"Bird Box Barcelona holds extremely well as a drama-horror film and is worth investing your time in."
BY ROMEY NORTON JULY 14, 2023
Bird box Barcelona is a Spanish instalment of the 2018 film Bird Box, it isn’t so much a sequel or prequel but a parallel story. In this film the deadly virus has spread across Europe. Through the streets of Barcelona, Sebastian must navigate his way to safety after the mysterious force has wiped out half the population.
The film begins with a father and daughter roller-skating in what looks like an abandoned area, when they hear a noise they panic for their backpacks and goggles. Instead of a monster they’re attacked by blind people, who steal their supplies. This, and the dark green and heavy blue cinematography, let us know that we’re in a post-apocalyptic world where the only thing you can do is survive.
I find the concept of the story compelling, and it has so much scope and promise to create tension and fear for the audience. The whole film has a decent pace and amount of action, which I think Bird Box lacked. The concept of the virus is so interesting as it can be seen as a reflection on human society now; through modern media we’re able to see much more than ever before, and mental illness and suicides are higher than ever before. Bird Box Barcelona is suggesting we need to stop looking in order to survive.
When they “see” the virus, the person commits suicide and their soul is sucked out. It doesn't affect Sebastian, and he begins acting like a prophet who must collect enough souls to be reunited with his dead wife and daughter. (His wife's death really annoyed me, it was basic and left little to the imagination. A classic hit by a car cliché and it could have had such a more dramatic impact - like the daughters).
Sebastian’s character is an interesting one. I both liked and disliked him, because he’s so flawed and broken in his beliefs and decisions, it was obvious he would have a journey of self-discovery and retribution, but I really wanted him to stay the bad guy believing he was doing good. Mario Casas gives an excellent performance as Sebastian, and reminds me of Matt Damon. His character has a lot of battles to face, and Casas portrays this with a fierce passion, and importantly, it’s believable.
Now whilst there were positives to Brid Box Barcelona, I think the whole ending for Sebastian was weak. The crazy cult coming after Sebastian felt forced; the virus is strong enough as something to be feared, that the latter wasn’t necessary. Claire and Sophia reach the safe haven, where we learn about “seers” which is what we learn Sebastian was - potentially done for a sequel.
Overall, I do think Brid Box Barcelona is worth watching. Even though it has a very similar structure to Bird Box with its dual timelines, it's a more effective horror. Whilst parts were predictable there was still enjoyment in the suspense of what could happen. I appreciated the fact that it kept the virus as invisible; as it keeps the virus as a mystery. Without an A-list star to carry and sell the film, Bird Box Barcelona holds extremely well as a drama-horror film and is worth investing your time in.