Bird Box Barcelona
The spin-off film to 2018’s cultural sensation Bird Box, Bird Box Barcelona expands upon the world established in Josh Malerman’s novel in which invisible creatures (whether they’re aliens or Lovecraftian cosmic horrors) have invaded the planet and cause those who look at them to kill themselves. With nothing to do with Malerman’s own sequel, Barcelona is very much its own thing, telling its own story with a new set of characters set on an entirely different continent. By delving deeper into this monster-filled world, writer-director duo David and Álex Pastor pave the way for more anthology-like entries into this universe. However, while their film introduces some interesting ideas during this grander adventure, Barcelona falls disappointingly short in its execution.
Taking place thousands of miles from Sandra Bullock’s Malorie, the basic plot follows new protagonist Sebastian (Mario Casas) who joins up with another group of survivors as they travel across the titular city to reunite a small girl (Naila Schuberth) with her mother, facing threats both supernatural and human along their way. But Sebastian has ulterior motives and plots against the rest of the group. The wolf in sheep’s clothing premise is a refreshing change of pace from the first feature, and offers moments of effective tension, especially in an early sequence where the character’s motivations are revealed. Sebastian’s goals likewise tie into the broader themes of faith and give a possible insight into what the creatures could be.
In keeping with the more ambitious premise, the production is much bigger too. Action scenes are more extravagant, the sets are larger, and the kills are gnarlier. But bigger doesn’t necessarily mean better in this case. Despite the Pastors’ intriguing new concepts and more polished production, the filmmakers aren’t quite able to fit the pieces together into a slick package. Following a taut opening act, the pacing slows to a crawl as the plot trundles along towards its climax. Furthermore, the script doesn’t manage to accomplish anything worthwhile with its morally ambiguous protagonist or its half-baked ruminations on faith.
While Barcelona aims to expand upon the world of Bird Box by bringing some new elements to the table, the flat execution consequently results in this spin-off feeling unsatisfyingly shallow.
Bird Box Barcelona is released on Netflix on 14th July 2023.
Watch the trailer for Bird Box Barcelona here: