Sandra Bullock’s latest movie Bird Box is the tensest thing we’ve seem since A Quiet Place.
Director Susanne Bier’s Netflix thriller cuts right to the action. We’ve only briefly met Sandra Bullock’s Malorie and her sister Jessica (Sarah Paulson) when Jessica is brutally killed off. First, Jessica attempts to kill the both of them in a car accident, and when that doesn’t work, she steps in front of a truck, throwing a horrified look at her pregnant sister Malorie before being crushed to death.
Malorie has no time to mourn her sister. There is chaos all around as a suicide-inducing entity emerges, causing anyone who sees it to take their own lives. It is only thanks to the kindness of a stranger, who welcomes her into a safe house moments before climbing into a burning car, that Malorie is able to survive the day. Here, Malorie must wait out the end of the world with a group of strangers who are equally as shocked and confused as she is.
What is fantastic about Bird Box is that the end of the world is not the bit that’s terrifying. What gets under your skin is what life is like for those who survive. Sure, they made it off the streets and into the safety of the indoors, but they then face the prospect of starving. To get enough supplies, they must venture blindly back out into the world, fighting to avoid the entity. They succeed the first time, but when two survivors run off with the car, they have no idea what to do next.
The next problem they encounter is deranged survivors who refuse to wear blindfolds to protect themselves from the entity. It seems that mentally unstable people are not affected by the entity, and instead find it beautiful. They want everyone to see it too and force the blindfolded survivors to open their eyes, leading them immediately to end their lives. When one of these crazed survivors is invited to the house, it becomes clear that there will never be a moment of rest for Malorie and her newborn son and adopted daughter – both of whom she refuses to name.
From then on, there’s non-stop violence and unrest. We see Malorie and her children escaping down the river to reach a community of survivors. There are multiple moments where we tensely wait to see whether they all manage to make it, and against all odds they reach their destination.
The movie ends in the only way it could. There are no answers, and there is no new and improved world. The entity remains at large, and we still don’t understand exactly what it is or how it can be fought.
Nonetheless, when the three unlikely survivors stumble across the safe house and read the reassuring words “School for the Blind,” they finally find their hope.
To commemorate the opportunity for life after survival, Malorie at last names her children in a touching and beautiful moment of triumph.
Bird Box is a violent and horrifying thriller which throws the viewer into a world where it seems the only thing left to do is survive.