Escape This Bird Box: Depressing Netflix Film Has Good Performances, But Little Else

2 out of 5 stars (Has Some Good Moments, But is Overall Bad)

This review was requested by Ruba Ferarro.  Thanks for being a great friend and neighbor.  This article and film discuss suicide and mental illness.

Bird Box Poster
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Netflix’s controversial Bird Box is one of the more frustrating watches I’ve had recently.  Despite good performances from Sandra Bullock, Trevante Rhodes, and John Malkovich, this film is a sluggish, depressing experience no different from your garden-variety horror film where you watch simplistic characters get picked off one by one.  I applaud Ms. Bullock for giving her all to this material, but even she can’t save it.

The story follows Malerie (Bullock) a woman in the middle of the apocalypse trying to get two children down a river to safety from mysterious creatures that materialize into the worst fear of whoever looks at them, then that person will commit suicide (but if they’re mentally ill, they become fanatical about making other people see the creatures for unexplained reasons).  We flash back between this and 5 years prior, where Malerie was stuck in a house with Douglas (John Malkovich), Tom (Trevante Rhodes), Charlie (a seriously miscast Lil Rel Howery, Get Out), and other underdeveloped characters (Machine Gun Kelly and Danielle MacDonald).

Bird Box is one of the most overhyped films in recent memory.  While director Susanna Bier manages some good tension in the early and ending stages, and Eric Heisserer’s script has welcome moments of dark humor, the film was largely uninvolving.  I also found the portrayal of mental illness offensive and needless.  Why not have everyone become fanatical about having others see the creatures?  Why are the mentally ill the only ones affected?  If the movie were entertaining on some level, I could potentially be less harsh on this aspect, but as is, I found it an extremely boring and irritating watch.  Sandra Bullock gives her kids (named Boy and Girl, no I’m not kidding) a speech at the film’s opening that serves as an ironic warning to potential viewers in retrospect.  Heed it and escape this Bird Box.

Rated R for Violence, Bloody Images, Language, And Brief Sexuality

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