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Don’t Take Off Your Blindfold

The new Netflix original Birdbox is taking over the internet

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Don’t Take Off Your Blindfold

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Birdbox was released the 21st of December, the last day of school before Christmas break.

With over 45 million views the first week it was released, it’s safe to say that the movie dominated Netflix over the break.

The conflict our protagonist Mallorie (played by Sandra Bullock) faces is an entity taking over the country. This entity causes people to kill themselves via the nearest possible way upon sight of it

At the time of the initial attack on Mallorie’s town, she and her sister are on the way back from Mallorie’s doctor appointment. This is because Mallorie is pregnant.

While the nervous and uneasy new mother is somewhat of a cliche, it somehow works for Mallorie given the situation that she’s thrown into. The fact that it’s going to be hard enough for her to connect with her children (as stated by Mallorie early in the movie) is amplified when she’s forced to go full survival mode.

This uneasy feeling Mallorie has definitely helps the movie, because eventually we’ll see her dramatic character development. The fact that she started here will eventually make the viewer proud of Mallorie for how far she’s come.

One of the first things you see in the movie is Mallorie talking to two kids about what they need to do to survive the trip down the river. It’s necessary they do this because they have to get to the school for the blind where everyone that hasn’t yet been killed is.

Then it cuts back to Mallorie and her sister, Mallorie being pregnant.

In the beginning, the flashbacks are rather confusing, seeing as the audience does not know why any of this is happening. That made the introduction a bit annoying and added unnecessary difficulty when it came to following the story.

However the flashbacks definitely add to the quality of the movie later in the film.

Mallorie and quite a few other characters end up getting stuck in a house together at the time of the attack. Those characters are Greg, Lucy, Felix, Douglas (the actual owner of the house), Charlie, Tom, and eventually Gary.

During the present day scenes, nobody is in the house except for Mallorie and the two kids.

This leaves you with an underlying dread, because you know somehow all of these characters are going to eventually die. It’s almost like the feeling you get when a serial killer is walking up behind an oblivious character in a horror movie, but more dread than terror.

However, this begs the question “Why are there two kids in the house? Isn’t Mallory only pregnant with one?”

Well, later on in the film, a character named Olympia is introduced. She comes to the house crying outside the door. Douglas is rightfully skeptical of letting her in, especially since his wife died earlier in the movie trying to help Mallorie. However, Tom lets her in.

It is then revealed that Olympia is also pregnant, and the mystery is solved.

One of the two children in the present day scenes must be Olympia’s.

This is only further confirmed when the movie cuts back to present day again. The little girl looks exactly like Olympia.

It was creative how they revealed this. The way you have to figure out little things yourself throughout the movie really keeps the viewer’s attention throughout the duration of the film. It’s definitely confusing in the beginning, however the cuts to present day are worth it in the end.

There is one present day cut that really makes your stomach drop and your heart break.

Mallorie and Olympia are talking to each other on a bed when Mallorie reveals she got a gift for Olympia’s daughter after their supply run to the store. It’s a plush Hello Kitty doll.

Mallorie says that she can give it to her daughter herself when she’s old enough.

Then it cuts to present day. Olympia’s daughter holds the Hello Kitty doll in the boat with Mallorie and her son.

This occurs before anything happens to Olympia, so that feeling of dread increases. However now it hurts your heart because you know this little girl’s mother is dead.

You’re left with a lingering feeling of anticipation. This also keeps the viewer’s attention throughout the movie.

To bring it back to Olympia, she’s also a rather commonplace character that fits the story.

She’s a big softie that thinks with her heart and not her mind. This is evident when another man named Gary comes to the door of the house, begging to be let inside.

Olympia remembers what it was like to be on the other side of that door, so naturally she lets him inside.

Gary turns out to be a psycho, and eventually gets Olympia to look at the entity outside.

This leads to Olympia killing herself.

The reason Olympia’s character works is because she represents how in life and death situations, being nice and looking out for others can get you killed.

When Olympia dies you get that “she had it coming, it was bound to happen eventually” and that “she didn’t deserve this” feeling at the same time. Almost like a deer getting shot by a hunter.

Olympia is really just a big metaphor for what happens to nice people in life or death situations, and it works beautifully in the film.

Gary ultimately played to Olympia’s soft side, which is why he was able to kill her.

Let’s talk about Gary for a second. When he first entered the house, he explained how the people of a nearby asylum had just escaped, and none of them were affected by the entity.

As a matter of fact, they were trying to force other people’s eyes open.

Gary ended up being one of those psychos, as later determined by his drawings of spirit like creatures that looked like they came straight from Hell, and his killing of multiple people in the house.

This caused some confusion. Why were the mentally ill made the second hand villains? Did the entity have a reverse impact on them?

Were Gary’s drawings what the entity(s) looked like?

It was briefly discussed that people that were killing themselves looked like they got an overwhelming tide of sadness and depression (like Mallorie’s sister), even if they were not previously depressed.

However that’s brought up literally once. They didn’t even try to figure out

Is that why the mentally ill became extremely happy when the entity attacked?

There was even a point where the entity was heard by Douglas’s wife and Mallory. There’s also a scene where the entity is telling the kids to take off their blindfolds. That’s another thing that never gets brought up again.

Is the entity not actually seen, but heard? Are the blindfolds to prevent the characters from seeing the nearest way to kill themselves?

There’s also the entity itself. We still know absolutely nothing about it, even after the movie ends. Where did it come from? What does it look like? Is there any way to get rid of it?

These are all many questions left unanswered by the movie. Whether it’s an attempt to set up for a sequel or not, it’s annoying nonetheless.

Birdbox obviously draws many comparisons to A Quiet Place, given the sensory deprivation.

However, there are many things that make the two movies different.

At the end of capitalize it’s figured out how the monsters can be defeated. We also know what the monsters look like in A Quiet Place.

A Quiet Place is also focused on a family, while Birdbox brings a bunch of strangers together.

The last thing I want to talk about is the character development we see in Mallorie from the beginning of the movie to the end of the movie.

In the beginning, it’s pretty obvious that Mallorie is not looking forward to being a mother. She already has a hard enough time connecting with people, and now she has to connect with a baby.

Once Mallorie’s sister dies, we see an almost immediate attitude shift. She starts to realize that life is not something to be taken for granted.

The other dramatic character development in Mallorie happens when she gets close to Olympia.

When Mallorie starts spending time with Olympia, she really starts to see how excited Olympia is to become a mother. Olympia is also super sweet and empathetic, and Mallorie is almost jealous.

Once the two of them give birth and Olympia is killed by Gary, Mallorie steps up to take care of Olympia’s daughter. That’s because Olympia asked her to a while back.

Mallorie knows how sweet and caring of a mother Olympia would have been, so she tries her best to make up for that as she raises the children.

Although she is definitely not a perfect Olympia substitute at first, she tries by showing the kids survival skills. However, she won’t even let the kids call her mom at first.

During the scene where  Mallorie and the kids have to get out of the boat to get to the school for the blind, and the kids are tempted to take off their blindfolds by the creatures. It’s here we see genuine panic within Mallorie, and that’s when you know that she really cares about these children.

While I do not know if it was just Sandra Bullock’s incredible acting skills that made the character work, Mallorie is certainly a character that makes an impact on the viewer.

Overall, Birdbox is definitely worth checking out. While it may not have the absolute cleanest writing, it keeps your attention the entire movie. It’s got a great concept, along with some really incredible actors, and it’s absolutely worth the watch.

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