Netflix took a giant leap of faith when they released Bird Box last Christmas season. It’s highly unlikely for people to choose horror over sappy Christmas movies starring long-lost twins and royal families, but alas, the power of Sandra Bullock trumped all previously held assumptions.
Bird Box’s monster is unlike anything you’ve seen, because well, you really can’t see it. It’s a mysterious invisible figure that drives who sees them to death. Malorie, along with two children aptly called Boy and Girl, tries to escape these monsters on the way to a sanctuary.
While it doesn’t have the most unique plot, the movie also gets a lot of unfair comparisons. “It’s like A Quiet Place starring a Michael Jackson lookalike,” they say. First of all, how dare you. Second of all, while it may be true to some degree, Bird Box is not as effective as the film it was being compared to. Horror movies almost always share the same plot (i.e. “don’t go there or else you will die”), but it’s the feeling of terror that audiences look for. Bird Box’s scenes mostly happen in daylight, taking away the thrill that these types of films are known for.
Horror movies are scary because we can see the monsters that are haunting the characters. It’s tough to imagine what they’re scared of if we only see their reactions. We love the spooks; that’s why we’re watching horror movies. We want to get scared so bad that we lose sleep over it. Right now, the only thing scary is our future with authoritarian leaders. (Maybe that’s what they’re seeing.)
The film’s success can be attributed to two things: great timing and — let’s be honest here — the memes. It was worth watching just to understand that bathtub video with the mom and the two kids and to create great Bird Box content. But for the love of Malorie, please don’t do the Bird Box challenge. Don’t cross the street or play with knives blindfolded. This film is not worth dying for. — Maine Manalansan