Kyle Lybeck's Literary Lair

Bird Box: A Tandem Book and Movie Review

Right now the huge draw for a lot of Netflix users is catching the latest blockbuster, Bird Box, based on the debut novel by Josh Malerman. Having bought the book a few years ago and unfortunately not having read it yet, I wanted to get that read before someone spoiled it for me, because damn near everyone is talking about the movie (which is awesome!). I made sure to read the book and watch the movie back to back so I could better set out with a nice compare and contrast review. That being said, I hope you enjoy!

Bird Box: The Novel

Out of nowhere, a worldwide phenomenon strikes every living person. Unseen creatures have invaded and any person whose eyes come into contact with them shockingly end their lives in violent suicide. Malorie, a pregnant woman who has just lost her sister to the creatures, finds a home where others have gathered to hide and survive. When food and supplies begin to run low, members of the house must venture out in the vast wasteland, blindfolded, in order to obtain necessary materials for them to keep themselves safe and alive. While Malorie was let inside, the group becomes more and more cautious, never knowing if the next person they let in could bring upon the end of their home, their sanctuary, and their lives.

Bird Box: The Movie, compare and contrast

While the premise is the same as the novel itself, there are glaring differences in the adaptation, some for the good, some for the bad. The novel itself I felt could become a little hard to follow in parts with the skipping around of the timelines. In the adaptation I felt like this was cleared up and streamlined a little bit more so that it was easier to follow. What got me about the movie, was that a few large scale happenings in the novel were either completely redone, or done in a way as to throw them into the background, which caused it to have no bearing on the survivors, whereas in the book it was a big deal. What those are I don't want to say, as to stay away from major spoilers of the plot, suffice to say it's noticeable. The suspense factor in the movie is definitely there, but I felt the way in which Josh writes the novel not only keeps the suspense higher, but also causes a claustrophobic nature throughout that draws you in. I feel like a lot of this is unfortunately lost in the movie.

Final Thoughts

Overall, are both good and worth it to either watch or read? Yes. Do both have some flaws? Yes. Could it have some comparisons to either The Happening or A Quiet Place? Sure, but at the same time Bird Box stands alone in a nice and different way. In the end though, I would have to say that the novel wins out in the realm of suspense and actually portraying an end of the world scenario a little better. If you are just going for the movie, I think you're going to have a fun time. But definitely check out the novel either way, because I personally feel like you may enjoy it more.

I would give the novel a B+ and the movie a B-. If a few things were a little different in the adaptation it would have received the same rating as the novel for me.

Written by Kyle Lybeck



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