The idea is that some mysterious “entities,” never explained or shown, have suddenly popped up all over the world. They are so horrific that if you even glance at one of them, you will go insane and kill yourself and/or others. (Except for psychopaths, who love them and want everyone else to see them, too.)
It’s a goofy premise, of course, but if you can just go along with it, it’s fascinating to see how some people survive it … never daring to look at one. Holing up in houses with all the windows covered, wearing a blindfold if you have to venture outside, driving a car by GPS and proximity sensor (if you’re lucky enough to have one of those). It stars Sandra Bullock and John Malkovich. She has to get her two five-year-old children to a place of safety by rowing down a river … blindfolded. Pretty scary.
This is not in the league of Get Out as a horror movie, but we liked it. Horror is a pretty tough sell for me. I don’t scare easily in a movie, I’m a lot more inclined to laugh out loud. I’m not saying this scared me, it did not, but I didn’t laugh, either, which is a huge plus for me.
What surprised me is the number of reviews who just hated it. I mean, hated it to the point that they were actually angry that so many people liked it. I do believe that part of it was that it was such a gigantic success on Netflix, where it had 45 million views in the first week. Since Netflix doesn’t usually release those figures, every hater pointed out that they might be lying. I think they were more than “implying” that they were lying. Myself, I don’t give a damn if they were, and I don’t give a damn who hated it.
Look, I’m not saying it’s a masterpiece of horror. It’s not. An irony, to me, is that of the reviews I scanned, most of them brought up that horrible piece of shit, A Quiet Place, as an example of how a film should be made. And why do I hate A Quiet Place? Because it took a good start and a great premise and fucked it up with a stupid ending on the scale of the works of M. Night Shyamalan, the worst director currently working who can still get big funding for his brain droppings.
Have to say a word here about the “monsters.” It was no surprise to me that a couple of the producers insisted that you have to show them at some point. What a monumentally idiotic thing that would have been. In fact, they actually did make a monster, but they couldn’t use it because Sandra Bullock couldn’t play a scene with it without bursting out laughing. I’m so relieved. One of my Basic Principles of Horror in the Movies is that the moment you see the monster, it stops being scary. It can still be exciting as hell, but it’s not scary. Hence, Alien was scary; Aliens was not. They were both great, but the original was a horror movie, and the sequel was an adventure. Jaws was a terrifically scary movie until Bruce swam by the boat, then it became just exciting. (It would still be the same with today’s technology, rather than the rather primitive fish they designed and shot in 1975.) The thing you don’t see is scarier than the thing you do see! Once you’ve seen it, you can take the measure of it, and no matter how horrible it is you know what you’re dealing with.
Ask yourself this: What could they have possibly have put up on the screen that would convince you that if you saw that critter in life, you would go bugfuck bananas stark staring crazy and run amok, killing others and yourself? Nothing! Much less the totally run-of-the-mill disaster they cobbled up to satisfy those ignorant producers. (You can easily find a picture of it if you google “Bird Box monster.”) Yet there are many who insist that they feel cheated because they didn’t see these things. Jeez, friends. Why do I have to still be pointing out elementary stuff like this to people?
Oh, christ, one last thing. Many others felt cheated because we were not told what these beings were, and where they came from. I simply do not understand that. There are easily a dozen ideas I could come up with in ten minutes or so, totally hackneyed, totally boring. These things drive you crazy if you look at them. Demons from Hell? From the seventeenth dimension? Who gives a rat’s ass? Here they are, this is what they do, and don’t show them! End of story.