An apocalypse threatens the world simply by sight. It is in this film that we follow one woman as she survives this catastrophe happening around her.
The movie shares many similarities with this years horror film “A Quiet Place.” Where in that movie the horror delves on lack of sound and this was executed very well. In this movie, the horror comes from lack of sight and it wasn’t executed good.
“A Quiet Place” starts off great with little to no sound as it introduces the main family. This works nicely in creating the tense and very eerie atmosphere. The mood is set right not just in the beginning, but in many other scenes throughout. In particular, the scenes where the movie goes into how the family was going through life during the alien apocalypse. Especially in how they spend time and going to the extreme struggle of trying to reduce as much sound as possible. The family taking the lightest step as possible or just simply making the least amount of noise as possible. This situation makes you care for the family and the movie is a pretty good tension builder. As for the most part, the movie kept one on their seats as they watched the family trying to survive. This is not this movie at all.
In terms of the movie’s narrative structure, it starts off with the beginning of the catastrophe and we follow Sandra Bullock’s character as she survives in a house with random people. During this, it cuts to 5 years in the future where Bullock is protecting two kids while trying to get to a hideout for safety from the things causing the destruction. Now I will say, to an extent, the future parts I do like and there are elements there, as well as the other scenes, I found intriguing. But for the most part, one doesn’t care or get invested in the characters. You ultimately don’t care what is happening because you’re not that invested in this cliche and pretty generic apocalyptic horror flick.
The pacing is not right in the “modern-day” scenes as they go rather quickly. In the first 15 minutes, the mystery of what is going on is revealed. I don’t think this was appropriate do this because it spoils what is happening while not subtly, which is something that I think this movie was trying to do something better than “A Quiet Place.” It seemed like this movie was trying to be more meaningful/symbolic with the plot, but the themes that were pointed here in here were so vague that one comes out of it wondering what is going. It leaves you asking way too many questions of what these things and how they operate.
Now the movie does have a decent cast with a couple good actors/actresses including Bullock and John Malkovich. These two do a fine performance, as well as some of the other people. I will say Malkovich’s character I liked due to the fact of him stating the obvious and trying to avoid any dangers but of course, they come. MGK, Machine Gun Kelly, is here and he’s pointless. The survival group scenes were the worst parts on the film in that you don’t give a crap about anyone and there’s hardly any good development with these people.
The future scenes are the best parts, but that is not saying much. These scenes showed some promise, it was a bit creepy, and it shows what the film could have been. Bullock is trying to survive the outside world with two kids, while blindfolded. Them going walking through the woods and navigating on a river with no use of eyes was pretty interesting. In the survival group scenes, I liked the one where they go on the road to look for more resources, so they try blindly and block the car windows with paint/newspapers.
But the lack of development makes you not care for what is happening, especially in the kids. The kids are dumb in that, mainly the girl, they disobey Bullock’s rules in surviving. Probably for good reason because the boy and girl are named boy and girl, literally. Bullock had these kids for 5 years and she doesn’t bother giving a name to both. Especially when she promised the one pregnant lady earlier to protect/care for her daughter.
Like I mentioned the things that are causing the destruction of Earth are not explained properly. There are clues that these things are supernatural, like spirits or ghosts. Now, what are they after exactly? It seems that these entities cause great pain, regret, remorse, or guilt to a person who has there eyes open. to which that person kills themselves. Can someone explain why there are people who act like slaves to the ghosts and are not suicidal? These ghosts can cause movement around them while they are in the area and are trying to get people to see them, though they can’t take blindfolds off of people. There’s a character that is looking at security cams near the beginning but was still affected by the spirits.
“A Quiet Place,” again, is better executed in its unique and interesting concept. The things that were causing the madness, were aliens. It was simple, yes, but it was at least basic enough to follow what they are and how they operate.
Going back to symbolism, I thought the title of the movie was going to mean something. But there’s nothing interesting to it. Basically, the “Bird Box” is a literal box that contains birds. They are used in this movie as alarm bells to warn of danger. There is nothing symbolic about this plot point at all. Another question, how were people affected but not the animals? There are birds in the future, but no other animals in the world. Now, this maybe nitpicking, but these kinds of things really stood out while watching this confusing movie.
I don’t recommend this movie to anyone, this was pretty bad. The concept is there and it does shine through to some degree. But its the execution of the concepts that kills it in this confusing, dull, boring, and generic apocalyptic movie, that makes one see this movie as a blatant rip-off of “A Quiet Place.” To which this movie fails in that.