Bird Box ★★★★

Apocalypse narratives are a dime a dozen these days. Life hangs by a thread but it’s what turns the world into a forgotten planet that makes it unique. No doubt it will be compared to A Quiet Place, The Happening and The Mist. Comparing it to the stupidity of The Happening would be an insult for anything beyond the unseen enemy that causes suicide but the other two I get. At least as a framework for the world and what propels the narrative. Besides a few logic jumps that would be better explored as a mini series, or perhaps Netflix turns this into a seasonal show, it’s a great vehicle for tension. Visceral while building upon the characters anxieties with a layered approach. 

It’s greatest strengths being the streamlined pace. Offering multiple adrenaline dumps between the softer moments. While each further reveals what severe psychological stress can do to people in such extreme circumstances quite well. 
And most of the characters have there own shape and scope for a well defined little family of survivors. For a genre that’s typically thin in this area I was pleasantly surprised. The primary focus of Malorie (Sandra Bullock) and Tom (Trevante Rhodes) as the eventual couple to connect and root for feels organic as can be for such rapidly moving thriller and their chemistry begins to bubble before it’s all said and done. I’ve seen Rhodes three times now (Predator, Moonlight) and he’s been great in all of them. It has a lot more heart than you usually expect for this genre. Obviously Bullock is the star and focus. But it’s a stacked cast and each brings something engaging. John Malkovich bates us with a pitch perfect lure. Keeping us off balance and constantly causing us to question who’s crazy or sane, trustworthy or the monster. And he’s also the cranky A-hole you love hating. He’s practically redefined this type of sub character. Which can work against him in some roles, but not here. And Tom Hollander will make your bones tremble in terror (not going any further with that one, don’t want to spoil one of the fun twists) But my personal favorite is Danielle MacDonald from the film Patti Cake$. She gets the role of group idiot and basically is the demise of the group but she packs an emotional wallop with a limited role. Other than Jackie Weaver, everyone has a moment to shine while propelling this breakneck thriller. Im not sure it has anything important to say about motherhood or the end of he world. But It’s a tightly woven spine tingler that walks the fence between thriller and horror with real showmanship.

Direcotor : Susanne Bier ranked

2018 Ranked (#30 of #128)

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