storyline. You can easily reason what is going to happen over the course of the story. Nonetheless, the part of the story

bird box bullock rhodes

The movie’s execution is very strong too. The cinematography and sound design are absolutely great. It is almost ironic that a film centered around being unable to look at things is so visually impressive. The camerawork during the river sequences is particularly good. Additionally, the sparing use of CGI is nice. The sound design is the best element, though. The use of the birds is brilliant and breathtakingly suspenseful.

Furthermore, the performances in the movie are great. Sandra Bullock delivers a very good lead performance. She nails both the emotional and action-oriented elements of the film. Trevante Rhodes is also a standout. His role in this movie is much more complex than anything he has ever done before. It is complex and emotionally nuanced. John Malkovich, Sarah Paulson, and Lil Rel Howery are also great.

Overall, Bird Box is a really solid film. The premise and execution are both very intriguing, and it contains some of the creepiest scenes of the year.

Bird Box is now available on Netflix.

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Sean Boelman
Sean is a film student, aspiring filmmaker, and life-long cinephile. For as long as he can remember, he has always loved film, but he credits the film Pan's Labyrinth as having started his love of film as art. Sean enjoys watching many types of films, although some personal favorite genres include dramatic comedies, romantic comedies, heist films, and art horror.

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