Bird Box – Netflix movie review: It’s A Quiet Place – with blindfolds

Sandra Bullock faces terrors both natural and alien in this derivative but suspenseful survival tale

Bird Box

★★★

In this high-concept sci-fi tale from Netflix, blindfolds offer humankind’s only protection from mysterious creatures who, once glimpsed, drive people to suicide or turn them into homicidal psychopaths.

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Against this apocalyptic environment, Sandra Bullock, must navigate a rampaging river in order to find safe haven for herself and her two children.

Their arduous, unseeing voyage is punctuated by a series of flashbacks to the emergence of the creatures five years earlier, where the then-pregnant Bullock finds herself holed up in a suburban home with a disparate group of bewildered survivors.

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Among the notable and quickly diminishing supporting cast, John Malkovich is his usual, effortlessly scathing self as a recent widower, while charismatic Trevante Rhodes gradually earns the trust of the wary Bullock and helps her through the unfolding horror. Sadly, Jacki Weaver, a two-time Oscar nominee, is given little to do except wring her hands and look on despairingly.

Director Susanne Bier (TV’s The Night Manager) conjures plenty of suspenseful moments, with the gust of wind that signifies the creatures’ presence a nice eerie touch. However, inconsistencies in logic do begin to creep into the story and the final scenes lack the desired emotional punch, despite Bullock’s gutsy but brittle performance.

On its own merits, Bird Box offers serviceable sci-fi scares, but it lacks the heart-pounding tension of John Krasinski’s A Quiet Place, released the same year, where sensory deprivation also holds the key to our survival.

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Bird Box is available now on Netflix