I never thought I would ever say “It is like The Happening,” and mean that in a good way, but here we are. Bird box, starring Sandra Bullock, is about an epidemic that causes people to kill themselves. Sound familiar? Except for this time, the concept works.
It isn’t the plants killing people, there are actual creatures, and when you see them, you go insane. It is a much scarier concept than rebelling plant life and rustling wind. But what ramps up the horror is a human aspect that I do not want to spoil. All I will say is that the creatures are not the only thing people have to fear.
Birdbox is a solid horror flick. It manages to accomplish what so many modern horror movies fails to do, which is make characters I get invested in. This is partly because it has a talented cast, including not only Bullock but also John Malkovich, Lil Rey Howrey (Of Get Out fame) and even some smaller roles for actors like Sarah Paulson. If I don’t care about the characters, there is no reason for there to be tension because I am not worried if they live or die or not. But because director Susanne Bier managed to get us to be invested in these characters, by making them fleshed out, and well-acted characters, there is constant tension.
The atmosphere is slid as well, and there are constant stakes and the movie never feels like it is dragging. I do not have a problem with the creatures never actually being shown because the presence they have on the movie is still strong. There is one scene, in particular, that is in the trailer that cleverly uses the motion sensor in a car to show the movement of the creature in a very tense scene
It does not hold back on really delivering gut punches, with some brutal deaths right from the start. Something about having people take their own lives, as opposed to being brutalized by some Slasher, is so horrifying to watch.
The cinematography is pretty decent and they do use some clever camera tricks to maximize certain scenes.
In the end, the movie is truly carried by Bullock. I am not always a fan of her, but she is amazing in this film at least.
I do have some complaints though. For one, the fact that just being inside seems to be protection enough from the creatures. It doesn’t hold back the action as there is always reason enough to still have action, but it is a little bit bothersome that these creatures are incapable of getting past a door.
I am also not a fan of the ending. Again, I don’t want to spoil anything too much, but they pull that BS of, oh look, it is this random character from earlier, they are alive as well, what are the chances? I have never been a fan of happy endings in horror. At best it should be bittersweet.
But it is a solid film, and I enjoyed watching it. I was not familiar with this director before, but I will pay attention to her name going forward. It is also a book, and I will probably go check out the bok as well to see how the film stacks up to it.