Is Internet-Breaking Thriller Bird Box a Deserving Horror Phenom – Or Just Trash?

On one hand, Trevante Rhodes. On the other...that ridiculous post-apocalyptic glam.

by | January 3, 2019 | Comments

Bird Box Credit: Netflix
(Photo by Netflix)

Move over, “Is Die Hard a Christmas movie?” The internet’s hottest new debate is about the Netflix movie that launched a thousand memes, Bird Box.

The thriller stars Sandra Bullock as a woman tasked with ushering a pair of young, cherubic children over the river and through the woods. The catch? They’re blindfolded the whole time to protect themselves against supernatural entities that cause your death if you see them.

In addition to inspiring people around the world to blindfold themselves and grievously injure their bodies in the name of memes — Netflix had to issue a warning against participating in the “Bird Box Challenge” because it is 2019 and we’re all doin’ it for the ‘gram, even if it’ll cause us to trip over furniture and give ourselves massive bruises — the film has also sparked serious debate about whether or not it is actually a good movie.

Just search “Bird Box” on Twitter to find the extremely divided discourse. It’s an argument that has spread to the Rotten Tomatoes staff, too, with some passionately pro and some vehemently against the film as a whole. In fact, we got so heated about it that we’ve outlined the two main arguments below. The Tomatometer is split: The movie is sitting at 62%.

Help us settle another movie debate: Is Bird Box a suspenseful masterpiece, or just a boring, two-hour-long setup for memes? Below, we present an argument representing each side of the debate from a passionate RT staffer, but it’s up to you to make the call. Read on and vote below!

Yes, Bird Box Is A Terrifying, Claustrophobic Masterpiece

Bird Box Credit: Netflix
(Photo by Netflix)

There’s a reason we’re entering 2019 with scraped knees and black eyes: Bird Box challenge! And there’s a reason we’re covering our eyes like fools and navigating the twists and turns of our own homes: Bird Box! Susanne Bier’s masterful little shocker is every bit as good as A Quiet Place — there, we said it — a suspense flick with a masterful conceit, killer set pieces, and something to say. What elevates Bird Box, however, are the performances: Sandra Bullock is incredibly compelling as the tough Malorie (“Boy! Girl!”) while John Malkovich keeps things tense in the house with big globs of smarmy menace. Also, Bird Box has just confirmed that Trevante Rhodes, whom many of us first met in Moonlight, is a superstar in the making (and that bod, though). The true measure of a horror flick is whether it sticks in the memory, if its disturbing imagery and spine-shattering scares linger. And by that measure — at least, going by the Internet — Bird Box is a classic.

No, Bird Box is an Overrated, Scare-Free Mess

Bird Box Credit: Netflix
(Photo by Netflix)

There’s a reason we entered 2019 scratching our heads and going, “huh?” The Internet had been hijacked by a new Netflix flick called Bird Box and frankly, we just didn’t get it. Because… Bird Box is actually terrible. Full respect to director Susanne Bier, who’s done some really great stuff in the past, but the movie feels like it was made by someone wearing a blindfold. There’s almost zero suspense — how did they manage to botch even the scene with the car sensors! — and the central threat is about as menacing as The Happening’s threatening vegetation. When anything like tension starts to creep in, we’re suddenly back on the river for cinema’s most tedious white water rafting adventure. And don’t get us started on Bullock’s post-apocalyptic hair and makeup — impeccable and totally confounding. The only thing scary about Bird Box is the strong likelihood of a sequel.

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