Bird Box has been drawing comparisons to A Quiet Place, but despite some surface similarities, the two horror films are actually quite different. Since it was released in December, director Susanne Bier's Bird Box has become a hit for Netflix and a viral sensation, with clever and funny memes spreading around the Internet and some fans taking on the "Bird Box Challenge" (which is not encouraged by Netflix).

Directed, co-written, and starring John Krasinski, A Quiet Place also became a hit when it premiered in April 2018. Set in a post-apocalyptic world, the Abbott family headed by Lee (Krasinski) and his wife Evelyn (Emily Blunt) strive to survive in silence after the world has been invaded by alien creatures who savagely kill anything that makes a sound. Meanwhile, Bird Box stars Sandra Bullock as Malorie, a woman who tries to guide two five-year-old children to safety in a post-apocalyptic world where they must remain blindfolded or else they can fall victim to mysterious entities that will drive them to commit suicide.

Related: Bird Box's Ending & Monsters Explained

Both films utilize the end of the world to explore themes of survival and humanity, and both A Quiet Place and Bird Box force the audience to imagine themselves in these daunting scenarios, thereby asking hard questions about what you would do in the characters' places. But by looking deeper and listening a bit more closely, we can explore how deftly both films challenge the human condition in their own unique ways:

Sight Vs. Sound

Both A Quiet Place and Bird Box utilize deprivation of one of our five senses as the backbone of their horror scenario - although in A Quiet Place, it's the monsters who are blind. In Krasinski's film, humanity was wiped out by an invasion of sightless monsters that massacre anything that creates a sound. This forces the Abbott family to find a way to survive without making any kind of noise; a daunting challenge considering Lee and Evelyn are parents to young children. Indeed, A Quiet Place grippingly establishes the stakes early on by depicting how the Abbotts lose their youngest son, Beau, who is killed by a creature when playing with a toy spaceship that makes noise. The film also powerfully utilizes silence and trying to remain quiet at all times to escalate tension, making the occasional bursts of sound or the fleeting moments of conversation all the more effective.

Indeed, the titular bird box - birds Malorie keeps in a box because their chirping acts as an early warning system - would spell doom in A Quiet Place. However, as difficult as it might be to remain quiet at all times, Bird Box arguably one-ups A Quiet Place's gimmick by removing the ability to see. Bird Box compellingly conveys the frantic Malorie trying to transport her two children down a river to a possible sanctuary while all of them remain blindfolded. Their situation only worsens as they are attacked by an insane man, have to survive the river's rapids, and are even taunted to remove their blindfolds by Bird Box's unknown monsters' psychological attacks. Some of Bird Box's action sequences may stretch credibility, but Bullock provides someone to genuinely root for, which alleviates disbelief that Malorie is able to do the things she does while remaining blindfolded (the film also helps with a five-year time jump that infers Malorie has trained herself to survive without sight during that time).

Related: Bird Box Cast Guide: Where You Know The Actors From

Both films consider the challenges of losing one of our five senses, which is made immeasurably worse by the existence of malevolent monsters out to kill the characters, and both films also have rules that are a bit inconsistent and illogical. However, it's more important that Bird Box and A Quiet Place both contain the core belief that it's vital never to give up, not fall to despair, and to keep trying to survive because human life is worth fighting for no matter what, which is a key to why audiences have embraced both horror films.

Bird Box Is About Surviving; A Quiet Place Is About Living

Another major difference is how each film addresses how to live during the apocalypse. In Bird Box, Malorie, a woman who is already reluctantly pregnant when the world ends, has to learn that life is more than about mere survival. The film alternates between the "present" of Malorie's plight, to get her children to safety with the events of five years prior when a supernatural plague suddenly attacked humanity and drove nearly everyone to commit suicide. Malorie, who already suffered a difficult childhood with an abusive father, experiences horrific tragedy like the brutal suicide of her sister Jessica (Sarah Paulson) and the systematic deaths of the people she was living in a safe house with. Even before her lover, Tom (Trevante Rhodes), sacrificed himself to save her and the children from the people worshipping the unseen monsters, Malorie was a pessimist (or realist) who refused to name the children other than "Boy" and "Girl," because she didn't want to provide them with false hope of a life they would never be able to have. When they finally reached their sanctuary - a fortified school for the blind - Malorie learned to accept a sliver of hope at the end of Bird Box that she and her kids can live a better kind of life.

Related: A Quiet Place's Monsters & Ending Explained

Meanwhile, the Abbotts in A Quiet Place admirably refused to surrender their family to the apocalypse - and that choice to fight to preserve their family costs them dearly. After they lost Beau, the family is shown a year later having settled on a farm and carving out a life for themselves. Even with their numerous rules and precautions to prevent making sounds, the Abbotts had family dinners and attempted a form of domestic normalcy. Indeed, the central challenge of the film was the fact that Evelyn was pregnant and the Abbotts were going to attempt to raise a baby in this world. Despite their soundproof rooms and their preparations, the aliens invaded the Abbotts' farm, forcing Lee to make the ultimate sacrifice to save his family (not unlike Tom in Bird Box), leaving Evelyn alone with her three children. Although their deaf daughter Regan (Millicent Simmonds) discovered the monsters have a vulnerability they can exploit, A Quiet Place ends with a sense of doom for the family regardless as they've lost Lee and they seem ill-equipped to continue to survive - the opposite of Bird Box's more hopeful conclusion.

Page 2 of 2: More Differences Between Bird Box & A Quiet Place

A Quiet Place Doesn't Show Society's Collapse, But Bird Box Does

A Quiet Place takes place entirely after the world has fallen to aliens and the audience is only given slivers of clues as to how the world fell. This is mainly via the farmhouse's soundproof basement where Lee keeps his audio equipment and all of his research into the alien invasion. It's here that we learn the aliens arrived on Earth in waves of meteorites, that they are blind but extremely sensitive to sound, and how they use echo-location to hunt as bats do. The aliens also don't eat what they kill so if they don't need to kill to feed, they wiped out humanity and all animal life that make noise simply to make the planet more suitable for them. Regardless of how the invasion ended life as we know it on Earth, A Quiet Place uses it all as a backdrop and is entirely concerned with how the Abbott family attempts to live in this terrible near reality.

Related: A Quiet Place Would Have Been A Better Cloverfield Movie Than Paradox

Meanwhile, Bird Box creates a great deal of suspense by depicting the collapse of society through Malorie's eyes as she takes refuge with a handful of other survivors in a fortified house owned by Greg (BD Wong). The "five years ago" sequences comprise half of the film, and they're terrifying, especially the scenes of mass chaos and destruction with panicked people fleeing and violently dying in waves. Bird Box compellingly conveys how life as we know it quickly disintegrated thanks to the monsters. There are survival elements familiar to fans of The Walking Dead as Malorie, Tom, and others - like the drunken boor Douglas (John Malkovich) and the hapless Olympia (Danielle Macdonald), who is also pregnant - attempt to co-exist, forage for food, and try to survive as best they can, knowing resources will eventually run out. And like the AMC's hit zombie series, other people prove to be just as much of a threat to Malorie and her children as the supernatural creatures are.

Bird Box Doesn't Show The Monsters

Not unlike Steven Spielberg's Jaws, the monsters in A Quiet Place are only fleetingly shown until the third act when the beasts swarm the Abbott farmhouse and are seen in all of their monstrous glory. Some of the film's most frightening sequences involve the Abbotts coming face-to-face with the aliens, like a pregnant Evelyn trying not to make a sound in the bathtub as a beast stalks her. Ultimately, A Quiet Place is very clear about what the Abbotts are up against and we even learn that not only can they be killed, there could also be a way to exploit the aliens' weakness to sound and possibly defeat them once and for all - something A Quiet Place 2 will likely explore with other survivors.

Comparatively, Bird Box doesn't show the monsters at all, and we are given no clues as to how they can ultimately be beaten. (A scene showing the creatures was cut, possibly because Bullock said she laughed at the sight of it on set.) Keeping the enemy off-camera has frustrated some but others argue that it is also why Bird Box's is great. Malorie and the other survivors learn precious little about the monsters besides that looking at them provokes suicidal impulses that can't be ignored and they wade through speculation about ancient myths that could explain what type of supernatural creatures are. The character Gary (Tom Hollander) provides the film's only glimpse at the "beautiful" creatures he worships via charcoal drawings.

Despite their differences, the most important takeaway both A Quiet Place and Bird Box share is the unrelenting will to survive and undying love of their family epitomized by the characters played by John Krasinski, Emily Blunt, and Sandra Bullock. Whether they are robbed of their sight or their ability to utter a sound, both films showcase people who bravely face the apocalypse by embodying an indefatigable human spirit. They do everything - including sacrifice their very lives - out of love.

Next: How Netflix's Bird Box Sets Up A Sequel

Source:gamerant.com
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