Imagine this, boating through a vast river. Simple, right? Now add this up, boating with two kids on the boat and then riding that boat in a postapocalyptic world where supernatural entities have killed off most of the population by forcing anyone who looks at them into suicide. You have no other choice to escape, survive, and stay alive—but all of these have to be done blindfolded.
“All of it is heard, none of it is seen.” Such is the theme that led Bird Box into having the biggest first-week success of a Netflix movie, with the film being watched by about 45 million subscribers.
Bird Box is a postapocalyptic thriller film released in 2018, which had its world premiere at the American Film Institute (AFI) Fest on November 12, and had begun a limited release on December 14 before it became available worldwide on Netflix on December 21.
The film stars Sandra Bullock, Trevante Rhodes, John Malkovich, and Sarah Paulson. Bullock plays Malorie Hayes, a woman who takes along her two children through a vast river to avoid the supernatural entities that have taken over the world. Blindfolded, they have to pass through a series of difficulties and natural accidents to reach a place that promises a safe haven.
Bird Box, adapted from Josh Malerman’s novel of the same name, has captivated its audience through a horrific presentation of brutality and death, as well as an unfathomable fear triggered by an unknown and a mysterious force that drives anyone who sees it into death by suicide.
It definitely succeeded in bringing a chill to its audience, but in delivering a message, not so much. There was a lack of background that could have made the viewers sympathize more with the characters, and there were a lot of questions left unanswered. The film revolved more on how the characters deal with their present situations instead of trying to find an absolute solution with their main problem at hand, and it made the tense moments of the film short-lived.
On the other hand, the screenplay’s sequencing is one of its most notable quality. The plot takes place in two time periods: the beginning, which shows Mallory and the other characters’ struggles in staying alive while the mysterious force is at large in the outside world, and the escapade, which takes place five years later, where the apocalyptic world has remained the same, except now, Malorie has to guide two children through a dangerous river to a safe haven where she hopes there would be shelter for the three of them. Although not as remarkable, the transition of the scenes from one period to another was smooth enough. It was pretty simple, and in a good sense, it didn’t get too confusing for the viewers to follow along.
To be fair, though, the scenes are worthy of the genre apocalyptic thriller, and although it lacks depth, at the very least it’s still shocking and can have you holding your breath and can keep you on the edge of your seat.
Nevertheless, a sequel will be much appreciated. The plot has a lot of potential to follow the success of other dystopian series such as The Hunger Games, Divergent, and The Maze Runner. It will be nice to finally have a clear glimpse of the mysterious supernatural entity, or if that will be too overboard and will defy the rules of “when you see it, you die,” then a simple explanation of how these creatures work and how to defeat them will answer the viewers’ heightened curiosity upon watching the movie.
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