By Andy Chandler
It’s the first week of a brand new year and I’m excited to be reviewing a brand new offering from those lovely peeps at Netflix.
Ok, I’m going to get it out of the way early, this is a ‘A Quiet Place’-esque take on post-apocalyptic, many elements of the two are similar, not just the removal of one of the basic senses.
Mankind is under threat from a rarely seen but very pro-active other-worldly antagonist that has seemingly ended the world as we know it.
Survivors are left scattered and scrabbling around in the remnants of our civilization and, with supplies running scarce, our group of survivors must make one last break for sanctuary.
A lot of the risk in both films revolves around children, ‘A Quiet Place’ even has Emily Blunt giving birth in an environment where she must remain as silent as possible. Bird Box too has a scene set around birth but Bird Box’s world is a bit different.
Where as ‘A Quiet Place’ restricted talking out loud meaning that sign language was the only real way to communicate during attacks by the creature, Bird Box’s baddies need to be seen to kill so that means that poor old Sandra Bullock has to insure that her eyes, and the eyes of the children, remain covered as much as possible.
This can, and does, lead to some horrendously stressful and heart-pounding set pieces, especially when they get onto the river for their final crusade to safety.
Sandra Bullock is great in this film, she keeps the story grounded when it could easily spiral off into the nonsensical, the addition of John Malkovich to the cast is a masterstroke as well, the gravitas he possesses really adds some credibility to the story but also to the film in general.
A lot of chatter on the old interwebs has revolved around exactly how much this film has in common with ‘A Quiet Place’ and it does, but only in the same way ‘Friday the 13th’ and ‘Halloween’ have lots in common.
Both have a similar jumping off point and the losing of a sense certainly doesn’t help Bird Box stand out but it’s heart is very different.
‘A Quiet Place’ is about the family unit, about keeping it safe and doing whatever it takes to survive and fight back, whereas Bird Box is more about reuniting family and, ultimately, humanity to simply try and survive whatever is happening.
Unfortunately for Bird Box, A Quiet Place beat them to the punch by a good 6 months or more so it’ll always be remembered as that rip-off, but if you’re willing to scratch the surface of Bird Box, you’ll find a better film, with better performances and a better cast it’s just a shame that the entire film feels a tad been-there-done-that. 3/5