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Spoilers: The Idiotic Plot to 'Bird Box: Barcelona' Explained

By Dustin Rowles | Film | July 19, 2023 |

By Dustin Rowles | Film | July 19, 2023 |


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The original Bird Box was the most-watched Netflix original movie of all time at one point, although it has since fallen to number three. It is also one of the few Netflix original movies that’s actually decent (not spectacular, but decent). Released about six months after A Quiet Place, it felt like something akin to a mockbuster, a straight-to-streaming rip-off of the John Krasinski film. However, it was surprisingly spooky and entertaining, skating on its high-concept premise and the talents of Sandra Bullock.

So, of course, Netflix had to take it further. Bird Box: Barcelona feels more like the mockbuster we thought Bird Box might be: a cheaply made sequel designed to broaden the appeal of the original movie internationally. Three languages are spoken (English, Spanish, and German), it’s set in Barcelona, and — worst of all — it seems to herald the beginnings of a Bird Box universe. Ugh.

To its credit, albeit begrudgingly, it is not just Bird Box set in a different country. To its detriment, however, it expands the mythology in questionable ways. In the original Bird Box, if a person opened their eyes and saw the creature/beast/apparition, the person would immediately take their own life, often in creatively unsettling ways. The only way a person could prevent their own demise was to never open their eyes while outside. Blind people had a distinct advantage as they could not see.

The same premise applies in Barcelona — and many, many people throw themselves off buildings or smash their heads through windshields — but there are now exceptions: Seers. A seer who witnesses the monster does not end their life, but he does lose his mind. Case in point: Sebastian (Mario Casas) is a seer. Having lost his wife and daughter, he experiences visions of his daughter Anna (Alejandra Howard), who convinces Sebastian that viewing the monster is a good thing for others because it frees their souls.

Sebastian thus believes he is an angel, tasked with forcing others to open their eyes to the creature. For instance, he befriends a group of people who live on a bus, and while they are sleeping, he drives the bus out into the open and crashes it. A lot of injured people on the bus open their eyes and die. Sebastian even forces open one woman’s eyes because he thinks he’s saving her.

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Meanwhile, Claire (Georgina Campbell) and Sofia (Naila Schuberth) are essentially this movie’s equivalent of the mother and child in the original Bird Box. They’re trying to find safety in a castle community, only to get there they have to navigate around Sebastian, who is also being manipulated by another Seer, Padre Esteban (Leonardo Sbaraglia). In a nutshell: Sebastian manages to resist his visions just enough to sacrifice himself and kill Padre Esteban so that Claire and Sofia can reach the castle safely.

But there’s a twist! Claire discovers that, although the castle is safe from the monsters, they’re conducting experiments on Seers in order to find a cure, and these experiments involve one of the creatures that the castle has trapped. It’s sort of framed as nefarious because it involves torturing Seers, but it also raises the Last of Us question: Is it acceptable to sacrifice one for the future of humanity? Unfortunately, Bird Box: Barcelona is not Last of Us. It’s just a shitty, disappointing Netflix sequel.

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