Caitlin McFarlane | Wed, 16 Jan 2019
Have you ever woken up during the night and thought there was someone in the room with you, and the only rational thing you could think of was to close your eyes as tight as possible? If you can’t see them – well then, it means they can’t see you. The movie ‘Bird Box’ is the reality of this fear. The movie has a post-apocalyptic sense which takes the form of an inability to look at the danger and personal self-destruction: one look at the movie’s invisible monster is enough to lead you to your demise. However, it is not your average end-of-the-world story; like many others, the story starts off in the present day with the main characters beginning a journey. The journey in ‘Bird Box’ is a trip along the river to a mysterious sanctuary. Throughout the movie there are a series of flashbacks that depict the beginning of this apocalyptic story, and the movie reaches the present point one flashback after the other. At first, it is confusing as you are thrown into the middle of the action with no explanation of what this mysterious destructive power is. We follow the path of the main character, Malorie, played by Sandra Bullock, a soon to be mother who is struggling with her future of motherhood. Going back and forth between her final days of pregnancy and her present self in the future – a mother who has two children but does not accept them as her own – adds a sense of vulnerability to the story. This narrative gives a human and emotional touch to the hopelessness of the narrative.
Prior to its release, the movie was compared to ‘A Quiet Place’ as the protagonists in both movies are characterised by their inability to use one of their main senses. However, this is the only thing that is similar. Unlike ‘A Quiet Place’, that follows the story of one family, ‘Bird Box’ follows the fate of multiple people, especially during the first half of the movie. I personally think that the multiple characters in the flashbacks add more drama to the story than there needs to be, with some characters being completely irrelevant. Another difference between the movies is that the monster in ‘Bird Box’ is never seen whereas in ‘A Quiet Place’ it is a full-blown angry monster that has no issue with being seen and spreading fear. There is something about the invisible monster in this movie that suggests that it is all psychological as each individual sees something different and personal that terrifies them to death. The monsters become the personification of people’s worst fears or regrets, ultimately leading them to commit the irreparable.
This psychological thriller’s complex storyline is one that will leave you confused about what you have watched. This said, I would argue that this movie is not for everyone, as it deals with delicate topics such as suicide and death, and might thus come across as inappropriate for some people. The Lovecraftian mystery of the monster’s nature gives the movie a sense of anxiety and incertitude. Overall, as much as this movie came to be the source of great memes on social media, it is one that needs your full attention while watching it in order to get a grasp on what it is all about as it is a confusing and disconcerting movie.