Bird Box (2018)

TOMATOMETER

Critic Consensus: Bird Box never quite reaches its intriguing potential, but strong acting and an effectively chilly mood offer intermittently creepy compensation.

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When a mysterious force decimates the world's population, only one thing is certain: if you see it, you take your life. Facing the unknown, Malorie finds love, hope and a new beginning only for it to unravel. Now she must flee with her two children down a treacherous river to the one place left that may offer sanctuary. But to survive, they'll have to undertake the perilous two-day journey blindfolded. Academy Award (R) winner Sandra Bullock leads an all-star cast that includes Trevante Rhodes, with Sarah Paulson, and John Malkovich in BIRD BOX, a compelling new thriller from Academy Award (R) winner Susanne Bier.

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Critic Reviews for Bird Box

All Critics (32) | Top Critics (12)

You've seen this all many times before, which doesn't mean you'll mind seeing it again.

Dec 14, 2018 | Full Review…

The only real shock in this one is that it stars Sandra Bullock, who should know better.

Dec 14, 2018 | Rating: 1/4 | Full Review…
Observer
Top Critic

Sandra Bullock commands the screen in this only fitfully scary, post-apocalyptic sci-fi/horrorshow in which invading aliens can only kill you if you look at them. So keep your eyes wide shut.

Dec 13, 2018 | Rating: 3/5 | Full Review…

Eric Heisserer's script works better when it sticks to the basics, locking us in what could be the last safe place on Earth and allowing us to ask how we'd behave in such a nightmarish predicament.

Dec 13, 2018 | Rating: 2.5/4 | Full Review…

Much of the characterization found in this movie from the Danish filmmaker Susanne Bier... is severely undercooked.

Dec 13, 2018 | Full Review…

In the end, Bird Box's most significant shortcoming is that it's just too inert and unfocused to work as sci-fi horror.

Dec 12, 2018 | Rating: C | Full Review…
AV Club
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Audience Reviews for Bird Box

A LOAD OF BULLOCK - My Review of BIRD BOX (2 Stars) It takes a special kind of talent to make a film that's a little bit better than THE HAPPENING but not anywhere near as good as A QUIET PLACE, and yet eerily similar to both. Like its predecessors, BIRD BOX sounds good on paper, but director Susanne Bier (IN A BETTER WORLD) and writer Eric Heisserer (ARRIVAL) have fashioned a dour, joyless film lacking in credibility and with only the occasional moments of excitement. Sandra Bullock stars as Malorie, who when we meet her is barking instructions to two children she calls "Boy" and "Girl". They must stay quiet, keep blindfolds over their eyes, and obey all of her orders. In flashback, we learn that some types of "creatures" have invaded the planet and looking at them causes its victims to kill themselves. The surviving population quickly learns to navigate without sight, but mistakes, of course, happen. The film shifts back and forth between a present day timeline in which Malorie navigates a treacherous river with the two children to seek solace at an unknown compound of sorts. In the flashbacks, we follow Malorie as she escapes an initial crisis and ends up hiding in a house with an assortment of people, a delightfully diverse cast made up of John Malkovich, Jacki Weaver, BD Wong, Trevante Rhodes (MOONLIGHT), Danielle Macdonald (PATTI CAKE$), Lil Rel Howery (GET OUT), and more. Everyone does what they can with their roles, but they're all fairly stock characters and the time spent in the house feels like wheels spinning endlessly. It's not until they venture outside for a grocery store run, blacking out the car windows and using the GPS to navigate, that the tension rises. Still, how many errands have we witnessed on THE WALKING DEAD to know the beats of these sequences by heart? In fact, the film plays out like a particularly dreary episode of that series with its high body count, backwoods aesthetic, overstuffed cast, and endless march towards certain doom. That we never see the "creatures" in this film makes for a terribly barren film experience. Like THE HAPPENING, the evil appears as gusts of wind, and in both cases, our characters try to outrun said wind. It's quite silly but at least BIRD BOX doesn't have its main character spout a monologue to a plant. Additionally, like A QUIET PLACE, the film deals with pregnant characters, which is guaranteed to blow up any plans. I suppose BIRD BOX earns its maternal emotions, but by the time it reaches its loopy conclusion, you wouldn't begrudge Bullock wanting to stick the brats in daycare. Still, Bullock manages to deliver a fierce performance, jettisoning her famous charm for this tough talking, singularly focused survivor. She also has a nice chemistry with Rhodes, who manages to charm Bullock during the apocalypse and make it seem credible. None of this, however, can make the interminable scenes of our characters running or rowing blind. It's like watching those blindfold challenges on SURVIVOR where you just know somebody is going to smash into something sooner or later. That it doesn't happen all the time in BIRD BOX remains a stretch. The constant push-pull of whether our main characters will lift up their blindfolds gets old real quick. So does this film.

Glenn Gaylord
Glenn Gaylord

Super Reviewer

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