Bird Box

Movie review by
Renee Schonfeld, Common Sense Media
Bird Box Movie Poster Image
Popular with kidsParents recommend
Violent sci-fi thriller has chaos, gory deaths, swearing.
  • R
  • 2018
  • 124 minutes

Parents say

age 14+
Based on 49 reviews

Kids say

age 13+
Based on 117 reviews

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We think this movie stands out for:

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

Demonstrates the power of parental commitment and bravery. In the face of monstrous evil, humanity has the potential to survive.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Heroine is loyal, courageous, compassionate, and perseveres; back story shows her evolution as a formidable, loving parent. Ethnic diversity throughout.


Suspense and fear play throughout. Although monstrous creatures or beings are unseen, their presence (seen and heard only as raging wind) incites mayhem, pandemic suicide and deaths, gore, and destruction. Many deaths take place in close-up shots: (i.e., scissors to neck; car explosion, point-blank shooting). Bodies, some bloody, are strewn in multiple settings, from a variety of violent causes. Children are in danger from unseen monsters on a river with turbulent rapids, human predators. 


A naked couple is briefly seen having sex. The main character and her lover kiss, embrace, and begin to make love.


Profanity includes multiple instances and forms of: "f--k," "s--t," "a--hole," "goddamn," "hell," and more.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Some alcohol is consumed; one principal character drinks heavily, gets drunk.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Bird Box is a violent, suspense-filled, often-gory end-of-the-world movie about a woman (Sandra Bullock) and two children who are trying to survive a presence that causes anyone who looks directly at it to commit suicide in gruesome ways. While the "presence" is never seen, its existence results in many gory, blood-soaked sequences. There are shootings, stabbings, hideous accidents, zombie-like humans in attack mode, fiery explosions, and more. Plus, the main characters are in dire peril as they undertake a long, harrowing ride down a river -- while blindfolded. You can also expect frequent swearing, including "f--k," "s--t," "a--hole," and more. A nude couple is briefly glimpsed having sex, and a loving couple kisses and embraces. Characters drink, one very much to excess. Based on a novel by Josh Malerman, this thriller/horror film isn't for kids.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Parent of a 11 and 12-year-old Written byDylan1226 January 3, 2019

Not for kids on any level...

My 12-year-old came home from school yesterday after the Christmas Break and said that everybody at school was talking about this movie and how great it was.... Continue reading
Parent of a 12-year-old Written byF. P. December 30, 2018

One Very Short Sex Scene around 35:00 mark

Not really scary as much creepy. As noted there is gore, language and one 2 second sex scene around the 35:00 mark.
Teen, 14 years old Written byreecespbcups31 September 11, 2020

Good for teens who are ok with graphic stuff

It was pretty graphic and I’m scarred from some of the stuff that I saw. If ur 14+ and ok with graphic stuff then it’s ok for you. There is a lot of talk about... Continue reading
Teen, 14 years old Written byDogmoosecat April 17, 2020

It is amazing

It might me a little scary at
Parts, but overall a great movie!

What's the story?

Painter Malorie (Sandra Bullock), mid-pregnancy and unsure about becoming a mother, is thrust into a global nightmare in BIRD BOX. A deadly force threatens the planet. Unseen but lethal -- anyone who looks in its direction is impelled to commit suicide by any means -- the evil presence is destroying the population. Chaos prevails. Blindfolds, as protection, take center stage. Finding interim refuge in a house inhabited by other desperate people, Malorie gives birth. Her housemates include: Douglas (John Malkovich, an alcoholic prophet of doom; Cheryl (Jackie Weaver), a resilient senior; an unsophisticated Olympia (Danielle Macdonald); and Tom (Trevante Rhodes), who may be the one person Malorie can count on. Director Susanne Bier intercuts the cataclysmic events to which one after another of the principals fall victim, with scenes five years in the future when Malorie and two children, Boy (Julian Edwards) and Girl (Vivien Lyra Blair) race down a river in a final, valiant attempt to survive.

Is it any good?

Sandra Bullock, sympathetic and a force of nature here, in combination with other solid performances, terrific direction, and abundant blindfolds, makes a conventional tale suspenseful and effective. Though the filmmakers have attempted to provide some degree of optimism by the end of Bird Box, the five years during which nothing has been able to stem the onslaught of the terror isn't very reassuring. Suspension of disbelief is a necessity, as is not looking too closely at some of the plot elements; however, the unceasing tension and rooting interest for the heroic folks makes it a thrilling ride -- only for mature teens and grown-ups.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the violence in Bird Box. The actual monster/creature/presence is never seen in this movie. How did the filmmakers let you know it was near? Why was it as scary, or even scarier, than seeing a visual image? What is the impact of media violence on kids

  • How does Bird Box illustrate such character strengths as courage, perseverance, teamwork?

  • What's the difference between an "end-of-the-world" movie and a "dystopian" movie? Why do you think both genres appeal to audiences, especially teens? What are your favorites?

Movie details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love thrills

Character Strengths

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