After the success of the original film, Bird Box, Netflix decided to capitalize on that fame and make a sequel—Bird Box Barcelona. Just recently released on the streaming platform, the spin-off has been said to be the first of many local-language sequels set within the same universe. Starring Mario Casas, Diego Calva, and Georgina Campbell, this Spanish-language sequel, set in Barcelona, Spain, may not have the star power of the original, but it’s still somewhat decent and watchable.
Bird Box Barcelona opens with Sebastián (Mario Casas) and his daughter, Anna (Alejandra Howard) celebrating her birthday by roller skating. Soon after, they become the victims of an attack by a small group, who want their food. After escaping to the outside, the father-daughter duo later encounter a friendlier group of survivors, who Sebastián convinces to come to their aid. The group helps Sebastián out with his wounds, but while sleeping that night, someone exposes everyone to the open, leading several to their deaths.
Like in the first Bird Box, the rest of the film is filled with the main character’s chance encounters with multiple people in the post-apocalyptic world—many of whom experience interactions with strange creatures. If you don’t remember or are unfamiliar with the first film, upon exposing one’s eyes to the outside, people soon hear mysterious creatures whisper and persuade, to the point of dying by suicide.
Only this time around, there’s an extra element of religion, and it seems the exploration of grief and trauma is meant to be deeper. It may not be worked out in the best way, but attempts seem to have been made. The script explores how religious groups, like the Catholic Church—which Sebastián belongs to—respond to the phenomenon. Talk of God, angels, demons, and aliens or creatures is featured.
The main problem is that none of the main characters are quite likable or engaging enough. The actors involved give fine performances, but the characters aren’t particularly well-written. Not much is explained about them, besides the basics, so one doesn’t get a real sense to root for and genuinely care about their character trajectories. Most aspects are what you’d expect to see in ‘survivor’ characters.
Adding to that, especially on the topic of grief and trauma, it’s as if the script just barely skims the surface. Nothing is really explored on a deep enough level, to bring real layers and depth to the characters.
For a film put out by a company like Netflix, you’d think they’d have some decent tricks up their sleeve, but instead, the visuals are quite cheap looking, making the stakes of the story appear less serious. This is especially so for the “creatures” visuals. I think if they couldn’t afford anything of higher-quality, they should just leave it to the audience’s imagination because it just looks a bit silly.
Overall, if you liked Bird Box mainly for its concept, I’d assume you’d probably be interested in seeing this phenomenon play out in different settings, and how it affects more people, in this sequel. But if you weren’t a fan of the original for that reason, you’ll probably rate this sequel, at the mid-range or lower because of how generic and how shallow it feels. It might even make you question if it was worth it—making a second film.
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Bird Box Barcelona is an interesting concept, as we get to see how others around the world are affected by the phenomenon, but the execution isn’t the best.
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