Bird Box (2018)
With Bird Box, one of the most talked about releases of 2018, Susanne Bier has created a fine chiller from Josh Malerman's best-seller. "There is no terror in the bang, only in the anticipation of it," said Alfred Hitchcock, and Bier's greatest merit in this adaptation is her choice of not visualizing the unknown threat, leaving all the horror in the atmosphere and in the viewer's imagination.
Bird Box is basically a two-fold film, both in narrative, style and tempo. The first part of the film (the flashbacks) is the most effective. Here Bier creates a harrowing, intense climate as an unseen spectacle which makes people inexplicable suicidal appears in the city just as our protagonist Malorie (Sandra Bullock) and her sister leave a clinic after a pregnancy checkup. The escalating chaos sets the tone brilliantly, and as Malorie barricades herself together with a number of other survivors inside a nearby house, the film takes on a quality reminiscent of I Am Legend. There are fine performances (particularly from John Malkovich), interesting discussions of existential proportions and for the most part logical character actions in the following middle-part until the film climaxes halfway through and moves back into the present-day timeline, about Bullock, boyfriend and two children five years later.
Unlike most horror movies dealing with the supernatural, Bird Box very rarely cheats, and so we continue to care for these characters, even as their situation seems increasingly hopeless and the threat becomes increasingly horror-film-like and stale, unfortunately. The ending has a certain freshness about it, but of course it cannot quite fill the empty space left behind by Malkovich.