Bird Box is a better take on M. Night Shyamalan’s The Happening but a far worse take on John Krasinski’s A Quiet Place. The common thread in all three films is that something cataclysmic is happening in the world and the group of people we are following are simply trying to survive. Beyond this, Bird Box skews more towards The Happening in the sense that the nature of the events is a mystery. But sadly the film never really wants to explore the mystery. Instead, it feels content to give us a character’s conjecture about what is occurring and leave it at that. A more-questions-than-answers scenario is not always bad, but the storytelling needs to compensate for the lack of answers. Unfortunately, Bird Box is far too generic to be so thin on answers.
Sandra Bullock shows that she is more than capable of carrying the entire movie on her own. She appears to be giving it all she can and her role is well-rounded, but the story unfolds in such a predictable, basic manner that she’s not given the opportunity to rise above. She gets a bit of help from John Malkovich and a very underutilized Sarah Paulson. There are also smaller parts from B.D. Wong and Machine Gun Kelly, but these are nothing more than run-of-the-mill background characters that serve as filler. The other standout aside from Bullock is Trevante Rhodes. He is able to go stride-for-stride with Bullock, but it is painful to see that all of his post-Moonlight roles have been fairly generic and disappointing including this one.
Bird Box unquestionably suffers from coming out in the same year as A Quiet Place. It tries to differentiate itself in a few key ways, but there is not a single aspect of this film that is better than A Quiet Place. While not as low of quality as a knockoff movie on the SyFy channel, Bird Box ultimately feels like just a cheap imitation.