The end of the world is an incredibly terrifying concept. The fact that our very way of living could come to an end in the blink of an eye, is simply haunting. Many of us will struggle if our way of living drastically changes. Living without electricity, and having to provide food and water for ourselves are all things we would never dream of, and a world we are simply petrified to be a part of. Likewise and perhaps most importantly, living in a society with no laws that help keep society in place would be a hellscape to live in. Just take a look at the Purge movies. A bleak start to the review sure, but it’s very difficult to keep the tone light when discussing the end of the world.
For decades, Hollywood has explored the idea of the apocalypse and how it would impact the world, society ,and the people who are unfortunate enough to survive Armageddon. Whether it’s through a viral outbreak, an alien invasion, a robot uprising or a natural disaster, we have seen countless movies depict the end of the world. Some to great effect, and some not so much. One that was sadly a little underwhelming was Netflix’s 2018 horror/thriller Bird Box. Sure, it was a colossal success, but that doesn’t particularly make it a great movie. The concept was fascinating and brutal, and the cast was fantastic. However, this post-apocalyptic movie didn’t really come together as much as we had hoped, and the mixed reviews for Bird Box indicated that.
To our, and perhaps everyone’s surprise, Netflix will release the second installment of the Bird Box franchise, Bird Box: Barcelona, on July 14th. You would be easily forgiven for not getting your hopes up for said spin-off, especially after the first movie in the franchise, which released less than five years ago. However, Bird Box: Barcelona offers a far more tense and deeper look into the post-apocalyptic world of Bird Box. The spin-off delves into various aspects of the film’s universe, focusing on cults and expanding on the still mysterious creatures that tore the world apart. On top of that, the movie’s cast is fantastic, and the cinematography is stunning, with some very creepy imagery.
A Terrifying Post-Apocalyptic World
Audiences are immediately hurled into the violent and bleak Bird Box world, as we follow Sebastián (Mario Casas) and his daughter Anna (Alejandra Howard) who attempt to survive in a world full of creatures who can manipulate the poor victims that look upon them, into killing themselves. How? We don’t know. But it’s a terrifying concept which Bird Box: Barcelona doesn’t hold back on.
The deaths are brutal yet incredibly creative, with one unfortunate soul forcing their face onto a spinning tire. Yet, what truly elevates this spin-off, is the movie’s creepy imagery. As the characters wade through the dystopian world with blindfolds covering their eyes, audiences bear witness to a world where decaying bodies lay to rest in the background of many shots. Most were hung, some smashed their heads through car windows, but two specifically horrible and disturbing deaths include someone eating rat poison and the other drowning themselves in a bath. We never saw these deaths on-screen, but as our main characters search for supplies with these corpses laying in the background, the tension dramatically heightens. The imagery is dark, disturbing, and ever so bleak, which in turn enhances the terrifying world of Bird Box.
A Surprising Focus on Religion and Beliefs
Perhaps one of the more surprising and refreshing aspects to Bird Box: Barcelona is its focus on religious beliefs and how individuals can be easily manipulated by certain ideologies. Bird Box: Barcelona’s main plot device is that there’s more to be frightened of than the creatures — specifically and unsurprisingly, humans (that was always George A. Romero’s point, after all). These human antagonists who work as a cult, who essentially serve the creatures, they believe that by luring poor souls to their death, and forcing them to look upon the creatures, they are setting these souls free from the dystopian world. This is probably hogwash.
In turn, almost similar to the Biblical Rapture, many who lived within the world of Bird Box believed that these creatures were actually angels sent from God himself, to cleanse those who still live in the post-apocalyptic world. An idea which began by one religious and stubborn individual, like how every cult is started. They believe what they are doing is for the “greater good” when in actual fact they are just murdering other survivors.
The creatures of the Bird Box universe are still shrouded in mystery; any descriptions of said creatures are all theories, rumors and distorted beliefs. During a seminal moment in the film, our characters discuss what the creatures look like. Diego Calva’s character begins to monologue, theorizing that these beings have changed and adapted overtime, mentioning that they now take the forms based on the individual. Using their fears, grief and pain against them.
Georgina Campbell’s character then goes on to question that “some people see aliens, others see demons?” The fact that the Bird Box creatures are still a mystery is fascinating, keeping this post-apocalyptic world alive and making audiences want to come back for more. Bird Box: Barcelona’s depiction and theories of said creatures was refreshing, and kept on topic of the movie’s religious themes.
The cast of 2018s Bird Box was brilliant. The likes of Sandra Bullock, Sarah Paulson, John Malkovich, Lil Rel Howery, and of course Machine Gun Kelly made 2018s Bird Box far more engaging. However, some of the performances were a little underwhelming. Thankfully, Bird Box: Barcelona once again overshadows its predecessor with its cast and their exceptional performances. Mario Casas delivered an enthralling and powerful performance as a grieving father who battles with his beliefs and morals.
Likewise, Georgina Campbell and Diego Calva are at the top of their game. Campbell’s character is confident, caring, and always puts others first even during the end of the world. A shining beacon of hope for humanity, she is nonetheless a badass, which Georgina Campbell plays brilliantly. Diego Calva was fantastic and, although it was a smaller role, Calva’s acting chops certainly make his character stand out above the rest.
While you can’t see the monsters of Bird Box, you can and absolutely should see Bird Box: Barcelona when it comes to Netflix July 14th.