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‘Bird Box’ Review
January 8, 2019
‘Bird Box’ is blind to the issues in the film
Most of the Netflix original movies that get churned out are the type of film that don’t really require any sort of brain power. The Kissing Booth and The Princess Switch, while fun and — if we’re being honest — a little lackluster in the acting department, are the type of movies that you can play on your phone while watching and still understand what is going on.
Bird Box is not one of these films. It is suspenseful and has you at the edge of your seat for the duration of the run time. It was directed by Susanne Bier, who is a Danish film director and the first female director to win a European Film Award.
Bird Box takes on a different tone than most of the other Netflix originals, which mostly consist of romantic comedies. But to say that this film inherently better than those based solely on the genre is wrong.
The opening scene really set the tone for the entire film. It starts with Malorie, played by Sandra Bullock, telling two young kids that they are going somewhere where they will be safe, but in order to get there they need to listen to everything she says. And no matter what, they are not allowed to take off their blindfolds because “if you look, you will die.”
In the dystopian world in which Bird Box takes place, there are monsters that immediately cause anyone who looks at them to want to commit suicide. Well… almost everybody.
One of the major problems with the film was the villainization of people with mental health issues, which of course is nothing new in Hollywood (from horror movies like Psycho to TV shows like Hannibal mental health is something that Hollywood has consistently portrayed in a negative light), but still disturbing. Instead of killing themselves after seeing the creatures, like all of the “normal” characters in the film do, those with mental health issues become obsessed with making those who haven’t seen the creatures look at them. This, of course, causes said “normal” people to kill themselves.
The film doesn’t even beat around the bush about those with mental health issues being the only ones who can see the monsters and survive; at one point it is stated that people who were living at a psychiatric hospital and had seen the creatures became entirely focused on forcing others to look at the creatures by forcing their eyes open.
This plot line made those in the film who suffer from mental illness help the monsters of the movie carry out the plan to kill all of humanity. While I don’t think that the creators of Bird Box intended to create a film that villainized mental health and sensationalized suicide, there is a certain lack of awareness that made the film hard to watch.
“Bird Box had an intriguing plot and storyline, but it was kind of unsettling to me that they essentially villainized people with mental health issues,” senior, Sally Richardson, said.
Along with the general lack of grace surrounding the topic of mental health, the film had little to no character development and a so-so script. Most of the characters weren’t developed enough for any of their actions to make sense. And there were some points where the dialogue seemed awkward and forced.
The final issue with the film was the talent not being used to their full potential.
Sarah Paulson, who played Malorie’s sister, Jessica, had only one defining quality: horses. Like she was really into horses; almost all of her lines had something to do with horses. And for me there were one too many horse. And by one too many, I mean there was more than one.
And I know that I’m upset about a part of the film that took up maybe less than five minutes, but Sarah Paulson, who, mind you, has won a Golden Globe and an Emmy and has been nominated for both of these awards numerous times, played a character who exclusively talked about horses. The whole thing just seemed like wasted potential.
“I think that Sarah Paulson was pretty good in American Horror Story, so it was super weird that her character in this film was exclusively defined by horses,” senior, Jaylynn Buesgens, said.
While I had issues with parts of the film, overall, I found it pretty enjoyable. It was suspenseful and gory, with an interesting dynamic between all of the characters.
So, while I generally enjoyed Bird Box, it’s the kind of movie that if it were playing in theatres, I would recommend that you just wait until it came out in Redbox instead of spending money on a movie ticket to go see it on the big screen. I would rate Bird Box a 7/10.