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Before I dive right into this review, let me light a few candles for the people who had no idea about the existence of Academy Award winner Sandra Bullock before this film.
Those are people who missed her gems: Speed (1994), Miss Congeniality (2000), Crash (2004), The Proposal (2009), The Blind Side (2009), The Heat (2013), Gravity (2013) and Ocean's 8 (2018). She has plenty more films, but these are standouts to me and you should probably check these out if you are a fan of hers from this film alone.
Now, I'm sure by now you've read countless reviews or seen a few of them on YouTube, but this review is different because it's coming from an unbiased place. I adore Bullock's work and I jumped on this film—a week after it was released on Netlfix—just to see what the hype was about. And to this very day... I don't see (pun intended) what the hype was all about.
Don't get me wrong, the acting here was amazing, and with actors like Trevante Rhodes (Moonlight), John Malkovich, Sarah Paulson (from AHS fame), B.D. Wong (who played a Warlock on AHS: Apocalypse and from L&O SVU fame), a creepy performance by Tom Hollander, Danielle Macdonald (can be seen on Dumplin currently on Netflix), Lil Rel Howery (from Get Out), and even rapper Machine Gun Kelly, you didn't have much of a second to know what was happening or who was going to perish next. But when it came to the story and what happens throughout concerning the mysterious entity, or "creatures" as most of the characters called it, I was left with more questions than answers.
(Fun Fact: Bird Box is based on the debut novel of the same name by writer and musician Josh Malerman. The story follows Malorie as she tries to survive in a world where a mysterious entity is causing people to kill themselves upon being spotted.)
Okay folks, here is where I'll be talking about the spoiler, so if you don't want this film ruined for you, stop reading here.
The film starts off with Malorie (Bullock) telling two children, a boy named Boy and a girl named Girl, they're going to be blindfolded as they take a row boat down the river. She goes on to explain the rules to them.
"Whatever you hear, do not take the blind folds off" is basically what she tells them. They go onto to a rowboat, blindly—yet able to find it with ease—as Malorie follows a string she set up prior, which leads to the rowboat.
All three get inside and Malorie blindly starts rowing.
We are then transported five years where we are re-introduced to Malorie, now pregnant.
There is no mention of the name of the father of Malorie's unborn baby, but it's assumed it's a one-night stand that she obviously didn't care for. Her older sister, Jess (played by Paulson), comes in and they share quips like sisters do.
Then they leave the apartment to head to Malorie's appointment with her OBGYN.
It's there where the chaos ensues.
Malorie sees a woman just hanging in the hallway, looking out of the window and chatting on her phone; it isn't clear if Malorie knew this woman, but I guess she sensed something was wrong as she stared at her for a few seconds.
The OBGYN tells Malorie that she should give the baby a name because it won't be long until the baby is born. It's clear Malorie has some issues, probably not with the unborn baby, but with the unborn baby's father.
Jess waits for Malorie outside and as Malorie walks down the hallway to leave the hospital, we see that same woman who was speaking on the cellphone before now banging her head against the glass of the window. While the nurses, security guards, and doctors try to stop her, it's to no avail because she continues banging her head, cracking her skull open. (Not as gruesome, but you get the visual.)
Malorie leaves to Jess's car, horrified at what she witnessed and they drive off. She tells her older sister about the mysterious entity from Europe that has been circulating the news has made it to the states and Jess doesn't know what to think or say. The streets, however, are overrun by people running, cars crashing into each other, and people killing themselves.
It was a messy mess that actually made me intrigued, yet unprepared, for what was to come.
As Jess drives, she sees something in the distance and her eyes begin to change colors:
It gives us the first insight at what exactly this entity or "creature" does to those who see it.
Jess crashes the car, flipping it over—thank God for seat belts!
Malorie and Jess come out alive, but Jess is already infected so she walks in front of a truck, gets hit, and dies.
Confused and grieving—or barely—Malorie runs among the scared citizens. She falls to the ground and is seen by a good samaritan woman who helps her up. Unfortunately, this woman sees her "mother" from a distance, leaves Malorie behind, and gets inside of a burning car. The woman not only becomes engulfed in flames, but the car blows up, killing her (props to the editors, director, and actor for this crazy scene).
Malorie is helped up by a man named Tom (played by Trevante) and they go inside of a house with fellow survivors (played by B.D. Wong, Machine Gun Kelly, John Malkovich, Lil Rel and more).
For a few of these scenes, it involves banter between Malorie and Douglas (Malkovich), but when Greg (played by Wong) tries to see what was making people crazy through the security cameras, he ends up getting infected and smashes his head against a statue and dies. This causes Douglas to get even more upset because he doesn't want to keep saving people, but when a new survivor comes knocking named Olympia (played by Macdonald) this becomes an intense situation since Olympia is not only pregnant, but around the same amount of months as Malorie.
Just like any survival movie, they run out of food and decide to do a food run. Tom leads the pack with Douglas, Charlie (played by Lil Rel), a tough cop straight from the academy named Lucy (played by Rosa Salazar who's also playing Alita in the upcoming Alita: Battle Angel film), and Malorie who demands to go.
Tom has the car windows blocked out so they are able to drive carefully to the market using GPS and willpower.
In the market, they get their food and Tom flirts with Malorie... because why not try to get your groove on during an epidemic? Lucy already got her groove on with Felix (Machine Gun Kelly) in the laundry room the night prior.
Malorie finds three small, brightly colored pet birds locked in a cage who survived the ordeal so she decided to keep them because... why not?
They hear a knocking coming from the local freezer and it's a survivor Charlie recognizes. Everyone argues about who should open the door as the survivor didn't sound safe, but he then grows angry and tries to attack them. While this was happening, Malorie notices the birds she decided to keep are going crazy in the cage. They're chirping loudly and flying around trying to escape. It's then that she realizes the birds can sense when the entity is around.
Charlie panics as his former coworker is still going bat crap crazy and he charges the man, both ending up locked in the freezer. We hear arguing from the other side of the door, hear a knife cut through something, and then we see blood start to spill from under the door. We don't know yet who's it is, but the man knocks on it again and wants to be let out, letting us know the blood belongs to Charlie and he's dead.
Lucy, Malorie (along with her birds), Tom, and a drunk Douglas return back home in shock at what happened. They go home with food and are set to just wash the day away. That is until Felix and Lucy decide to steal the car late at night and escape, causing everyone to be stranded at the house.
Just when things couldn't get anymore intense, our friendly neighborhood Olympia is heard talking to someone by the main door. It's another survivor! Unaware of what to do next, and considering she was also in the same shoes as the survivor days before, she lets him in, causing Douglas to become angry and requiring Malorie to defuse the situation.
The survivor's name is Gary and he babbles on about seeing survivors acting crazy, wanting others to see the "beauty in the world," and how many of those people would force open people's eyes to make them see that "beauty."
Still angry, Douglas demands the man leaves at once, but everyone is fed up with how much of an ass Douglas is so he's knocked out and placed into the garage as a form of timeout.
The next day, Olympia starts having contractions and it's evident she's about to give birth. They have her go upstairs and Malorie decides to fill up buckets of water until she too has contractions!
With both women set to give birth, Tom and fellow survivor, an elderly woman named Cherly (played by Jacki Weaver), remain upstairs helping Olympia and Malorie give birth.
Meanwhile downstairs, Douglas still in timeout watches as Gary sings to himself and starts taking down all the papers that blocked every window in the house. Gary places the birds Malorie rescued in the refrigerator, and runs to the other side of the house, still taking down papers letting in the sunlight.
Tom runs downstairs to fetch for something when he rescues the birds and is knocked out cold by Gary.
Meanwhile upstairs, Olympia has a girl and Malorie has a boy. Freaking Gary goes upstairs and looks at the babies in awe at the beautiful sight of new life. He decides that the babies should also "see the beauty in life" and he takes off the papers from the windows, exposing the entire room to the outside world.
Malorie closes her eyes and begs for Olympia and Cheryl to do the same, but Gary forces Cheryl's eyes open and she kills herself.
Olympia becomes infected and gets off the bed with her new baby in tow. She walks towards the window, but not before Malorie quickly pulls the baby from Olympia's grips. Olympia jumps out the window!
Gary is attacked by a now freed Douglas and they fight. Gary throws him and Douglas off the top of the staircase. Douglas tries to get his gun, but is stabbed by Gary and dies.
Just as Gary reaches for Douglas's shotgun, Tom awakens and they struggle for it, but ultimately the gun goes off and Gary dies. Tom goes upstairs to Malorie and the babies and they somehow get to safety.
We fast forward back five years later with Tom and a long-haired Malorie training Boy and Girl to use their other senses while being blindfolded.
They get a call from a man named Rick (cue The Walking Dead jokes) who explains they have a community down the river with other survivors.
Tom and Malorie are attacked by people who are also infected, but not to the extent that they want to commit suicide.
Tom sacrifices himself, letting Malorie, along with the children, escape to the boat that brings us back to the beginning of the film!
They eventually make land on an island where Malorie, Boy, and Girl get separated. The Entity (a gust of wind is all we see) mimics Malorie's voice, telling the children to take off their blind folds and see the beauty of it all. Malorie saves them and they reach a door as the gust of wind blows stronger. The door opens and they rush inside closing it behind them.
Once inside, someone shines a flashlight into their eyes to check if they are infected, but none of them are.
It is revealed they are inside of "The School for the Blind" where blind students and seeing people live as one. Birds fly above head and warn them when the entity is coming, so the people who can see run inside and hide as the blind stay out and play, as they are immune.
Malorie releases her birds (which she still kept) and they meet their new friends.
Malorie sees a familiar face amongst the survivors: Her OBGYN Doctor!
After the Doctor asks the children what their names are... and they reply with "I'm Boy" and "I'm Girl," Malorie decides to finally give them names.
She names her biological son "Tom" and the girl "Olympia."
The movie ends as Malorie looks around and smiles, finally feeling safe.
Okay, so I was a bit upset I didn't get to see what this "creature" was that was causing so much trouble. I mean Gary drew these crazy sketches of them and I wanted to at least get a glimpse of them for myself, but I guess that was the psychological part of the film.
These creatures weren't killing anyone, they were manifesting each person's worst fears and causing that person to kill themselves based off of guilt. So it's pretty clear that everyone didn't see the same thing.
I wondered why some people, like Gary and others, didn't kill themselves once they became infected. Instead, they became crazy and wanted other's to see the "beauty," as they called it.
The entity wasn't really talked about other than that it came from Russia, hit Europe, Canada, and then wherever the movie took place in. So that was another mystery that drove me crazy. Then again, I watch The Walking Dead—it's been 10 seasons and no one knows where that virus came from either.
Another huge question I had was: What happened to Felix and Lucy? After they stole the car from the other survivors, I expected them to be dead off road or maybe in the survival group with Malorie at the end, but there was no mention of them.
I wouldn't be shocked if they appear in a sequel later down the road (no pun intended).
This film was definitely an interesting way to end 2018. I was happy to see Bullock join the Netflix family, and considering not many people are happy with Netflix for cancelling Marvel shows, it was a surprise to see this movie pop up.
Now that I watched this, I want to get my quiet on and watch A Quiet Place. Maybe if we're lucky we can get a crossover event with A Quiet Place and Bird Box... that would be a very chaotic movie for sure!