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Netflix's 'Bird Box' Draws Mixed Reviews From Critics

Bird Box has quickly becomes Netflix's most successful movie launch ever, but critically, things could be better.

The Sandra Bullock-starring thriller has received a wide array of reactions from fans and writers, but it seems that critical views on the film has its fair share of negativity.

Rotten Tomatoes has the film currently sitting at a 66 percent score. That is enough to earn a fresh rating, but its flirting with the 60 percent marking means its rotten. There have been 99 reviews thus far, with 65 being positive and 34 being negative. The average critic rated it a 5.9 out of 10.

To compare, the audience reaction is less harsh. Its Rotten Tomatoes audience score is 73 percent. Out of the 2,279 user ratings, the average viewer rated it a 3.9 out of 5.

The positives come from critics impressed by the combination of Susanne Bier's direction, Bullock's performance and the scoring by composers Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross.

"Thanks to the rich source material, the innovative directing work by the accomplished Danish filmmaker Susanne Bier, the razor-sharp screen adaptation by Eric Heisserer (Arrival, Lights Out), a stunningly effective score from the Oscar-winning duo of Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross (The Social Network) and the uniformly excellent performances by one of the deepest casts seen in any film this year, this is an unexpected late-December gift," writes Richard Roeper from the Chicago Sun-Times. "Sandra Bullock delivers one of her best performances."

The Irish Times' Tara Brady writes, "Bird Box may be a nest of familiar apocalyptic tropes, but with an excellent ensemble, a haunting score from Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross, and Academy Award winning director Susanne Bier at the helm, it rarely feels like every other societal collapse picture. Together, Bier and Bullock have created a challenging depiction of motherhood."

However, many detractors of the film disagree regarding the strength of the motherhood message of Bird Box, including The Mary Sue's Kate Gardner.

"The metaphors, unfortunately, don’t work supremely well," Gardner wrote. "While A Quiet Place functioned fairly well as an examination of the lengths we will go to protect our family, and Hereditary spoke on generational trauma, the children don’t play nearly as large a role in this. The film is more about acceptance of motherhood in extreme circumstances, but again, the film focuses more on the before part that the motherhood is more of an afterthought, tacked onto the end to make the film have a message."

That criticism ties into another harping point about the film. Some think that Bird Box's script cannot be saved by the direction, score or even the performances by Bullock and co-stars Sarah Paulson, Trevante Rhodes and John Malkovich, among others.

"No one gets a backstory. They simply arrive with one personality trait – Paulson’s character really likes horses, [Danielle Macdonald] is a wannabe Disney princess – or in (Machine Gun) Kelly’s case, ominous camerawork that shoots him like a slasher villain for no reason at all," The Guardian's Amy Nicholson writes. " At the end of the film, you don’t feel moved to hoot for any of the individual performances – but you’re tempted to applaud the casting director."

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Bird Box is now streaming on Netflix.

Photo Credit: Netflix / Merrick Morton