You've probably seen pictures of a blindfolded Sandra Bullock doing all sorts of things - looking after two kids, rowing a boat down the river, avoiding looking evil in the eye. Those photos are from Netflix's latest thriller, Bird Box, a post-apocalyptic tale with a high body count and a pretty A-list cast that also includes Jacki Weaver, John Malkovich, Sarah Paulson and Dumplin' star Danielle Macdonald.
The telemovie flashes between a woman’s efforts to transport two children to a safe haven and the events five years earlier that wiped out a huge chunk of the world’s population. But Bird Box’s twist on the post-apocalyptic genre works better in print – the movie is based on the novel by Josh Malerman – than visual form. That said, Stephen King is a fan (see tweet below).
In this story, the deadly force that has killed millions is an invisible entity that takes the form of people’s worst fears – which also go unseen on screen – prompting them to suicide. Although the movie does its best to depict the deadly fear, it's hard to be afraid of what you can't see.
Bullock and a star-packed cast stagger around hysterically with their eyes covered much of the time, which becomes a bit tired. But some of Bird Box works very well. A couple of key scenes, including a drive for supplies in a car with covered-over windows that relies purely on the vehicle’s guidance system, for example, make it all worth it. (On Netflix from Fri., Dec. 21) 3 stars