[Featured image courtesy official Gravity Facebook page]
The Hollywood Reporter reports that Oscar winner Sandra Bullock will star in the big screen adaptation of Josh Malerman’s 2014 novel Bird Box. She’s joining fellow Oscar winner Susanne Bier (2011 Best Foregin Language Film for A Better World) who is directing from a script by Oscar nominee Eric Heisserer (2016 for Arrival).
Every fan of “It’s the End of the World As We Know It” post-apocalyptic horror (and who isn’t) knows the many, MANY forms ITEOTWAWKI can take. From rage virus infected primates (28 Days Later), satellites from Venus (Night of the Living Dead), deadly nonsense phrases (Pontypool), or even good-old fashioned Captain Trips super-flu (The Stand) have all wreaked havoc while eliminating most of the Earth’s population.
Josh Malerman‘s 2014 novel BirdBox presents one of the most original variants on this theme. The world is quickly driven mad and murderous by – something people see. Something you can’t unsee and can’t avoid unless you barricade yourself inside, only venturing outside with eyes securely shielded. This “something” spurs everyone who falls prey to it to mindless violence and ultimate self-destruction.
Bird Box was one of those rare horror novels that made me terrified of an invisible menace. The reader is never quite sure WHAT this “visual virus” looks like, but Malerman’s prose creates an atmosphere of complete, eerie, and unrelenting dread. With the detailed effects of the virus and vagueness of the threat’s appearance, the effect on me as a reader was 100% more terrifying than having it all spoon-fed to me.
Like Syfy’s new grindhouse series Blood Drive (covered by SciFi4Me here), Bird Box is a graduate of The Blood List (and was the top unproduced script on the 2014 list). Every year The Blood List selects the 13 favorite unproduced screenplays in several “dark genre” categories. List curator Kailey Marsh collects the opinions of active executives in Hollywood to find the best Dark Fantasy, Psychological Drama, Dark Comedy, Thriller, and Science Fiction that have yet to hit the screen.
The question now is will fans of Bird Box and/or Sandra Bullock be able to see this movie in an actual theater? Netflix did sign a deal with the 15 screen iPic Entertainment last year. This was done primarily to allow their movies to be considered for Oscars, not for the box office action.
Netflix CEO Reed Hastings has previously dismissed the importance of movie theaters, claiming that the only thing that’s improved there in the past 30 years was the popcorn. But the desire to contend for awards may be changing the Nexflix thinking towards theatrical releases. Netflix films in France may get limited theatrical releases so they can be considered at the Cannes Film Festival. The recent Korean fantasy/monster movie Okja is also being released in theaters as well as streaming both in the US and South Korea.
The Blood List is a must site to bookmark and visit to check out each year’s list. There’s plenty more to dig into there, including horror news, short films, and updates on previous Blood List titles that have been produced.