'Bird Box' is a passable thriller carried by an outstanding performance from Sandra Bullock — here's what critics are saying

NetflixNetflix’s ‘Bird Box’ stars Sandra Bullock.
  • “Bird Box” is a post-apocalyptic thriller starring Sandra Bullock.
  • The film, released on Netflix on December 21, was met with mixed reviews from critics.
  • Some thought the film didn’t live up to its creepy potential but others thought Bullock’s performance made the film a must-see.

“Bird Box” was released by Netflix on December 21 and critical reception to this post-apocalyptic thriller has been pretty mixed.

The film follows a woman named Malorie (Sandra Bullock) who is trying to make her way to safety after the global spread of supernatural entities that cause anyone who sees them to commit suicide. As Malorie struggles to reach a mysterious compound while blindfolded and with two young children in tow, her story is revealed in flashbacks spanning five years.

The movie is based on Josh Malerman’s 2014 novel of the same name and also stars Trevante Rhodes, John Malkovich, Sarah Paulson, and Tom Hollander.

“Bird Box” currently has a 68% critic rating on Rotten Tomatoes, which isn’t stellar. Many reviewers have complained about the film’s undercooked characterization and chaotic timeline, though some praise its eerie vibe and ability to get under your skin.

Here’s how critics have reacted to “Bird Box” so far.


Despite an all-star cast, “Bird Box” failed to make critics care about its characters.

Saeed Adyani/NetflixCritics wanted to get to know the characters better.
“I care as much about the people who ran around in its fiction now as I did before I watched them for two hours, which is to say, not at all.”
– Emily Yoshida,New York Magazine/Vulture

“The actors are fine, but the problem is that it’s hard to care about the interaction of the people inside, because nothing they do matters.”
– Mick LaSalle, San Francisco Chronicle
“There are so many characters in ‘Bird Box’ that it feels cluttered, and yet, we can’t care about a damn one of them other than Malorie because their fates are all but sealed from the second we lay eyes on them.”
– Andrew Parker, The Gate
“The only real shock in this one is that it stars Sandra Bullock, who should know better.”
– Rex Reed,Observer

Many reviewers wished that “Bird Box” lived up to its creepy potential.

NetflixSome found the film underwhelming.
“‘Bird Box’ succeeds in being a solid thriller, but, really (and frustratingly) could have been much more.”
– Matt Hudson, What I Watched Tonight
“A character and cast-driven end of the world film that delivers with a slow-burn intensity that never pushes as far as its inspired premise could have, but it’s still a fun Christmas surprise from Netflix.”
– Bill Waters, Bleeding Cool
“‘Bird Box’ is a tidy but in the end underwhelming sci-fi thriller, perfectly average in every way aside from its delicious central concept.”
– Ed Power, Daily Telegraph (UK)

“Bird Box” failed to distinguish itself from other similar films.

NetflixMany critics said they felt like they’d seen the film before.
“Bier has crafted a horror thriller sturdy enough to keep from being a failure but not one distinct or courageous enough to stand out from the pack.”
– David Bax, Battleship Pretension
“You’ve seen this all many times before, which doesn’t mean you’ll mind seeing it again.”
– Justin Change, Los Angeles Times

“With hints of ‘The Road,’ ‘A Quiet Place’ and any number of zombie movies, this Netflix horror-thriller is appreciably bleak but also sluggish.”

– Tim Grierson, Screen International

However, many critics loved the film’s unnerving premise.

NetflixThe script impressed many critics.
“Eric Heisserer’s script works better when it sticks to the basics, locking us in what could be the last safe place on Earth and allowing us to ask how we’d behave in such a nightmarish predicament.”
– Brian Tallerico,RogerEbert.com
“‘Bird Box’ is scary, but it also feels very human.”
– Randy Cordova, Arizona Republic
“‘Bird Box’ blends smart sci-fi with grindhouse goofiness. The former eventually wins the day.”
– Christian Toto, Hollywood In Toto

Sandra Bullock’s performance has been almost universally applauded.

Netflix‘Bird Box’ stars Oscar winner Sandra Bullock
“Sandra Bullock commands the screen in this only fitfully scary, post-apocalyptic sci-fi/horrorshow in which invading aliens can only kill you if you look at them. So keep your eyes wide shut.”
– Peter Travers, Rolling Stone
“Bullock gives her worried looks a workout and, in doing so, manages to steer this well clear of the car crash it might have been.”
– Emma Simmonds, The List
“Bullock’s in no-way-dimmed movie-star chops ably carry the film – she’s front and centre of pretty much every scene.”
– Dominic Corry, New Zealand Herald
“Bullock’s perf is the most interesting part of this familiar film.”
– Annie Brodie, What She Said

“Bird Box” is currently streaming on Netflix.

Watch the film’s trailer below.

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