After Netflix released its feature film, Bird Box, at the end of 2018, blindfolded Sandra Bullock memes and videos of the Bird Box challenge flooded social media. Durham College students who have not have seen the movie may be asking why?
The post-apocalyptic thriller directed by Academy Award-winning Susanne Bier is based on the 2014 novel by first-time author, Josh Malerman.
In addition to Bullock, the film includes a cast of well-known names such as Sarah Paulson (Ocean’s 8), John Malkovich (Being John Malkovich) and Danielle MacDonald (Dumplin’). Together, they create a strong and harmonious cast.
The acting is well done. Each individual actor fully commits to their role and collectively convinces the audience to continue to watch.
Bullock plays the main character, Malorie, a pessimistic artist who describes her pregnancy as a “condition” and is not able to connect with her children.
Paulson makes a brief appearance as Jessica, Malorie’s sister. She is one of the first characters to witness the demonic ghost-like entity, that if seen, lures people to their own demise.
Off the top, the film appears to be a supernatural survival story but at its depth, BirdBox is one woman’s journey to motherhood.
The film is set five years after the entity, described on news reports as incidents of mass psychotic behaviour, surfaces.
If anyone sees the entity, it takes on the form of their worst fears or greatest loss and lures them to commit suicide with death tolls in the tens of thousands. No one knows what the creature looks like or where it came from, they are only aware of the damage it creates.
As the story progresses, the people who survive the entity are shown as prisoners in their own homes. To stay safe, they avoid contact and ultimately, death. If they do venture outside to find food or other resources, they must wear a blindfold to ensure they don’t see the demon.
The present time scenes show Malorie with her two children attempting a two-day journey to reach a safe haven, which involves facing dangerous rapids. A box with birds in it travel with the trio. The birds chirp wildly when the entity is close by – similar to an alarm system.
Malorie’s cold attitude towards motherhood is evident when the two children are introduced. She refers to them as boy and girl.
When they reach sanctuary at end of the movie, she finally accepts her duty as their mother and introduces the two children as Olympia and Tom.
The cinematography is excellent. Panning shots of the dark and dreary lake that must be travelled to safety sets an eerie, end of the world tone for the entire film.
As with any horror film, scenes are graphic. There is a scene with a woman smashing her head against a glass window, which was extremely disturbing to watch. Rules of advice? Don’t watch the movie before bed.
In short, watching this movie is similar to watching a train-wreck. You know there is only devastation ahead, but you can’t take your eyes off of the screen.
Final thoughts? We may need a sequel to answer the many unanswered questions about what happens after Malorie and her children reach sanctuary.
For now, memes and videos of the Bird Box challenge will keep fans entertained.