Zach’s Zany Movie Reviews: (fuckin’) BIRD BOX (Netflix)

Alright, I’ll play along with these annoyingly irritating dumb numerous memes floating around the internet paying homage to a movie released a week ago, BIRD BOX. You go to the drive thru at Popeyes, and order the 5 piece spicy chicken tenders box with a biscuit and red beans and rice as your side, and you order a nice Coca Cola, light ice, to wash it down. You get home and open your box and there are only three God damn tenders in there, none of them spicy, the biscuit is missing, instead of red beans and rice they give you their disgusting mac and cheese, and your coke is a bitter Root Beer, ice to the brim. BIRD BOX is that second “bird box” I described.

In this review I’m not going to go down the route of, “Bird Box is basically just A Quiet Place and The Happening if they fucked and had a little baby bird.” That is the least of the movies problems. And with all these technicalities, like the first draft (not publishing date) of the novel Bird Box was before The Happening and this and A Quiet Place being filmed around the same time, making those arguments is going to get you no where. I’ll just say that the movie in no way gets to the ridiculousness of The Happening, but it in no way gets even close to the heights of A Quiet Place. It is just in a mediocre middle.

The movie starts out promising. The mass hysteria where everything starts and people start killing themselves in front of Sandra Bullock was really well done and shot. It made what happens all throughout The Happening feel like it was written and directed by a monkey with a blind fold on. But then…we get into the one location problem. And yes, I get that it switches back and forth between past and present day. But the past stays in one location (the house) and the present basically stay in one location (the river) for the majority of the film. I would’ve loved if the movie had like a horror type adventure feel with just Sandra Bullock and the two kids surviving out in the open world wild. But instead we get the “survivors get holed up in one location cliched plot with them getting killed off one by one.”

I probably don’t need to explain the plot to you because you’ve probably already seen this film and are just wondering what I think because I’m very critical of movies. But in case you haven’t been on social media this whole week, the movie is about these creatures (which go unseen the entire film, one of the few things the movie does correctly) that if you look at them, you kill yourself. Sandra Bullock is a pregnant woman whose man left her and as she leaves the hospital, what started out in Russia and Europe starts happening in the states. She gets holed up in a house full of other survivors, just trying to survive. However, in one of the very first things the movie gets wrong is that what I just described to you has already happened in the movie, and the film actually starts with Bullock and two kids (one of the presumably hers) in the present, escaping into a row boat and going down river. Revealing that bullshit, instead of just going chronologically like the movie should have done, took out about 90% of the tension that the past had going for it, because we know that probably the other survivors introduced to us either leave or kill themselves.

And the holed up in one location plot line would’ve been forgivable if the movie didn’t do the one major thing wrong that completely fucked up the entire film and doesn’t make me want to read the novel: the evil human element. Why do we have to have evil humans in every single creature feature that is brought to the public? (A Quiet Place doesn’t do this, which is why it is in my top ten list of films in 2018) Why can’t it just be the creatures? I’ll tell you why. It is because when you have survivors holed up in one location with all the windows blocked out and for some reason the creatures can’t just break into places (seriously, they have the power to make you kill yourself but can’t just attack things and get inside a fucking house?), you write yourself right into a fucking hole. And the only way to dig yourself out, is to get something into the house that will force the other survivors to look at the creatures, and that means writing in humans that can look at the creatures and not kill themselves, but instead become evil humans seduced by the creatures power. It’s a stupid way to write yourself out of the whole, especially when I myself have thought of a dozen ways to move the plot forward without writing in a evil human antagonist element.

And I’m sorry but Sandra Bullock is completely flat in this. Either she thought that was what the character should be or someone told her while shooting that this was going straight to Netflix. It just seemed like she was annoyed to be there. Maybe that’s just me. In fact the only decent acting came from Danielle Campbell, who I can’t believe is in this considering I just watched Dumplin’ yesterday. She’s pretty good in this, even though her screentime is limited. It seems like they were maybe filming this across the street and asked her to play this bit part. But she pulled it off. And Sarah Paulson’s five minute “I’m just in this briefly for shock value” part in this was an insult.

There are also a lot of laughable parts in this. The CGI birds at the very end of the film. The fact that two characters that are both pregnant go into labor at the exact same time. The evil human element. I was laughing when I should’ve been feeling tension throughout the whole thing. It’s not exactly a terrible movie. It’s just meh. There were much much worse films I’ve seen this year dealing with creatures **coughFallenKingdomcough** It is what I’d like to call “Netflix passable.” Kind of like Cloverfield Paradox was “Netflix passable.” Definitely not as shitty as any Adam Sandler Netflix original, but definitely not as good as something like Roma or Dumplin’. Bird Box definitely made me feel like I had the “Frozen effect,” people hooting and hollering about a film that I watch after the hype and I feel that the whole thing was just meh. With a smarter script, better acting, better direction, better everything, this could’ve been a cool theatrical experience. But in some ways, I wish I was wearing a blind fold myself for about an hour out of this two hour film.

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