Thursday, December 27, 2018

Bird Box Holds Back Everything

Inevitably Bird Box will be compared to the far superior A Quiet Place. We have one sense removed while something lurks about killing everyone and causing the apocalypse. It features an aggressive and ferocious performance by Sandra Bullock (werk!) and a well-rounded cast playing fairly straightforward stereotypes. Nothing gets too deep here and that’s fine.

Horror movies are dependent on suspense and plot so not having fully formed characters is not a deal breaker. However the narrative structure, the jumbled story is told from three different time periods over five years, deflates much of that needed tension giving away crucial moments early on.

Plot wise the story lumbers on with no surprises but there’s blips where it almost gets interesting. Some filmmakers leave much to the imagination and like the survivors, not much is known about the force causing people to kill themselves. Again that’s fine. I don’t need to be spoon-fed answers. However, the restraint here reeks of an underdeveloped concept and really poor directing choices. How these beings operate is never fully revealed. Setting up rules is again one of those needed elements in a horror movie, which this very much is. Invisible supernatural beings that have corporal weight (bending trees and brush) that make you kill yourself firmly puts this in the horror category.

Moreover, movies are a visual medium. Just once, I wanted to get a glimpse of what a victim saw, perhaps at the climax of the film? This movie holds everything back. Without a true sense of the horror the victims experience, the actual impact falls flat. Imagine a vampire story where you never see a vampire - only puncture wounds and dead bodies. A zombie movie with no zombies. Doesn’t sounds like much fun, and there’s no pay off – another cardinal sin for a horror movie. Much like M, Night Shamealot’s abysmal film, The Happening, we have nothing to fear but the wind itself.


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