It’s easy to draw comparisons between Bird Box and one of this years biggest hits, A Quiet Place. As Malorie (Sandra Bullock), guides two young children towards a boat, all three of them blindfolded and terrified of the consequences should they remove them, the similarities with the post apocalyptic themes of A Quiet Place are clear. In that movie, you couldn’t make a sound for fear of drawing the attentions of the ominous killers, while in this one you’re unable to use your eyes to look at the world around you.
But Bird Box does what AQP didn’t, by going back in time 5 years to see how the apocalypse all came about. A pregnant Malorie is visiting the hospital for a scan, along with sister Jessica (Sarah Paulson), while news reports detail events unfolding throughout the world. Something is causing thousands of people to suddenly commit suicide, and it has found its way to American shores. As Malorie and Jessica leave the hospital, everything around them descends into panic, chaos and destruction. Cars crash, people throw themselves in front of oncoming cars and thousands of others are running to escape from who knows what. As her sister meets an untimely death, the heavily pregnant Malorie is helped into a nearby house where a large number of people have already found refuge.
We manage to catch our breath for a short while, while the survivors piece together what has happened, offering their theories. As one of them explains – “Humanity has been judged and we’ve been found wanting. They go by different names. You got world religion and mythology that’s full of mentions of demons or spirit creatures. People who’ve seen these creatures almost always describe their encounter as with an entity who takes on the form of your worst fears, your deepest sadness or your greatest loss. It’s not bullshit. It’s real talk, it’s facts.”
Life continues in the house for a while, with all the windows covered to prevent anyone from seeing something that might lead to their death. There’s a tense trip to the supermarket for supplies, driving a car with blacked out windows and only a satnav to guide them, along with various dramas between the group. Every so often, we rejoin the future timeline, as Malorie and the children (referred to only as boy and girl) make their way along the river.
Bird Box is more of a slow burn than A Quiet Place, and we never actually see what is responsible for causing the suicides either, but I still found much to enjoy with it. And as we become fully immersed in the present timeline, following the blindfolded journey, things build to a tense and satisfying climax.