Don’t Believe The Hype: 4 Reasons Bird Box was a Terrible Movie

Sandra Bullock in Bird Box (2018)

Over the holiday season, Netflix released its highly anticipated film Bird Box and it made quite the impression on popular culture. Academy Award winning actress Sandra Bullock, now referred to as the lady from Bird Box by 12 year olds, starred in the film. The movie birthed hilarious memes and even spawned a viral internet challenge which YouTube has had to ban apparently. The Bird Box challenge consists of people blindfolding themselves and attempting everyday activities, usually ending with them failing miserably. However, while the movie offered a great cultural moment and a rather exciting end to 2018, it should be fully noted that the film itself was terrible. Below are the four reasons why Bird Box was a terrible movie.

  1. Poor Storyline Execution – Similarly to The Walking Dead (TWD), viewers are never provided background information on the entity that drives people to suicide. Eventually, TWD reveals that every human is infected with the zombie virus, which sort of humanizes and demonizes the characters in a way that forces them to explore the boundaries of humanity and morality. However, with Bird Box, there is no such revelation and the characters don’t really explore these boundaries. We never find out what the thing is or what people actually see when they see it. It is referred to as beautiful, some people get sad, and for others it seems to be a manifestation of their worst fears. However, this missing information was vital to the story and contributed to the second reason it was a terrible movie.
  2. Poor Character Development – The film failed to provide enough information about the characters, resulting in me not caring about who lived or died. Sandra’s character, Malorie, is clearly frustrated with life and the least bit thrilled about becoming a mom. While she mentions a not-so-stellar childhood, there is no background information that allows us to see how she develops over time.  The only character who I somewhat cared about was Douglas and I had to Google his character’s name because I didn’t even remember it. Douglas was the older man who said that “he was never wrong.” And unfortunately for him, this was true. This character at least explained his selfishness and in the end died trying to look out for everyone else. And it was a waste honestly, because everyone seemingly died at the same time upstairs.

Sidenote #1: Lil Rell wasn’t funny.

Sidenote #2: Why did Malorie and the other lady have to have their babies at the same time. What was the purpose of this? That would never happen, EVER.

3. Binaries are not a realistic form of the human conscious, AT ALL. – The film essentially conveyed that if you saw the thing and were driven to death, you were likely a good person. If you saw the thing and survived you were likely not a nice person to begin with. I reject the notion that people are either good or bad, as humans are more complicated than that and usually have elements of both. Also, the film slightly demonized mental illness, which is problematic when the story lacks context to begin with.

4. There’s no resolve or resolution to this story – Sure Malorie releases the birds and finally accepts her journey into motherhood. But you can’t tell me that Netflix spent a millions of dollars to produce a post-apocalyptic film about one woman’s journey to motherhood. Furthermore, I’m not convinced that Malorie would do a complete 360 after losing her boyfriend, Tom, the person she loved most. (I also disliked Tom’s demise illustrates that even in death Black people have to be strong and save everyone. Lil Rell also did this early in the movie when he tried to save his friend.) It would seem that Malorie would become more pessimistic about life considering everything she’s endured. But then again, we don’t know what she’s endured because there is no character development. This also makes me care not one bit that she has some sort of spiritual awakening at the end with the birds. Furthermore, there is no concrete takeaway from the film. Usually films, at least for me, leave me with some type of lesson that is worth is considering, but this film did no such thing. It started and then it was just over.

Overall, the film is mediocre to say the least, due to the many plot holes and poor story development. They don’t really explain what side of the spectrum Malorie is on, as she literally runs around in the street looking around and never sees anything. Towards the end, the voices get stronger, almost as if she wants to see whatever this thing is. 

Regardless of how we feel about the film it offered a great cultural moment and we are likely to see more from this universe. Netflix has ordered additional material from the writer of the film (Barsanti, 2019) and many people are advocating for a sequel. I’m not sure where on the spectrum I would fit in this movie, but if we all have to see another Bird Box movie, hopefully I would be one of the people to survive it.

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