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A popular saying goes, “To see is to believe.” In Netflix’s new movie Bird Box, however, to see is to die.

The film, which came out on the streaming service giant in December 21, revolves around two timelines: The first in which a woman named Malorie (Sandra Bullock), together with a young boy and girl, must cross the river and the forest blind-folded to avoid creatures that take the appearance of their victims’ worst fears, regrets, and losses, causing death by suicide. The second, five years earlier, explain all the events leading up to their journey.

Despite its out-of-nowhere drop and lack of pre-release marketing, it has picked up considerable hype from its subscribers (most apparent on Twitter)and with good reason.

For one, it capitalizes on extremes. There’s heavy tension even in the tiniest movements, whether it’s in the rustle of the leaves or in the sound of the wind blowing across a neighborhood. Thanks to Susanne Bier’s impeccable direction, the viewers are constantly on their toes.

The monstrosity of the killing entity is not in the looks, too, as in the zombies of The Walking Dead or Train to Busan. It’s all in the mere presence and sight of the creature.

This monster who kill by sight and we know little of is what makes the movie novel, compelling, worth-watching, and undeserving to be branded as a rip-off of A Quiet Place. Dare we say, it’s far from being a bird-brained concept. It’s quite the opposite, despite having all the ingredients of a typical post-apocalyptic film: a mysterious radio signal, a budding romance, anxiety about becoming a parent, a mistrustful grump, an over-trusting sweetheart, and a mostly invisible, alien presence.

The display of human courage, strength, and sacrifice, while also cliche, is incredibly moving. Malorie is formidable through and through, defying odds created by both the monster and the people around her.

Plot-wise, it manages to escape obvious questions. What is this creature wreaking suicide havoc? What does it look like in action, apart from what’s in the sketches? Where did it come from? How does it do what it does? Why are some people not killed instantly, but instead turned into slaves gladly serving their overlord? More importantly, what happens after Malorie and the kids get to safety?

The film delivers what a thriller should, nevertheless: a unique sense of anxiety, fear, and suspense. We’re open to seeing it again.

Featured Image courtesy of Netflix

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