Oakton Outlook

What’s the deal with Bird Box?

Kartik Mukalla, Staff Writer

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Netflix’s latest original movie has been driving people crazy on it, giving an impromptu marketing push and a surge in popularity for its star Sandra Bullock. But…Why?


Bird Box, on its own terms, seems like a pretty decent movie. It features a talented cast, led by a star turn from Sandra Bullock and Moonlight’s Trevante Rhodes, American Horror Story’s Sarah Paulson, and John Malkovich excelling in key supporting roles. The premise is quite interesting as well, and it has been compared to John Krasinski’s critically acclaimed A Quiet Place. The gist of the movie is that the world is invaded by monsters that infect one’s brain with dark thoughts, leading infected people to experience dark thoughts, eventually driving them into insanity, bouts of homicidal rage, and suicidal urges. The monsters work effectively as a horror device due to the fact that you can’t actually see them, and the carnage and unrest that they cause throughout the movie leaves the viewer scared at the mere implication of their presence. As a way to combat this, uninfected survivors cannot expose their eyes to the monsters, blindfolding themselves and using other tactics to prevent infection.

However, the interesting premise and talented cast falter when paired with its unfocused writing and uninteresting cinematography. Bird Box often looks like a TV movie, with uninspired camera angles and a drab color palette. Many characters, ranging from the supporting actors to even some of the main cast, make some downright dumb decisions, just for the sake of the plot. Released around the holiday season as well, it wasn’t exactly the most festive movie for people to watch with their family, with its explicit gore and dour theme.

So, how did a relatively decent horror flick released around Christmas-time rack up 45 million views on Netflix in its first week? There are a lot of reasons. For some reason, a lot of people loved it! Whether it was Sandra Bullock’s stoic performance, John Malkovich’s crazed performance as a Trump-esque leader of a group of survivors, or the brutal deaths suffered by many characters in creative ways, there were a lot of things to love from the movie despite its flaws. Some of the people that loved the movie were extremely famous, too. Kim Kardashian’s tweet, simply expressing her liking of the movie and relative ignorance to its viral popularity, was liked 182,000 times! CNN had a whole article about it, and went in-depth about Chrissy Teigen’s response!

In fact, something as simple as a scene involving Bullock’s character with a blindfold on clutching at the air was instantly created into a variety of memes and made viral, due to some funny alternate interpretations. Many humor pages all across Twitter had a field day with some hilarious screencaps from the movie, racking up thousands of likes and retweets. As mentioned before, legitimate news sources capitalized on the viral popularity of Bird Box, releasing articles and listicles about the best memes and moments from the movie for clicks and exposure.

Despite the fact that Bird Box would be a middling box office hit if it was released in theaters, the vicious cycle of Sandra Bullock, tweets, memes, and famous people launched Bird Box into a completely new realm unheard of for a Netflix release, and now, everybody and their grandmother has heard about it for better or worse. Time will only tell if Netflix will try to repeat its strategy of big names and viral moments to market its tentpole movies, and if they will succeed at the unprecedented level that Bird Box did.

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About the Writer
Kartik Mukalla, Staff Writer

Hi, I am Kartik Mukalla. I am a sophomore at Oakton High school and I am a staff writer at the Oakton outlook. Some hobbies of mine are creating music...

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What’s the deal with Bird Box?