Bird Box (2018): 5 out of 10: Sandra Bullock stars as a recently pregnant woman who, with her sister, finds herself in a worldwide catastrophe. Apparently, seeing something invisible causes most people to become suicidal and a few to become homicidal. So it’s blindfolds for everyone for the rest of the movie.
The Good: I like Sandra Bullock, Heck everyone likes Sandra Bullock. She could do almost anything and people would still like her. (Cough marry an actual Nazi cough) I want to like this movie. There are some good bits in the film. The film is very well made and shot. The first half an hour of the film is very gripping and exciting. As with the Dawn of the Dead remake that opening bit carries a lot of goodwill throughout the rest of the movie. Unfortunately, like with most dinner parties, as soon as John Malkovich shows up things start to go downhill.
The Bad: This is not John Malkovich’s fault mind you. He is fine. He is, of course, playing a version of himself. As an example, it is his character that wants to know why they just don’t stay in a grocery store. This is supposed to make him the bad guy mind you, for some reason, but let’s get real. In the event of some sort of apocalypse, your local Costco or Walmart are awfully good choices. Easy to defend, endless food supply and heck Walmart has shotguns and ammo. Malkovich is playing that most frustrating of characters, the bad guy that is clearly right.
The latter scenes with Bullock and the children doing blindfolded canoeing simply seemed unbelievable to me. I am just not buying it. That was, in essence, the problem. The movie failed to get me to buy into the against all odd scenario and wasn’t otherwise entertaining enough that I didn’t care.
The Ugly: This movie is supposed to be an allegory about Bullock’s character being accidentally pregnant. Now for starters, Bullock is a strange choice to play this character. It is a bit unbelievable she wouldn’t be at least a bit maternal and it is a bit more than unbelievable she could become accidentally pregnant. The allegory is there somewhere but it never really coalesces.
And without the allegory working and with an oh come on second half you are left with a remake of that notorious 2008 Mark Wahlberg bomb The Happening. Now I confess I have never actually seen The Happening and I admit I am curious how it compares to this movie. I am a sucker for unknown force causes people to kill themselves and/or others films. Whether it is the excellent 28 Days Later or the considerably less excellent Steven King’s Maximum Overdrive I am there with popcorn in hand. This film seemed to be on the right track but it drifted horribly off course.
In conclusion: It is a well-made film. Unfortunately, it is a well-made film about a woman wearing a blindfold hiding from leaves blown in the wind. I can’t help but think if they went a more Lovecraftian route with the horror they would have been better off. To see such horror will drive most men mad so avert your eyes is a lot more appealing than that grass nearby is swaying in the breeze so the invisible whatever is nearby. My wife liked the film more than I did and I have a feeling some people will buy in hook line and sinker. I, unfortunately, was not one of them.