Movie Review: Bird Box Barcelona
Netflix wisely chooses not to reinvent the wheel, instead giving viewers more of what made the original "Bird Box" a hit.
Sure, let’s do this again.
Some concepts, particularly within the horror genre, are sturdy enough that you can drop a new cast into an old story and kill two hours. There’s a reason there are so many “Saw” and “Purge” installments; once we establish the rules of the universe, we can pretty much just hang out there for as long as the viewers return.
“Bird Box” was an unlikely hit in 2018 and remains as one of Netflix’s earliest true movie successes. Its premise, for those who quickly forget streaming-movie plots (you know, everyone): Unexplainable monsters descend around the world. Anyone who sets their eyes on the beasts is immediately compelled to destroy themselves in some kind of inescapable, semi-religious rapture.
The original film didn’t explain precisely what the monsters were or offer much of any background; it didn’t need to. The drama came not from mythological explanations but from seeing how the game cast tried to survive the extreme circumstances.
The sequel, “Bird Box Barcelona,” hops continents but depicts the same time period; flashbacks help us cover the moment of the creatures’ arrival and about a year thereafter. No characters return; this is a lateral move, showing us how another set of folks responded to the apocalypse.
It’s a good move: Rather than depict established characters continuing their bid for survival, we go back to the more dramatic part of this story with a new crew. Our protagonist is no hero: Sebastián (Mario Casas) has seen the beasts but was not affected in the same way. Instead, he’s become convinced that the creatures are angels, and it is his job to shepherd others to them — a Pied Piper of the apocalypse.
It’s a bold narrative choice, as it makes the main character truly villainous (despite any sympathy we may have for his fractured mental state). We later meet two more wayward survivors — psychologist Claire (Georgina Campbell) and lost child Sofia (Nalia Schuberth) — who may be able to break through Sebastián’s fervor, but not before more lives are lost.
“Bird Box Barcelona,” like its predecessor, depicts a grisly what-if that will likely be too dark for some viewers. (I haven’t read the source novel, but I’ve heard it’s even more bleak.) Within that dreadful subject matter, though, there’s a compelling story presented well. This “Bird Box” may not quite capture the zeitgeist in the way that its predecessor did, but it’ll certainly rocket up the Netflix charts.
We didn’t even have Netflix charts when the first one premiered, by the way. Streaming has become busy.
My Rating: 7/10
“Bird Box Barcelona” is now streaming on Netflix.