Bird Box [Celluloid Hero]
Bird Box (2018)
For years I've been trying to convince my wife that subtlety in movies is a good thing. We grew up with different genres, and I still tend to watch much weirder stuff than her, but with Bird Box I may have finally convinced her that sometimes nothing is scarier than something.
When a mysterious plague results in worldwide suicides, a small group of people find shelter in a house. A theory is floated that this is a form of the End of Times, when demons walk the earth, and those who see them envision their greatest fear and would rather kill themselves than face it. Once it is proven that these monsters can only have an effect on you through sight, the survivors realize they need to be blindfolded whenever they go outside. Communication through a walkie-talkie hints of a safe zone, and a woman and two young children make a dangerous trek down a river to try to find safety.
I tend not to watch many trailers, because I feel like sometimes even the smallest details can be spoilers of sorts. I like to go in fresh! I saw a bit of the trailer below, and was intrigued. Once I saw about a million memes across Facebook, I knew I had to watch this quick before the entire thing got spoiled. I feel like "Bird Box" pulled from a bunch of different inspirations - M. Night Shyamalan's 'The Happening' (people uncontrollably hurt themselves), zombie movies (sometimes humans are the real danger), even Lovecraft (it's said that merely gazing upon an Eldritch god like Cthulhu would drive you insane).
I also learned that I'm now a wreck when it comes to movies about kids. I ended last year with Captain Fantastic, and had to watch a widower take care of his 6 children. I couldn't even begin to put myself in the place of Sandra Bullock. Baby Varacchi hates to wear hats in winter, there's no way I could keep a blindfold on her for more than two seconds. Trying to explain to a child that they will literally die if they open their eyes is a concept I couldn't even wrap my brain around. Trying to wrangle two kids in the woods while keeping myself blindfolded so I don't die was just madness on its own.
It definitely wasn't perfect, and suffered a bit from a blah script that the actors could only do so much with. Bullock never felt quite right, but John Malkovich balanced her out with the perfect amount of scenery chewing. The two children were great, and the rest of the supporting cast was hit-or-miss, maybe at 65% hit and 35% miss.
I think the most interesting thing of all is that there's a much smaller chance I would have seen this so quickly if it had a traditional theatre release. Netflix's dedication to original content really does seem to have the potential to change the movie-going experience.
[Celluloid Hero] gives "Bird Box" 6 out of 10.