I’m not sure what I expected from Bird Box, but it wasn’t much. The trailers were intentionally vague and it sounded as though it would have a very bad ending. I was pleasantly surprised. 10 out of 10 stars.
The film begins at the loft of a pregnant artist, Mallory. Her sister Jess arrives with groceries and asks her about the mass suicides in the news which Mallory knows nothing about, so she turns on the TV and watches the news program report on mass suicides in Russia. Jess invites Mallory to see a stud with her in Sausalito and Mallory tells her she has a prenatal appointment. So Jess, who runs a horse farm, says screw the horse let’s go see the baby. They see the baby during the prenatal appointment and the after Jess goes to get the car, Mallory grabs a brochure on adoption. As Mallory is leaving the hospital she sees a woman banging her head against a window trying to kill herself. When she gets in the car with Jess she tells her whatever is happening in Russia is here now. As they are driving away from the hospital people are screaming and cars are intentionally crashing all around them. Jess sees something, says “Oh my God what is that?” and intentionally crashes the car. It rolls over and after a few minutes they each crawl out of the vehicle. Keep in mind Mallory is about 7 months pregnant. Jess looks at her then steps in front of a truck killing herself.
By now there is a mob of people running in the street. They pass Mallory and knock her to the ground several times. She gets up and follows them. Then a woman in front of a house on the corner comes out to help her inside. Before the woman reaches her she sees something and begins talking to her dead mother then she gets into a burning car killing herself. Her husband, who is watching from the house, blames Mallory for his wife’s death. His name is Douglas. A black guy in the street helps Mallory into the house and several other people from the street take advantage of the situation and come into the house too.
Once inside Mallory realizes the house doesn’t belong to Doug, but to his gay neighbor Greg. Doug is actually suing Greg and his husband because they’re remodeling their house and Doug doesn’t like the way it looks and since Doug is a lawyer he decided to sue them. 🙂 Greg is a nice guy; Doug is not. The distinction between their two opposing ideologies of how to respond to strangers during this crisis resonates throughout the film: do you let people in or do you keep them out?
Over the course of several days this group manages to stay alive by covering the windows with blankets, boards, and paint. They can hear “creatures” outside flying over the house and past the windows, but they apparently can’t get inside. Things start to go downhill when they allow yet another person inside, Olympia, a pregnant woman. Olympia is sweet but incredibly dumb and naive. Her choices affect the entire group to their detriment.
It takes awhile to get to the part of the film that’s in the trailers as that’s five years later, when the two children are four years old. At that point Mallory is alone and has her son who she calls Boy and Olympia’s daughter who she calls Girl. They are being chased by people who have seen the creatures but who have not committed suicide. Instead they are murderous. And Mallory is trying to get the kids to a sanctuary on the river with birds.
There is a theme throughout the film involving birds. Birds sense the creatures and become very vocal when one is near. They’re an early warning system so it becomes fortuitous when Mallory comes across three birds early on in the film. Those birds help save them.
It was especially nice to see a multi-ethnic cast that wasn’t stereotyped. The film supposedly takes place in a suburb of Sacramento. Tom, the black guy who helps Mallory into the house, becomes her partner and he’s a sweet, intelligent, thoughtful man, not usually how black men are portrayed in film. 🙂
10 out of 10 stars. Now on Netflix.
Reviewed by Devin