Starring Sandra Bullock, Trevante Rhodes, John Malkovich, Sarah Paulson, Lil Rel Howery, Jacki Weaver, Rosa Salazar, Tom Hollander, Machine Gun Kelly, BD Wong and Parminder Nagra
Written by Eric Heisserer
Directed by Susanne Bier
In order to survive the apocalypse, the rules have to change, but the essence of parental love doesn’t.
Sandra Bullock plays Malorie, a woman who starts the movie four months pregnant. With the exception of her sister, played by the always watchable Sarah Paulson, and her Doctor, Malorie is not excited about the continuation of her pregnancy or the impending birth of her child. When a global event begins causing people to kill themselves, Malorie finds herself and her sister on the run from the death and destruction all around them.
After Malorie’s sister kills herself after wrecking her car, Malorie is pulled into a house where a small group of survivors try to ride out the apocalypse. Included in the group is alcoholic lawyer Douglas (John Malkovich) and ex-soldier Tom (Trevante Rhodes). Malkovich is great as Douglas and his animosity towards Malorie is understandable considering his wife sacrificed herself to save the stranger. There isn’t much character development for Douglas though because their escalating conflict never has a satisfactory resolution.
The film transitions through three different time periods. The immediate aftermath of the event and the survivors trying to get along and live with each other as the creature that is causing people to kill themselves continues to stalk them. It’s a continued threat that culminates in the entity using others who want to see it to prey on those that don’t.
The next time period is five years later with Malorie living with Tom and the two kids named only Boy and Girl. They forage for supplies and survive together as a family, but the threat of the creature and its minions remains. When they receive a signal telling them that there is a sanctuary down the river where they can be safe, Malorie is skeptical and conflict between she and Tom starts to grow. The dynamic between Malorie and Tom works really well and Bullock and Rhodes give amazing performances.
The final period is Malorie on the river with Boy and Girl. Their journey is harrowing because they are blindfolded the entire time in a boat at the mercy of the rapids and the servants of the entity who are trying to force them to see. The only warning they have is a box of birds that signal danger.
The movie is tense and emotional with moments of both triumph and tragedy. While the tension in the film is well done, the ending was flat. It wasn’t a bad ending, but it opened up more questions than answers. There are definite parallels in tone to the big screen hit A Quiet Place, but Bird Box does stand on its own as a suspenseful thriller. Definitely a watchable and interesting film.