I’d intended to watch Bird Box because I love
Sandra Bullock, but I hadn’t immediately jumped at it. And then people started to cite it
as one of the scariest films ever, and for me that’s like waving a red flag in front
of a bull. It takes a lot to scare me, so I suddenly found myself very keen to rush
to this one. So the premise of the plot for Bird Box, without
any spoilers, is not the most unique. At first, I thought it sounded quite like Shyamalan’s
the Happening, which is a film I did actually like, but Susanne Bier’s Bird Box is quite
a bit different! Something is causing people to commit suicide, so Malorie – our Sandra
Bullock character – has to take her two children up the river to safety. And they’re not allowed
to take off their blindfolds. This film surprised me from the beginning.
It starts off very intense with Malorie talking to her children with what feels like no compassion,
but there’s an obvious desperation in her voice. The HAVE to get to safety. And then
we’re suddenly five years prior to that, and instantly it’s obvious that this strange presence
causing the suicides has been going on for years. There’s a lot of running. It’s quite
graphic. It’ll make you flinch. Nobody is safe. Back in the present, they need to flee up
the river to safety. When we’re on the river, in the best way possible, there’s a lot of
vast nothingness in this. When they’re back in the house, there’s so much uncertainty.
We KNOW she gets out, but what happens to the others? It’s very rare that intertwining
analepsis and prolepsis like this is done well, but it’s incredible. It works. It absolutely
works as a narrative device here. I’m not sure if I’m alone with this thought,
but I didn’t really find myself caring about any of the characters in the house. Part of
me didn’t really care about Malorie either; I was less concerned for the characters’ safety
and more desperate to know if and how they would survive this. I was, however, fascinated
by the way in which Malorie treated her children. She didn’t feel motherly, but stern and harsh,
but it was necessary. Obviously I thought Bullock gave a stellar performance. When we consider the fear factor, I don’t
think I was ever scared. I was intrigued, curious, but never fearing for my own safety.
I did love how graphic and detailed it was though. There were so many cadavers. The suicides
were often very detailed and not something everybody would be able to cope with, particularly
if you’re quite new to thrillers. The use of silence betwixt screaming and chaos
was wonderful. The pace of development, the rate at which we meet and lose characters
was incredibly effective. The emotions expressed felt real and raw, which is quite rare for
a survival film. Bird Box was not in the slightest what I’d expected to be. I’m confident that
Bird Box was so much more than I had ever imagined, and it’s an essential watch.