REVIEW: Bird Box

Yesterday I reviewed The Silence, a movie that at first appeared to be a copy of A Quiet Place.  Now, it is time to double down and review Bird Box, which also seemed to be inspired by A Quiet Place.  The truth is, all three of these films were shooting in 2017, and, regardless of similarities, none were copying the other.  However, I do think that it was the success of A Quiet Place that helped the Netflix viewership of the other two films.

Bird Box stars Sandra Bullock as Malorie, a pregnant woman who really has no desire to be a mother.  Creatures suddenly start sweeping across the globe, and almost everyone who sees them goes mad and commits suicide.  Malorie finds a house to take refuge in with some strangers, taking on a tone from Stephen King's The Mist.  This is a problem for Bird Box, as it never really feels like a film that has its own identity.

This was the first film from director Susanne Bier that I have seen, so I cannot comment on her filmography.  The screenplay was written by a person who I have a lot of familiarity with.  Eric Heisserer, while having two incredible films that came out in 2016 (Arrival and Lights Out), has not been someone whose work I have adored.  From the 2010 remake of A Nightmare on Elm Street to the 2020 Vin Diesel Bloodshot, his filmography is full of movies I have not enjoyed.

Bird Box fits well with what I have experienced from Heisserer.  There is not a lot of work to develop the main characters to a point where we really care about them.  They all have very little personality, and mostly all boil down to one or two traits.  The story itself isn't intriguing, and there isn't an energy that pushes it forward.

Bullock's performance is decent, but she really isn't working with much here.  Malorie is a jerk when it comes to her kids, but for some reason is compassionate to other people.  To illustrate how Malorie doesn't want to be a mother, she just calls the kids 'boy' and 'girl' for five years.  I know they were hoping that the point where she decides they deserve names was supposed to show the evolution of Malorie, but it comes across as ridiculous that she would take five years to finally humanize the little ones.

We never see the mysterious creatures, but I am fine with that.  Not knowing is fun sometimes, and it works here.  All we need to know is that these beasts are out there, and they are dangerous.  I think if they showed the audience what they looked like, it probably would have felt underwhelming.

I believe the themes trying to be explored here are compassion, unity, and family.  Now, do I believe that these were handled well?  Nope.  As mentioned, the characters are very flat and are boiled down to such basic elements that no matter what Bier was exploring we wouldn't be able to feel any of the emotional ties required.

The movie also had me constantly questioning the plot and the decisions made by the characters.  They pretty much keep themselves in a lose-lose situation for unexplained reasons.  I feel as though deeper characters with better motivations would have allowed for some solid paths they could take.  Instead, they just kind of act like plot devices to push things along to where Bier and Heisserer want them to go.

This is far from a horrible or bad film.  The Silence was the awful one.  Bird Box, while not being the most engaging and compelling film, has decent production quality.  As well, Bullock is good at what is asked of her.  I feel like this could have been a really great film, as the premise is interesting.  Sadly, it is bland.  Like receiving a steak that wasn't seasoned, it is a waste of potentially good ingredients.

Rating - 2.5 out of 4 stars


  1. Apparently, there was a creature design, but it looked more comical than scary like little monster cherubs, so they decided to keep them offscreen for the whole movie.

    1. Wow, I'm really happy to hear that they left that out. Keeping the creatures a mystery was the wise move, although we all know that cherubs are one of the most widely feared of all of the cloud babies


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