A Review of Netflix’s Bird Box (Contains Spoilers)

Sandra Bullock stars in new Netflix thriller.


Over the winter break, my sister and I decided to sit down and watch Bird Box on Netflix. After seeing dozens of memes about it on the internet, we were curious as to what all the buzz was about. It seemed like everyone was either raving over the movie or bashing it for being terrible, but there didn’t seem to be an in between.

The plot of the movie, which was adopted from a novel, is comparable to any typical sci-fi thriller. The protagonist Malorie (played by Sandra Bullock) is pregnant when an outbreak strikes, causing mass suicides and panic all over the world. Although her sister dies tragically, Malorie narrowly escapes death and finds herself in a safe house full of strangers. The unlikely group will have to work together to survive this ordeal. Malorie’s courageousness makes her a compelling character from the start, yet her character lacks other defining personality traits.

Photo from Hollywood Reporter.

Meanwhile, the plot is flashing back and forth between the past and present. When the movie begins, Malorie is blindfolded and rowing a boat with two children, who are blindfolded as well. The scenes from the river are supposed to represent the present moment. At first, the audience is confused. Why are these people wearing blindfolds? Why is there a sense of urgency? However, the scene then shifts five years back, and the story of how Malorie arrived at her current situation unfolds. We eventually find out that the two children are Girl and Boy, and that while Boy is Malorie’s biological son, Girl is the child of Malorie’s deceased friend, Olivia.

The movie is, without a doubt, suspenseful and entertaining. However, there were certainly flaws in the plot. The movie lacked originality and closely echoed the storyline of The Happening, where a similar unknown threat causes unexplainable deaths across the country. As most horror movies go, the characters die in order of increasing importance, leaving the protagonist to fend for herself (shocking). When Malorie, Girl, and Boy reach the rapids, I found it hard to believe that all three survive the capsize of the canoe in freezing, rocky water (Girl and Boy are five year olds who inferably can’t swim).

Photo from The Daily Beast.

The ending is also slightly disappointing. Although it provides a solution for Malorie, Girl, and Boy, the overall conflict is left unresolved. In other words, we never find out what the real cause of the outbreak was, or any explanation regarding the invisible force that caused everyone to kill themselves.

Some student had very strong opinions about Bird Box. Junior Declan Lavelle said, “I hated it. There was nothing to look at that was actually scary. If people are going crazy, I want to see what they are going crazy about.” Senior Henry Friedrich disagreed. “I loved it,” he said, adding, “If you’re ever watching a movie with Sandra Bullock, you know she’s either going to die or overcome [the problem].”

Others were less locked in one way or another. “It was interesting, but it was just a typical apocalypse movie that didn’t really shy away from the cliches,” said freshman Riley Chapman.

In the wake of the Bird Box frenzy, fans have started to post videos of themselves doing risky stunts wearing blindfolds on social media. Netflix warned in a tweet, “PLEASE DO NOT HURT YOURSELVES WITH THIS BIRD BOX CHALLENGE. We don’t know how this started, and we appreciate the love, but Boy and Girl have just one wish for 2019 and it is that you not end up in the hospital due to memes.”

A man doing the Bird Box Challenge. Photo from Deadline.

Bird Box is an okay movie at best, and it’s definitely not worth the hype. However, I can’t say I regret watching it because I like to know what people are talking about. In the near future, it will likely continue to receive attention due to its intense presence across social media. Until the craze dies down, keep your blindfolds on!