Has Netflix saved its most controversial offering until last in 2018?
The streaming platform’s latest original thriller Bird Box is proving to be one of the most talked about films this year.
Social media is going into meltdown, with users flooding Twitter with GIFs, photos and videos to sum up their reactions to its mysterious narrative.
Even the scare master, horror author Stephen King, said he was “riveted” by the film released on Friday, which is somewhat similar to how fans of A Quiet Place reacted earlier this year.
Based on the 2014 novel by Josh Malerman and directed by Danish filmmaker Susanne Bier, Bird Box stars Sandra Bullock as Malorie, who is confronted by a global threat causing mass suicides.
And here’s the catch: The only way to protect yourself from it is to take precautions to ensure you don’t see the threat, like putting on a blindfold.
The most chilling aspect to the film is this evil force can’t be seen, requiring the audience to imagine it for themselves.
At no point is the nature of this threat completely revealed to the viewer.
Bier’s use of sound and dialogue attempt to “reveal” the evil without actually showing it, with terrifying gore-filled scenes that follow.
Whatever the evil is, the film received high praise from King, who urged viewers to watch the film and not to believe the “lukewarm reviews”.
I was absolutely riveted by BIRD BOX (Netflix). Don’t believe the lukewarm reviews, which may in part have been caused by reviewers’ ambivalence to the streaming platform, as opposed to theatrical releases.
— Stephen King (@StephenKing) December 20, 2018
Bullock’s outstanding performance of Malorie is another thing that has got people talking.
The narrative then cuts between Malorie now, on the river, and her past, at the start of the apocalyptic event.
Sandra Bullock has:
– 47 acting credits.
– 14 producing credits.
– Her own production company.
– An oscar.
– Two children.
– And way too many philanthropic endeavors to list.
Triple threat doesn’t even scratch the surface. pic.twitter.com/Azu37NNpVf
— Netflix Film (@NetflixFilm) December 21, 2018
After her sister Jessica (Sarah Paulson) is affected by the mysterious force and crashes her car, Malorie soon finds herself in a random house with a diverse group of people including characters played by Douglas (John Malkovich), Tom (Trevante Rhodes), Cheryl (Jacki Weaver) and Olympia (Danielle Macdonald) who must stick together to stay alive.
The film has sparked mixed reviews since its release, with some critics such as Empire’s Linda Marric saying Bier did an “impressive job in offering the apocalypse as a deeply traumatic, claustrophobic and utterly hopeless experience”.
Another critic Rene Sanchez wrote: “Sandra Bullock shines in this effective and thrilling post-apocalyptic story about motherhood, survival and sacrifice”.
But it all wasn’t met with positive criticism with Los Angeles Times critic Justin Chang saying: “You’ve seen this all many times before, which doesn’t mean you’ll mind seeing it again”.
Critic Rohan Naahar wrote: “For all its taut thrills and ambitious ideas, Bird Box traps itself into the same cage that ensnared other high-concept sci-fi thrillers such as the forgotten Nicolas Cage movie, Knowing, and even the recent Alex Garland film, Annihilation”.