Being one of the most popular streaming services, Netflix has continued to entertain since it began delivering DVDs by mail in the 90s. As it has grown to become instantly available to viewers around the world for an affordable price, Netflix’s budget has also grown to allow the opportunity to produce its own original shows and feature-length films. Among these, the suspense genre has been an especially notable strength of Netflix, and its latest feature “Bird Box” is proof of that. Audiences are pleased to find that “Bird Box” is an intense stimulating adventure for fans of the macabre that refuses to hold back with disturbing imagery and thematic elements.
The film journeys on the adventure and perils of pregnant Malorie (Sandra Bullock) as the world is plunged into chaos by a devastating unidentified force — later called ‘creatures’ — the sight of which inexplicably drives people to suicide. Shortly after Malorie’s sister Jessica (Sarah Paulson) is afflicted, Malorie finds herself at the home of Douglas (John Malkovich) who has converted his home into a safe haven for those unaffected by the force. Inside of this safe haven is a small group of people who have figured out a method of protection by merely averting their eyes by using a blindfold and staying indoors — among them are Tom (Trevante Rhodes), Olympia (Danielle Macdonald) and Felix (Machine Gun Kelly). While the movie details the struggles of Malorie and her pregnancy during her time in Douglas’ home — her adventure to a fabled sanctuary with her children Boy (Julian Edwards) and Girl (Vivien Lyra Blair) is also told while swapping between scenes of the trip to the sanctuary and flashbacks to her time in Douglas’ house.
The heavy atmosphere is expertly woven together with the threads of stellar acting and dialogue. The all-star cast members, such as Sandra Bullock and John Malkovich, are not just placed in the movie for show, but very clearly presents their advanced acting experience as they display a sense of urgency through vocal tones. This simple bit of effort creates a plot that is vastly superior to movies with similar premises, such as the movie “The Happening.” From the first minute onward, the film’s cast performs magnificently to keep the audience on the edge of their seats and fill them with compassion at moments that can appear seemingly out of nowhere — thus telling audience members they shouldn’t get too comfortable.
A suspense movie would not be satisfying without a persistent feeling of dread, and the ‘mysterious force’ antagonist provides just that. While the force is not explicitly described or even shown through the duration of the film, the mix of fear and wonder displayed by multiple characters leaves much to the audience’s imagination. Normally, one might be disappointed by this detail, however one single scene depicts a multitude of interpretations for the viewer to see — some of which are truly horrifying while others leave audiences awe stricken. The most important part of these scenes of depictions is the individuality of each image, as it shows the viewer a multitude of possible forms the entity can take.
Once again, Netflix has stretched its legs to show its viewers that it has the gumption to step out onto controversial territory and produce a definite hit. A relentless thrill ride, “Bird Box” is an entrancing spectacle that gives its audience an experience that will leave them fearful for its extent and nervous for the hours following.