Raking in over 26 million streams in its first week, the Netflix original film, Birdbox, took the internet by storm. While endless memes filled social media just a few days after the film was released on December 13th, the movie as a whole was well received. People found many plot-holes and problems with the thriller throughout the movie. I think with the star quality of Sandra Bullock and the interesting new take on horror, the good does outweigh the bad in this movie.
Set in a post-apocalyptic scene with a mash-up of people stuck together to survive, it took on the look of any other disaster movie. The only difference here is the creature you face is not visible to the eye, but is instead a presence. I thought this was an interesting idea, setting it apart from any other thriller movies.
Throughout the movie you’re introduced to the “disease” that’s taken over the world. Basically, this presence in the air takes you over and makes you kill yourself, no matter how painful or hard it will be. Survivors find out the only way to go outside and actually cover your eyes with a blindfold. For me this doesn’t really add up because for something that’s not visible, how is no sight the only way to survive? This idea was psychologically tolling and it was hard to watch people step in front of cars, bang their head against walls and sit down in burning cars. Again this was a unique approach to a horror film and kept me holding onto the movie despite other things.
The movie opens with Malorie, the main character, as well as two kids, Boy and Girl. They’re floating down the river in a rickety canoe with blindfolds on. I really didn’t like this opening because when it flashes back to five years earlier, it shows you from the beginning that only those three characters will survive. Of everyone and their stories that you get emotionally attached to you know they’ll all die. The only thing you wait for at that point is to see how they died. It takes away from the suspense that would normally be present because you start off knowing the gist of what happens to everyone.
The storyline follows Malorie, a pregnant painter, who only has her sister to lean on. She feels no connection to the baby and it’s even a struggle for her to envision having a baby at the ultrasound appointment. I don’t really know of a character done like this before; I think it helps to make more connections throughout the movie and makes a unique personality to build off of. This leads to her naming her baby and the other woman’s baby, Boy and Girl, which just seems like a whole new level of messed up. An intriguing concept to introduce characters with basically no name, but I don’t see the point of it and it really doesn’t add anything to the story or reveal more about the character other than she isn’t even connected enough to name them.
There were just a few things in the movie that were too unrealistic. First off, they had electricity and running water through most of the movie which spans about five years. With basically the entire population wiped out and the few remaining barely holding onto survival, there’s no one maintaining the power lines and water systems. There’s just no way they would still be able to use the lights and sinks in the house after that long. Another thing, there’s no pets except the birds shown throughout the movie, yeah it’s a movie, but pets play such a huge role in many people’s lives they could’ve shown what happened to them. In one scene, the group travels to a supermarket to get more food and supplies, this is where the idea of “bird box” comes into play. Even after quite a few days, the birds are still alive, but with no one to feed them this isn’t even possible. The birds are just relevant because they can detect when the suicidal presence is around. A few other things in the supermarket scene were that they found walkie-talkies. This was a small gas-station like shop focused solely on food and drinks, realistically it wouldn’t make sense for them to sell those, but whatever helps them survive goes I guess. Lastly, in the aisles Malorie and the dominant male character, Tom, share a love connection. I mean come on, who starts to fall in love while getting supplies to fight for you life, but it is entertainment and it’s what they need to pull viewers in more.
Overall, looking at this from an entertainment view I enjoyed the movie, but from an analytical point the plot had a lot of holes and very unrealistic things in it that made it way worse than it could’ve been. The beginning just really gets me, right off the bat you know who will live and who won’t, which brings down the film’s potential a lot. I think the memes that filled social media in the weeks to follow the release hyped it up too much and were probably the best thing to come from this.