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Review: Bird Box

Bird Box
7 10

PLOT: A woman and two children make their way to a possible sanctuary as a dangerous evil follows their every move. It is an evil so powerful, that if you see it, you will face tragic consequences.

REVIEW: It is always intriguing to see a respected name in Hollywood take on a genre project. While we’ve seen Sandra Bullock delve into thriller territory with a few films before, BIRD BOX feels like the closest to straight horror that we've seen her take part in. The Susanne Bier directed feature tells a familiar tale, yet it manages to deal with the material in an interesting way. While it may share a certain similarity to previous works like A QUIET PLACE, THE HAPPENING and perhaps even THE MIST, the on-screen talent also allows this to make it work on its own for the most part. It certainly helps that Ms. Bullock is supported by such talent as Trevante Rhoades, John Malkovich, Sarah Paulson and Jacki Weaver.

When we first meet Malorie (Bullock), we quickly realize that things have already gone to hell. She is explaining to two children - presumably her own - that they must wear a blindfold, keep quiet and prepare for a very long and impossible journey. After a series of apocalyptic events, a dark force has spread across the world. If you see it, whatever nightmare it is, you face your most horrific thoughts which leads to frightening consequences. Since the film follows a couple of different time lines, we also see what happens with a small group of survivors -  including Malorie - as they struggle to survive the dark and mysteriious entities attacks.

bird box susanne bier netflix sandra bullock trevante rhodes john malkovich sarah paulson jacki weaver rosa salazar machine gun kelly bd wong horror post apocalyptic thriller 2018The above description is a bit vague on purpose. Considering BIRD BOX follows different time lines, it would almost be a disservice to the viewer to explain too much. That being said, a large portion of the film takes place at a suburban home where Malorie hides out with some of the other survivors, all of which have lost someone in some terrifying way. While many of those left standing follow familiar horror stereotypes, the performances are good enough that it is easy to forgive. Some of the best moments include the scenes with Malkovich and Bullock. The two work especially well together, and help elevate the script by Eric Heisserer.

The heart of BIRD BOX lies with the film’s two leads, and the familial relationship that they take on. This is especially effective when you see how unwilling and unready Malorie is to be a parent. Bullock and Rhodes are absolutely stunning together, especially taking in how each one handles dealing with the young children involved. As a mother figure, Malorie isn't graced with a loving instinct. She is cold and cruel at times, in fact, she doesn’t even give them names. However, with the world facing such a cataclysmic horror, she remains more concerned about both “Boy” (Julian Edwards) and “Girl’s” (Vivien Lyra Blair) survival as opposed to proper play time or anything else.

bird box susanne bier sandra bullock trevante rhodes john malkovich sarah paulson jacki weaver rosa salazar machine gun kelly bd wong horror joblo.com post apocalyptic thriller 2018The title of BIRD BOX refers to the one thing that can warn of the presence of the organism that drives people to their death. It is an interesting variation on the usual warning of the horrors at hand. While it may seem a bit convenient how this is discovered, it works rather well. The biggest problem here is that we’ve seen much of this before, and it has certainly been done better in the past. Even still, this is a suspenseful feature that manages to give the audience more than just an occasional jolt. As the timelines shift, it tends to reveal a bit too much as the story progresses, but even still it works better than expected.

Ultimately, BIRD BOX is an oftentimes haunting and provocative thriller, with a surprisingly heavy dose of horror. It is a pleasure to see Ms. Bullock step into genre, and she gives an impressive performance as a woman intent on protecting her and the family that she has taken on. As well, she is supported by a talented cast that includes solid work from Rhodes, Malkovich, Paulson, Lil Rel Howery, BD Wong and Rosa Salazar - even if some of the characters they play fall into obivous horror conventions. Whether you catch it for its brief theatrical run, or on Netflix the following week, BIRD BOX is certainly worth a look.

Source: JoBlo.com

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