Birdbox became a massive hit for Netflix in 2018, not just in terms of viewership but in the way it seemed to capture people’s imagination. Where most Netflix films disappear into the algorithm, the sight of a blindfolded Sandra Bullock leading children from unseen horrors stayed with movie fans. Enter, Birdbox Barcelona…
A sequel was inevitable, but interestingly the streamer has chosen to expand the world. Nine months after the events of the first film, Sebastián (Mario Casas) and his daughter Anna (Alejandra Howard) join survivors travelling through a ruined Barcelona, trying to evade the monsters that, once looked upon, make victims kill themselves.
The first in a number of planned spin-offs that will take the Birdbox concept all over the world, what’s immediately obvious is how closely it sticks to the original format. From the set up
to the layering of timelines, so much of this feels like the same story in a different setting. There are some gloriously chilling moments, such as a sequence on a bus that takes your breath away, and the film’s primal fear still lingers as you beg the characters to keep their eyes covered. It just isn’t vastly different from Susanna Bier’s film, which leads to less-than favourable comparisons.
Casas, best known to Hollywood audiences for biopic The 33, brings some conflict and humanity to his lead that distinguishes him from his predecessors. However, this can’t prevent Birdbox Barcelona from feeling like a well-made bonus adventure.