Suspense and mystery are two of most rarest genres you could find in movies now a days. Other than horror, keeping the audience in suspense before or even without a cheap jump scare is a special talent that few directors actually practice so seeing it executed effectively deserves the highest praise. Popular scares like James Wan’s Insidious and The Conjuring has re-inspired the film industry in wanting more of such quality and thankfully, it just keeps getting better with every new perspective.
One worth adding to the books is Bird Box.
Based on a 2014 novel written by Josh Malerman, this thriller is yet another post-apocalyptic tale of horrors which in honest truth, you don’t see coming. Much like A Quiet Place, the story draws heavily on the mystery of how people are dying and what exactly is behind the phenomenon – a compelling means of storytelling that constantly keeps you at the edge of your seat.
The story follows a woman named Malorie, played by Sandra Bullock who witnesses a plague where people kill themselves for no reason. These deaths are gruesome and erratic which triggers mass hysteria around the world as panic over the unknown consumes the world overnight.
Now, you might be thinking, “Hey, isn’t this the plot from M Night Shyamalan’s The Happening?” and you’re not wrong. In fact, the book was written prior to The Happening’s movie release and because of that, the writer scheduled a later release of his publication to avoid any similarities or dilution of his story.
Bird Box is a movie that makes you afraid to look – something which we are all tempted to do when we’re afraid or simply too curious in the moment of suspense. This haunts you throughout the movie and the mystery behind what causes the mass hysteria is what really drives the story.
Without giving the plot away too much, the threats of the movie are first introduced and later on begin to evolve as the story progresses, not like Pokémon evolve but in a sense where Murphy’s Law goes full throttle.
Much like A Quiet Place, the entire cast does an exceptional job at selling the concept of danger and trust me, you’d be cringing to keep your eyes closed and literally dying for a peek. There is one scene where they use children to simulate the edging feeling of danger that just pushes you to yell and warn them even though they are going through the motions already. It’s that level of cinematic thrill that ought to trigger someone’s anxiety right off the bat!
Bullock is still an amazing actress and seeing her portray a very conflicted character in such a dystopian really brings out the reality of how people would react if they were in her shoes. Other familiar faces you can expect to find in the movie are John Malkovich and Parminder Nagra (Yes, the lead from Bend it like Beckham).
The overall story is very engaging and though it may sound like I really am repeating myself, Bird Box really nails the whole gradual scare factor excellently as a movie and that’s something not a lot of films have a proper grasp on even in 2018.
It’s hard not to compare it to A Quiet Place simply because it has so many similarities in their approach to suspense albeit with a different concept. The story is pretty self contained with enough explanation for most of your curiosities but don’t expect a full answer or complete salvation in its conclusion. It is safe to say that dystopias rarely have a happy or satisfactory ending so keep your expectations to a minimum when you’ve reached that point.
So to avoid any more spoilers that may potentially ruin the experience of this movie, go watch it now on Netflix and be sure to keep a lookout on this beauty!
Bird Box – 9/10