Often feeling like another instalment of The Walking Dead franchise, Bird Box plays as far more of a relationship drama than an actual horror
A Quiet Place hit a vein; a vein of absolute gold as it struck up a ‘kinda-gimmicky, for the masses, horror’ deal with the whole of cinema, and made itself an absolute world beater. There’s demand of unimaginable magnitude for this type of film (It managed to rake in some of this in 2017), and Bird Box is another film of a very similar ilk. The demand is clearly still there, it’s even broken records, but that doesn’t mean the quality of the film is still as good as it should be.
In a post-apocalyptic America, Malorie (Sandra Bullock) and two unnamed children are alone in a house near a fast-flowing river. With news of a potential safe haven at the end of the river, Malorie must take the children in a boat to safety. However, with the beasts that caused havoc to the world still at large, the trio must always wear blindfolds when outside, even when navigating through the treacherous and unpredictable water.
Often feeling like another instalment of The Walking Dead franchise, Bird Box plays as far more of a relationship drama than an actual horror; especially when the focus is so keenly put on the characters held captive inside the house. The script is weighed down heavily by its social politics, and that draws away from the genuinely interesting sections of the film.
In fact, there isn’t nearly enough focus on any of the really interesting sections of the story. The marketing, the memes and the talk is all about Malorie and the children’s journey down the river, a period that covers an incredibly small section of the actual run time. It almost feels like a slog when these moments aren’t filling the screen. Not to say that the rest of the drama is awful, but there’s a definite sense of longing for more action for much of the down time. A Quiet Place found the perfect balance. Bird Box did not.
None of it is terrible, and it’s drama does hold up to the test of modern day standards, but it isn’t complete, and it isn’t enthralling. It has plot holes and loopholes making it feel somewhat of a cop out, but that doesn’t tell the whole story. Perhaps Bird Box shouldn’t be as huge as it has become, but it certainly isn’t bad enough to be denied its unprecedented online streaming success.
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