REVIEW: Bird Box

Hannah Parker reviews the latest Netflix thriller, Bird Box that uses sight as the enemy.

The successful thriller, A Quiet Place – released earlier this year – starring Emily Blunt used sound as the enemy. Well, actually the enemy was some creatures that looked VERY similar to the demogorgons in Stranger Things. But they tracked their prey using sound, so to survive you had to live a silent life.

Bird Box takes this idea, but uses sight as the enemy. Again, the actual “monsters” (which we never see, and take the form of something else depending on who the victim is) use a person’s sight as the way to trap people. Once trapped, the person dies by suicide. The mass suicides begin in Europe, but the film is set in America and this post-apocalyptic world soon travels to the States.

Sandra Bullock is known to play badass characters, and always seems to fit at least one fight scene into every film she’s involved in. This particular film is no different, and she once again shows that women can play heroic lead characters just as well – if not better – than men.

Trevante Rhodes plays Tom, the heroic alpha-male of the group. It’s refreshing in a thriller movie where most characters die to see the black person play a main character, and not be used just to kill off in the first ten minutes (something The Walking Dead became famous for doing). He also plays the role in a way that encompasses kindness and a gentle sensitivity. The usual stereotypical way in which this character is played tends to be purely masculine, so it feels like a breath of fresh air.

“It’s refreshing in a thriller movie where most characters die to see the black person play a main character, and not be used just to kill off in the first ten minutes”

Netflix hasn’t got the best reputation with films, but it has to be said they’ve done well with this one. The story is addictive, mysterious, and keeps you interested all the way through. You also feel invested in enough of the characters to keep it relatable right until the very end.

As you’d imagine with a movie that relies on NOT using sight, a blind community is important to the story-line. However, this isn’t brought into the story until towards the end of the film, which is a true shame. Hollywood isn’t a welcoming place for blind and visually impaired people, so a film that almost relies on this disability would be expected to have blind people at its core. It’s the only true disappointment of the film.

All in all, the movie keeps you guessing as any successful thriller should. It keeps you glued to the screen as any successful movie of any genre should. And enough of the characters are played well for you to stay emotionally invested throughout. If Netflix carries on this path, they may finally be looking at a future where they match up to cinema releases. Although with Disney’s new streaming service on the horizon, the pressure may get turned up even more.

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