Everybody – and I mean EVERYBODY – has seen BIRD BOX in the last few weeks. Okay, I have heard rumours that there are horror fans in the remotest reaches of Siberia who haven’t yet got around to it, but I refuse to give these stories credence. It seems that in places where Netflix is an unheard of commodity, whose name just sounds like a lot of randomly jammed together letters, the residents have still watched BIRD BOX.
And there’s a reason for that – it’s a really welldone thriller. Intensely gripping with great performances. Sandra Bullock has never been better; John Malkovich is doing what John Malkovich does, but few doit better; and I knew you were trouble from the moment you walked in, TomHollander. And, contrary to what some voices have said about it being a cop-outthat we don’t see the monster, I thought less being more truly worked. That’sthe lesson too few people take from JAWS. It’s not a film about a shark, it’s afilm about the threat of a shark.
Of course, the other reason BIRD BOX is so successful is that it’s not really that scary. Now I don’t mean that as a criticism. Undoubtedly, it’s edge of the seat stuff, but one that will rarely force you to jump out of that seat. As such it’s a great horror film to show to non-horror fans. It’s a wonderful introduction to horror.
My nieces (younger than 15) have watched it and enjoyed it and I’m sure for them – and their generation – it will be a formative experience. A proper gateway to horror, with a movie which didn’t scare them witless at the outset. And they will always look back on it fondly. As greater scares may be ahead, but you never forget that first time a film made you grab the sofa cushion just that bit tighter.
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