One of the most talked about films since its release on Netflix has been ‘Bird Box’. The Netflix feature also started a dangerous trend on social media, prompting YouTube to implement a blanket ban on the challenge. Sandra Bullock and her blindfold have been the subject of intense ridicule by the netizens. All things considered, the film’s record viewership on the streaming platform proves its popularity.
Based on the 2014 Josh Malerman novel of the same name, ‘Bird Box’ is helmed by acclaimed Danish filmmaker Susanne Bier. Her notable works are the Academy Award-winning ‘In a Better World’, ‘After the Wedding’, and the TV series, ‘The Night Manager’. Bier is notorious for not conforming to traditional standards and methods of editing and visual style. ‘Bird Box’ exudes and carries Bier-trademark in an unnerving fashion. The post-apocalyptic thriller is steeped in ancient mythology and revolves around the emergence of invisible monsters, who illicit violent suicides of its spectators. So essentially, if you see them, you die. Ring a bell? “If they hear you, you die”. ‘Bird Box’ forms a part of a series of experimental and successful movies released in 2018. But while its analogical partner, ‘A Quiet Place’, fashioned its intriguing premise into a unique, original, and riveting cinematic experience, ‘Bird Box’ failed the litmus test, at least in my opinion.
The film is unnecessarily long and needlessly treads along its formulaic past timeline, revisiting it far too often. The back and forth take the legs out of the present timeline, which surely has more promise and is far more immersive. For those who haven’t read the book, including me, the river charge proved to be an unfamiliar challenge that kept us engaged with the film. There were certain elements of the story which were left ambiguous and remain open to interpretation. How can we let go of an opportunity like that? So here’s an explanation of the entire movie: the plot, thematic undertones, the ending, and yes, the monsters. Happy reading!
‘Bird Box’ starts on a frantic note. We see a woman, later identified as Malorie, hurriedly relaying instructions to a boy and a girl. They are simple to understand but difficult to follow: “Don’t open your eyes”. The uncompromising nature of the orders is really rattling. The trio put on blindfolds and begin their voyage on the river. The narrative makes a jump in time, and we go back five years to a normal city. A heavily pregnant Malorie is staying with her sister, Jessica, in her apartment. On a routine visit to the hospital, the duo hears of news of eruption of violence that quickly escalates. As they make their way to the car, they see a woman banging her head against a window glass-pane, in an attempt to kill herself. The odd behavior startles onlookers, who rush to safety. Malorie and Jessica drive through an ocean of stranded cars and panicking pedestrians, and when the latter sees something ahead of her, loses control of the car and tumbles over. As Malorie recovers, she sees Jessica jump in front of a speeding truck.
Tom eventually rescues Malorie after wandering deliriously through the crowds. They camp with other survivors in the house of Douglas, a cantankerous, wealthy lawyer, who disapproves of Malorie and other new additions to his house. After normalizing, the group decides to blindfold all windows of the house, corollary to their conclusion that the monsters are supernatural and incites, whoever sees them, to murder themselves. They wait out days in the house, in the process forming close bonds with some of the occupants. Olympia, one of the persons taken in, allows a suspicious man, Gary, into the house. Despite protests from Douglas, the group decides to keep Gary in the house. Malorie and Olympia, both pregnant, take vows to protect each other’s kids in case something happens to them.