Bird Box and Hold the Dark: Looking at things in the face or not
19 January 2019
Bird Box, directed by Susanne Bier, screenplay by Eric Heisserer, based on the novel by Josh Malerman; Hold the Dark, directed by Jeremy Saulnier, screenplay by Macon Blair, based on the novel by William Giraldi
Bird Box, directed by Susanne Bier, is an apocalyptic science fiction film based on the 2014 eponymous novel by Josh Malerman.
Netflix began streaming the film on December 21 and, a week later, reported that Bird Box had the largest seven-day viewership, 45 million accounts, of any of its original productions. The company later said that Bier’s film had been viewed by some 80 million households in the month following its release. The movie, in other words, with a good deal of media and corporate encouragement, has become something of a “phenomenon.”
In Bird Box’s opening sequence, Malorie (Sandra Bullock), blindfolded, is rowing a boat down a river with two small children, whose eyes are also covered.
The film then jumps back five years. A sullenly pregnant Malorie and her sister Jessica (Sarah Paulson) listen to the news, which informs them that the “streets are crowded with people escaping cities by car and on foot as witnesses report unexplained mass suicides. First recorded in Romania, there’s now an alarming spread of incidents into Europe and Siberia.” (In contemporary Hollywood’s “shorthand,” it might be noted in passing, eastern Europe and Russia have now become the source of virtually all evil.)
Soon the terror becomes global. Apparently, we learn later, some alien entity has invaded Earth. Gazing at the mysterious, all-pervasive being is lethal for both mind and body, driving most victims to kill…