Review: Take off your blindfold for ‘Bird Box’

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Review: Take off your blindfold for ‘Bird Box’

Malorie Hayes, played by Sandra Bullock, holds two children in her arms while wearing a blindfold. Bird Box is set in an apocalyptic world where a monster drives all who see it to kill themselves.

Malorie Hayes, played by Sandra Bullock, holds two children in her arms while wearing a blindfold. Bird Box is set in an apocalyptic world where a monster drives all who see it to kill themselves.

Photo credit: Bird Box promotional materials

Malorie Hayes, played by Sandra Bullock, holds two children in her arms while wearing a blindfold. Bird Box is set in an apocalyptic world where a monster drives all who see it to kill themselves.

Photo credit: Bird Box promotional materials

Photo credit: Bird Box promotional materials

Malorie Hayes, played by Sandra Bullock, holds two children in her arms while wearing a blindfold. Bird Box is set in an apocalyptic world where a monster drives all who see it to kill themselves.

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When Bird Box first popped up in my suggested list on Netflix, I ignored it. I have never been one for horror movies, after all. However, the next day the film popped up on Instagram, then Twitter and even on Snapchat. What was this movie everyone was talking about, and what did a blindfold have to do with birds? I had to find out. 

Bird Box, starring Sandra Bullock and directed by Susanne Bier, is a new Netflix hit that’s worth the watch. Netflix revealed that approximately 26 million viewers in the United States watched the film within a week of release.

The drama is set in an apocalyptic world where a mysterious creature wreaks havoc on citizens; all who see the monster end up dead by suicide. This monster can be sensed by birds before they arrive, prompting the birds to aggressively chirp.

The movie follows Malorie Hayes (Sandra Bullock) and two children, affectionately named “Boy” and “Girl,” as they scramble for temporary shelters and search for safety in a world where none exists.

The catch? They must search for sanctuary in blindfolds to avoid otherwise certain death. The only protection they are granted is a box of birds to warn them of upcoming monsters. It took me a minute, but suddenly it clicked that this detail is what inspired the title.

The movie alternates between a series of flashbacks to the start of the apocalypse and the quest for sanctuary in the present. At the beginning of the film, a pregnant Malorie miraculously finds shelter in a house among other survivors. However, the arrival of untrustworthy guests and the necessary ventures for food place everyone in danger.

The action lies in a risky trip down a nearby river to a rumored safe haven. Leading up to the escapade, love interests develop and unlikely friendships form; however, it quickly becomes apparent that, for most characters, all hope is lost.

The film instantly took over social media, flooding timelines with memes and the Bird Box challenge. The challenge consisted of people attempting to complete tasks blindfolded, but any content containing the challenge was banned from YouTube due to dangerous results. As someone who regularly engages with social media, it was impossible to ignore. So, I popped some popcorn and prepared for the horror.

I think categorizing the film as horror is a bit of a stretch, considering the monster is never actually seen. There were no jump-scares or faces of monsters that show up in nightmares. In fact, there was only really the occasional bloody scene. If anything, “Bird Box” is more of an emotionally-driven film. I found myself yearning to give “Boy” and “Girl” names, and the relationships developed in the film felt authentic.

Despite the lack of horror, the movie was definitely unlike anything I’ve ever watched. Filmed on the Smith River, the wide shots were absolutely stunning. The film was so immersive that I didn’t notice I had spent two hours of my Friday afternoon watching it. 

Unlike most clichéd horror movies, the characters were very well developed. For an emotionally intense movie, I appreciated the occasional humor. Bird Box is the kind of movie that pulled me in, even to the point where I was cheering for characters (or yelling at them, depending on the circumstances).

For the bird and not-so-scary horror movie enthusiasts out there, Bird Box is the perfect film.

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4.1

Summary

Bird Box follows Malorie Hayes, played by Sandra Bullock, as she attempts to survive in an apocalyptic world plagued by a monster who kills all who see it. The film is not only a thriller, but it also focuses on complex relationships and what happens when ordinary people come face to face with horrific death.