Bird Box? An Empty Box.


The dark and simple poster for “BIrd Box” sets a grim precedent for the film.

John DiPietro, Writer

Over the holiday break, friends and families came together to enjoy the food and festivities of the holiday. Once all the presents were opened and food scraped from off the plates, it was time to relax and what better way to pass the time than browsing through Netflix! The streaming platform is no stranger to uploading original films, and “Bird Box” took the internet by storm. People and the media were raving about this movie non-stop during the holidays, but now that the hype dust has settled, was this a good movie? 

I read a few reviews of the movie, and it turned out that there were a lot of mixed opinions. Some even argued that it was a rip-off of another movie called “A Quiet Place.” 

The story is about a woman, played by Sandra Bullock, who struggles with becoming a mom and loving her kids. It’s also a story about the end of humanity. The world is being invaded by H.P. Lovecraftian horrors, which no one can physically see. However, if a character catches a glimpse of one of these invisible entities, they become crazy and kill themselves, which is kind of dumb, in my opinion.

The way the movie is shot and edited makes for an incoherent story. Essentially, there are two stories being told at the same time, where one interrupts the flow of the other.  The main story shows Sandra’s character and two kids traveling on the river to a location that promises sanctuary from the monsters that now inhabit the world, while the other is a flashback to when Sandra Bullock first encountered the mysterious entities. The movie goes back and forth with these two narratives. This is a great example of how to not tell a story to your audience. By showing what will eventually happen, you take away all sense of tension in your story. The flashback story is kind of played out like a zombie apocalypse movie, where our protagonist is thrown into a situation where she must band together with other survivors and fend themselves from the dark forces that surround them. Now, this would be interesting if it weren’t filled with boring one-dimensional characters who we all know will eventually die because of how poorly executed the story is.

The characters in the flashback section of this movie are so bland and forgettable that I did not care for any of them. Well, all except for John Malkovich, who was probably the best part of the film. Just because he is an absolute jerk to everyone else and is pretty much the voice of reason. Some of the other acting is pretty good, mainly from Sandra Bullock and Sarah Paulson, whose character is completely wasted in the first few minutes of the film. The rest are just subpar.

The rest of the story in the flashback plays out like a typical survival-horror where a group of people try to figure out what is going on while also making sure that they are stocked up on food and resources. The character’s death that occurs throughout this section left no emotional impact on me as I was not invested and already knew the outcome.

Another big issue in this movie: theme. One story focuses on survival while the other one focuses on motherhood. I think the movie was trying mainly to focus on the whole notion of Bullock’s character trying to accept being a mother and caring for her kids. However, this is forgotten through most of the story and is brought back at the end.  

The final climax in the story was laughably bad as it breaks some of the rules about the creature and how they act. Not only that, but it was completely void of any real suspense and consequence. All they have to do is not take off their blindfolds and walk cautiously through the forest. I mean, the creatures can do anything but physically interact with humans. Which kind takes away any sense of danger for the main characters. You don’t any sense peril or concern for them because they are pretty much safe as long as they don’t do anything stupid, which is very hard for anyone to avoid doing in this film apparently.

Anyway, this movie was overhyped and void of anything substantial. It’s a great example of how people are easily influenced by what the media has to say and what they see on social media. This movie would not have gotten any attention if it weren’t for the efforts of Netflix’s marketing team and the infamous #birdboxchallenge.