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Josh Malerman – Bird Box review


Bear with me while I make a comparison.

Right about the time M. Night Shyamalan started dialing it in, he put a movie out called The Happening.  The film was loaded with potential but fell flat with a—dare I say—Stephen Kingish ending and a laughable performance courtesy of Mark Wahlberg.  But there was something dreadfully eerie about the epidemic where people just kill themselves for no apparent reason.  Bird Box reminds me of The Happening.  Except, it does what Shyamalan failed to do:


I began reading Bird Box without knowing a single thing about it.  This made for an even more pleasurable reading experience, but because this is a review and you’re already reading it, I won’t deny you a small synopsis.

Bird Box is about a global epidemic where, for no apparent reason, people are losing their minds and killing themselves—that is, after killing anyone who may be nearby first.  The trigger?  Something they saw.

As a result, the world goes into mass hysteria mode.  People from all over are boarding themselves up in their homes, walking around blindfolded, and taking any measures necessary not to look.

At anything.  Anywhere…

…the only safe haven being the protection of their dark, window-covered homes.

Malerman’s tale is a very different take on a post-apocalyptic setting that is told in a timeline that intermittently swaps from present to past and back again.  But not to worry, the flashbacks are comfortably intertwined with the story, aiding Bird Box tremendously in its delivery.   Malerman doesn’t make you wade through twenty pages of development muck while you trudge through, wishing you could get back to the present.  Whatever the tense, the chapters are relatively short and equally entertaining.   And while that makes for aggressive page turning, it doesn’t help much in the way of character development.

Some of the key characters were bland, there were a handful of loopholes, and the ending didn’t resolve as well as I would have liked, but you know what?  I loved every minute of it anyway.  I was fully engaged and highly entertained.

Bird Box is claustrophobic, it’s atmospherically creepy, and it’s very guilty of forcing you to turn page after page needing to know why, how, and what next.

Rating:  4/5

Order it here.



About Chad Lutzke (12 Articles)
Chad lives in Battle Creek, MI. with his wife, children. For over two decades, he has been a contributor to several different outlets in the independent music and film scene, offering articles, reviews, and artwork. He has written for Famous Monsters of Filmland, Rue Morgue, Cemetery Dance, and Scream magazine. His fiction can be found in a few dozen magazines and anthologies including his own 18-story collection NIGHT AS A CATALYST. Lutzke is known for his heartfelt dark fiction and deep character portrayals. In the summer of 2016 he released his dark coming-of-age novella OF FOSTER HOMES AND FLIES which has been praised by authors Jack Ketchum, James Newman, John Boden, and many others. Later in 2016 Lutzke released his contribution to bestselling author J. Thorn's AMERICAN DEMON HUNTERS series, and 2017 saw the release of his novella WALLFLOWER. His latest, STIRRING THE SHEETS, was published by Bloodshot Books in spring 2018.

3 Comments on Josh Malerman – Bird Box review

  1. David Watkins // May 20, 2016 at 2:46 pm // Reply

    One of my favourite books from last year. I loved it (and didn’t think too deeply about the possible loopholes!). Heartily recommended.


  2. That feeling of claustrophobia and all pervasive fear and paranoia was brilliantly done. One of my favorite reads of the year so far.


  3. ♡ A Not So Jaded Life // June 10, 2016 at 1:47 am // Reply

    Enjoyed this book.. Weird but good.


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