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REVIEW: ‘Bird Box’ fails to live up to expectations

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REVIEW: ‘Bird Box’ fails to live up to expectations

Courtesy Netflix

Courtesy Netflix

Courtesy Netflix

Pranitha Polavarapu, Assistant Online Editor

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2018 was the year for horror movies with “A Quiet Place,” “Halloween,” The Endless” and many more thrilling sagas. Still, the one that seemed to capture the most horror movie fans’ hearts was “Bird Box.”

As soon as this psychological thriller came out on Netflix, over 45 million views were reported, making “Bird Box” the biggest first-week debut for the platform.

I, however, was not impressed by this film.

The movie starts with lead Malorie Hayes (Sandra Bullock) preparing her two 4-year old children named simply Boy (Julian Edwards) and Girl (Vivien Lyra Blair), for a journey across the river with blindfolds over the eyes.

It is worth mentioning that the two young actors were flawless. They left me emotional after every one of their appearances with their pouts and expressions filled with endless curiosity. Bullock was also impeccable in her performance as a perceptive and strict, but caring character.

After the children are prepared for their journey, there is a flashback to when Malorie is pregnant, and the news of mass suicides reaches her city. Her sister Jessica Hayes (Sarah Paulson) takes her to the hospital for a routine pregnancy check-up where the very first incident occurs; a person sees an entity that causes them to go insane and commit suicide. Many others experienced the same thing later on.

After witnessing her sister’s death and many more, Malorie goes to escape the strange phenomenon with a group of others in a house. The movie displays the plight of these individuals trying to save their lives from this mysterious apocalypse.

The setting throughout the film is mostly the house where the group is struggling to stay alive, and the river where Malorie makes her journey to find refuge for the children and herself. It is designed to be realistic, and the scenes on the river were very well-captured, especially when they were on the rapids. It kept me completely on edge.

The movie’s structure was interesting, as it went back and forth from the present to the past. Its cinematography was excellent as it spurred suspense throughout the film. For instance, I liked the bird-eye view they gave of the wide rapids and the angle was excellent in that scene. However, as a horror fan, I did not think the movie was as fear-inducing as the trailer made it out to be. There were times when I would go on my phone during the film because I was bored (which is rare for me during a horror movie), but there were also scenes where I was biting my nails from the stress.

The movie never shows the entity that drives people crazy and does not explain the reason for it either, leading to a lot of plot-holes. For example, the birds, which inspired the title, can detect when the entity is around, but the movie doesn’t explain the reason for that. It also doesn’t say why certain people are immune to the beings. Due to these unanswered questions, I cannot be the only one who thought the ending was very rushed and disappointing.

Although the movie was pretty dissatisfying to me, understanding the Tweets and jokes the viewers had made was definitely worth it. The first time I heard of the “Bird Box” was through the many hilarious memes made on social media. Recently, Netflix even felt the need to discourage viewers from trying the Bird Box challenge where fans tried to do everyday mundane activities using blindfolds which could be dangerous.

Compared to other movies in its genre such as “A Quiet Place,” where the plot is quite similar, “Bird Box” does not surpass any expectations. Still, there are redeeming qualities such as its humorous side comments from characters you might fall in love with. The impressive cast and thrilling cinematography definitely compensate the feeble plot and unimpressive ending.

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About the Writer
Pranitha Polavarapu, Senior Staff Writer

I started writing for the Harbinger in Freshmen year, the same year I took journalism. I’m an assistant opinion editor for the harbinger. Other than...

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REVIEW: ‘Bird Box’ fails to live up to expectations