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Bird Box Barcelona (2023) movie review

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Bird Box Barcelona (2023) movie review

Pastors’ screenplay (with Josh Malerman’s novel still an inspiration) skims the surface of grief. Their film says that the trauma caused by grief can make you lose your senses, destroy your logic, and maybe even make you go on a religious crusade. But this feeling is not deeply felt in any of the characters. Instead, we’re given their base-level tragedy and not much else. Outside of Sebastián, are any of them religious? Do they blame God for what happened? The film is in such a rush to create a fast track between Sebastián’s mission and this group of people that it doesn’t bother to make us care about them.

It doesn’t help that so much of the mystery and intrigue that accompanied the concept from the previous “Birdbox” evaporates here. Rather, the main goal is for these survivors to trace their way through Barcelona to a set of gondolas that will take them to Montjuic Castle, where the survivors are rumored to be hiding. Sofia’s mother may even be among them.

Along the way, Sebastian must, of course, confront his faith. But this internal conflict lacks dramatic tension. The same can be said for the horror aspect. “Bird Box Barcelona” is cut with sure hands by editors Luis de la Madrid and Martí Roca and shot with a watchful eye by cinematographer Daniel Aranyó, but there’s a general lack of shocks. That bite is missing even in the film’s final race to the gondola, where Sebastián and the survivors must confront the head of this doomsday cult. Its leader, a bearded man with a third eye in his hand, is so barely sketched that he might as well be a figment of Sebastián’s mind.

There is nothing intrinsically wrong with Pastors’ film. It’s competently made with the overall sheen you’d expect from a bigger budget. Still, you’re left scratching your head at what another sequel could deliver that this one clearly couldn’t. No one in this cast is as dynamic as Bullock, nor is anything as conceived as in the previous film. If seeing is believing, “Bird Box Barcelona” doesn’t have much to show.

On Netflix tomorrow, July 14th.

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