Sandra Bullock stars in this tense and unnerving Netflix thriller directed by Danish film-maker Susanne Bier (The Night Manager).

Unlike many Netflix-exclusive films, it's very easy to picture Bird Box as a big mainstream studio release (or at least the kind of film the big studios used to release): it's a classy, elevated genre film with a heavyweight cast.

Although the chronology jumps around a bit, the film essentially chronicles what happens when a mysterious force suddenly appears and causes anyone who sees it to instantly and violently kill themselves.

Sandra Bullock plays Malorie, one of a group of people holing up in a house owned by Douglas (John Malkovich) as civilisation crumbles around them. Also in the house are Tom (Moonlight's Trevante Rhodes), Charlie (Get Out's Lil Rel Howery) and Cheryl (Aussie actress Jacki Weaver) among others. Conflict inevitably arises within the group, most pointedly over how to treat other survivors.

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This allows the film to explore how compassion can contradict a survival instinct as it debates what we owe our fellow humans. It builds up to a perilous journey Malorie must undertake while blindfolded to ensure she doesn't fall prey to the mysterious force.

As the peril here is sense-centric, many have already compared this film to A Quiet Place, but I think Bird Box is even better than the John Krasinski/Emily Blunt hit, which feels relatively simplistic next to this.

Bullock's in no-way-dimmed movie-star chops ably carry the film – she's front and centre of pretty much every scene. There's a lot of talent in the supporting cast as well. It's particularly satisfying to see Malkovich sink his teeth into his meatiest role in years.

Cast:

Sandra Bullock, Sarah Paulson, John Malkovich

Director:

Susanne Bier

Running time:

124 mins

Verdict:

A thoughtful and gripping end-of-the-world thriller.