Bird Box Review

Directed by: Susanne Bier
Cast: Sandra Bullock, Sarah Paulson, John Malkovich, Trevante Rhodes, B. D. Wong, Tom Hollander, Danielle Macdonald
Based on the novel by Josh Malerman
Runtime: 2hrs 4min Rated: R

Netflix’s latest thriller/horror movie, Bird Box has gotten a lot of attention over the last week. Most likely if you haven’t seen it yourself, you’ve at least heard something about it. According to Netflix’s twitter page, the film has been watched by over 45 million user accounts in the first 7 days of its release.

The film has also sparked a fury of viral social media memes, the most infamous dubbed the “bird box lady.” Apparently there are a number of younger viewers who do not know who Sandra Bullock is and have referred to her as the “bird box lady.” Naturally this angered many people and has even caused websites to post hilarious articles educating the uniformed on Bullock’s true star power.

Bird Box is set in a post apocalyptic world where unknown creatures have taken control of the planet with the ability to cause anyone who looks at them to see their worst fear and then immediately commit suicide. The name of the movie comes from the characters discovering that birds become agitated when the creatures are near, so they keep them nearby to act as an early warning system. It is never fully explained how this works or what the exact nature of the creatures are: aliens, demons, etc, but all of that doesn’t really matter.

Like many of these types of stories, the emphasis is less about the creatures themselves and more about the various character studies. The movie explores several meaningful themes such as: the definition of motherhood, the extremes a mother will go through to ensure her children’s survival, as well as how various individuals react to extreme life or death situations.

Bird Box’s similarities to other films hinders it from hitting its mark.

I love when movies have those extra layers of depth to their story; it makes for interesting discussions and often times allows filmmakers to take a familiar genre and give us an unfamiliar angle that feels new. However, while Bird Box is a captivating movie in its own right, it fails to reach anywhere near groundbreaking. The The story immediately reminded me of a cinema “cocktail” of various movie plots, a spoonful of The Happening, a dash of The Road. At one point I was even reminded of a particular season of The Walking Dead. However the most glaring similarities can be made to the 2018 John Krasinki film A Quiet Place.

To be fair, it is important to know that Bird Box is based on the 2014 novel of the same name and therefore actually predates 2018’s A Quiet Place, which to my knowledge only exists in movie form. I would be willing to bet that after the success of Krasinki’s movie, Netflix as well as other studios have been on the lookout for similar stories to adapt into their own films.

Having similar themes isn’t necessarily a bad thing as movies today are almost always a variation of something that’s already come before. The problem here is that Bird Box is too similar and not executed as well.

Both Bird Box and A Quiet Place are about invading creatures who’s primary strategy for human extinction involves essentially taking away one of our senses. Both movies use their end of the world narrative to say something about the importance of family. The difference is despite Sandra Bullock’s outstanding performance with Bird Box, especially in the last act, A Quiet Place had more of an emotional impact for me. I do think it’s possible that A Quiet Place resonated more with me as a man as it focuses more on a father whereas Bird Box focuses on a mother. I did see some of my friends who are moms post on social media that Bird Box struck them for that very reason. However I still feel that with A Quiet Place, the cinematography, the use of the creatures, how the family adapts, as well as the overall emotional narrative is just better executed.

I think what will ultimately be the line in the sand as to how much you enjoy this movie is what you’ve seen or read first. If you haven’t seen any of the previous mentioned films, Bird Box will probably blow your mind and you won’t understand why there is anyone who doesn’t think it was superb. However, if you have seen the others (especially A Quiet Place) then you’ll most likely feel as I did: less like you’re treading through unexplored territory and something more similar to a well traveled path. Maybe that isn’t fair but it’s inevitable; there are too many similarities with films that have come before it.

I’m curious to know how in depth the book goes, because another problem I had is the film changes the creatures’ tactics halfway through, but never explains why. The creatures don’t have any type of physical form. They can’t go inside or seem to be able to physically hurt people themselves. Without spoiling, there are some individuals you meet halfway through the movie, and you never get anything more than these people exist and are roaming around. It just ends up feeling forced and that their only purpose is to create some type of physical danger to motivate the characters to leave the house in order to drive the story on to its conclusion.

What I liked.

Sandra Bullock is without a doubt the best thing about Bird Box. If this film had someone else in the role I don’t think it would have gained as much popularity as it has. You rarely see her in these types of thrillers that border on horror and it’s a shame because she’s excellent in them. She’s excellent in everything, honestly. Her best moments here revolve around her interactions with the children and the arc she has during their river trip as she thinks back on past events.

The rest of the cast is also a higher caliber than I would expect for a Netflix movie with some bigger names attached including Sarah Paulson, John Malcovich and B.D. Wong. The performances were overall great, but individuals do make the typical horror movie mistakes and I found myself saying out loud repeatedly: “You should have listened to John Malcovich!”

Even though I bashed the story earlier compared to A Quiet Place, by itself it’s still an entertaining movie and I enjoyed the way it was told through the two different timelines: the start of the “invasion” being told through flashbacks while the present shows Bullock and her two kids floating down a river blind folded. Their background and where they are trying to get to is slowly revealed through the flashbacks. From what I understand, this is how the book reads as well.

Final Verdict

Bird Box is carried by the talent of Sandra Bullock and is a decent movie. I wish it could be enjoyed in a bubble, however due to previous films it is hindered by feeling almost entirely unoriginal. The bottom line is if you haven’t seen movies like The Happening or A Quiet Place, you will love Bird Box. If you have then you can still enjoy it but the novelty of the plot won’t work as well as the movie wants it to. I’m glad I watched it, but I’m also glad I didn’t pay for tickets to see this in a theater. I would not have felt like I got my money’s worth. Netflix is the perfect place for this movie to live and is worth a view.


Cinematic Quality: 3 out of 5

Fun Factor: 3 out of 5

Worth watching on Netflix: 4 out of 5

Re-watch Value: 2 out of 5

Overall Score: 3 chicken tender boxes out of 5

Netflix is Rebooting Lost In Space: Here’s the Trailer!

Netflix is bringing back the 1960s sci-fi television hit about the Robinson family getting, well…lost in space. Check it out:

The show was also rebooted into a 1998 movie you may remember, but it wasn’t quite as sucessful as the original. A series really is the best format to let a story like this properly simmer…which the people at Netflix seem to understand.

This trailer looks incredible…at least visually. Shows like this, Altered Carbon and others are really blurring the lines of production value between movies and television. Another couple years and it may be virtually impossible to tell the difference.

The robot is a completely different design than either previous version; the trailer even hinting at it being some type of alien now. I think it was a good choice to mix things up and do more of a humanoid look. He still has his classic line though!

It is too early to tell how the story and character arcs will be, but Netflix has had many more hits than misses so far. I’m interested to see the nefarious Dr. Smith gender swapped this go around and played by Parker Posey.

The trailer does an excellent job of drawing interest without giving anything significant away. Time will tell, but I’m definitely excited about this one.

What are your thoughts??

Lost in Space airs on Netflix April 13th.

When We First Met Review

Director: Ari Sandel

Cast: Adam Devine, Alexandra Daddario, Robbie Amell, Shelly Hennig, King Bach

Runtime: 1hr and 37mins.

Rated: TV-14

When We First Met, a new Netflix rom-com released for Valentines Day, is a chick flick that even guys can get into due to its humor and source material. Noah (Adam Devine) has been in love with his dream girl, Avery (Alexandra Daddario) ever since they first met at a Halloween party 3 years ago. Unfortunately, he’s been trapped in the dreaded friend zone ever since, and now Avery is engaged to her boyfriend, Ethan (Robbie Amell) whom she met the day after the party.

Through a series of events, Noah stumbles across a time machine, which happens to be the very photo booth he and Avery used the night they met. Using it transports him back in time 3 years, to the day of the party. At the end of the night he’s transported back to the present and whatever new choices were made change the course of history. Noah realizes he has been given unlimited chances to go back in time to win the heart of his perfect girl.

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When We First Met is not original at all; essentially mixing the concepts of Groundhog Day and Back to the Future into a romantic comedy. At this point, it seems like pretty much anything can be turned into a time machine: a car, hot tub, and now a photo booth. It’s never explained how the time machine works, however it seems that once you take pictures in the booth, if you return at a later date, you can travel back to the day the original pictures were taken (it doesn’t really matter honestly).

Despite the lack of originality, the movie is still a fun time. For maximum enjoyment I would steer clear of the trailer before watching the movie, as it does spoil most of the funnier scenes in my opinion.

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If you’re a fan of Adam Devine and his sense of humor you will enjoy this movie. Similar to Groundhog Day, much of the entertainment comes from watching all of Noah’s failed attempts at making Avery fall for him and what the results are 3 years later.

The story is fairly standard, but there are a couple good twists. Noah also learns some valuable lessons along the way that honestly aren’t bad for anyone dating to take to heart.

When We First Met won’t win any awards, but it is worth adding to your Netflix playlist for a fun movie night at home.

Final Verdict:

When We First Met receives a score of 7 time traveling groundhogs out of 10

Super Bowl LII Trailer Roundup

The Super Bowl was a great game to watch this year, but lets talk about the more important topic: all the movie and tv trailers shown during the commercials.

One of the biggest surprises was the first teaser for the upcoming Han Solo movie. While I never shy away from another Star Wars and most of the trailer looked solid, I’m still not sure how I feel about Alden Ehrenreich as a young Han.

I’m also pretty sure Dwayne Johnson says yes to every movie he’s offered.

And no matter how tough or ripped John Krasinski gets, he will always be Jim from The Office to me.

Take a look below. Which are you most excited for? Be sure to let me know!

Movie Trailers:

Solo: A Star Wars Story

Skyscraper

Avengers Infinity War

Mission Impossible: Fallout

Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom

TV Series Trailers:

Jack Ryan series on Amazon Prime

Westworld season 2 on HBO

The Cloverfield Paradox on Netflix

Honorable mentions:

These weren’t trailers but were movie related, and I think worth watching.

Jeep Jurassic Park Ad

Dundee: Tourism Australia Ad (genius)

Odell Beckham Jr and Eli Manning

This one is admittedly a stretch but it is a reference to a movie and down right hilarious. This is probably the best commercial of the night.