Bird Box will be both on Netflix and in theaters this month. You’ll probably want to see it in a state of the art theater to experience the full scope of the film’s soundscape, or at least make sure you have a nice home theater setup.
In Bird Box, there is something in the sky so fearsome that if you look at it, you will kill yourself. So survivors like Malorie (Sandra Bullock) have to get around wearing blindfolds. That makes it especially difficult when she has to travel by river to a potential safe zone, with two children blindfolded in her canoe.
Because so much of Bird Box is about not being able to see, sound plays a vital role. Director Susanne Bier discussed the sound design at a Los Angeles press conference.
“They did amazing sound designs,” Bier said. “Then we looked at the movie and said, ‘We’ve got to pare it back.’ It was beautiful and potent and forceful and insane.”
In addition to the sound mix, Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross provide a score. The conflict between the score and the sound effects gave Bier a key to modulating the mix.
“Trent and Atticus kept very much to the emotional story and then sound design came and was this very forceful element,” Bier said.
“There was like a filter coming up where you suddenly stop connecting to the characters. I think this whole movie is such a conscious balance of the intimacy and following whatever is going on and then effects and craziness and dystopia.”
In the film, Malorie takes shelter in a house full of strangers. As Bloody-Disgusting readers all know from zombie movies, the infighting among the survivors is as important as the creatures trying to get in. So it couldn’t just be sensory overload of the creatures buzzing around.
“We ended up where we wanted to and where they wanted to but I think all of us were slightly fascinated by how much at times we were pushing back, as opposed to where I usually go,” Bier said. “I usually go, ‘More, more, more.’ Here we kind of went, ‘Less, less, less.’”
Bird Box comes to theaters and Netflix December 21.