2018 : Bird Box Opens, Film Starring Sandra Bullock, Based on Michigan Novel

December 21, 2018 all-day

Josh Malerman, a metro Detroit author, is usually the one dishing out the anxiety. His chilling, hypnotically paced 2014 novel “Bird Box” is a can’t-put-down depiction of what happens when the mere act of looking at an unidentified phenomenon — monsters? space aliens? something the human mind can’t wrap itself around? — triggers people to take their own lives and inflict deadly violence on others.

The only way to survive? Stay inside. Close the drapes. Wear a blindfold if you have to go outside for food or water.

And try not to lose all hope of finding an escape from the terror.

The film version of “Bird Box” arrives Friday to millions of subscribers to Netflix, the streaming site that’s shaking up Hollywood.  A few things have changed in the adaptation of the psychological thriller. The setting has moved from the Detroit suburbs to northern California.

And instead of echoing the book’s claustrophobic character study, the movie (with a screenplay by Eric Heisserer of “Arrival”) feels more like what Malerman calls the “global end times” — with nods to 2018 America.

As a cynical character played by John Malkovich says to the group of strangers who’ve sought shelter in the same house, “All of us are making the end of the world great again!”

Those changes are fine with Malerman, who says he loves the film and always expected it to have its own distinct vision. In his other career as lead singer of a rock group, the High Strung, he’s grounded in the concept of collaboration.

“I understood right away I was going to have zero say, zero voice in (the movie), but I was also fine with that,” says the West Bloomfield High and Michigan State alum who lived for a while in New York City before returning to Oakland County. “One of the benefits of being in this band I’ve been in for 20 years, I’m used to the democratic, group-like process. For me it was like, ‘Hey, I wrote the book. Now it’s your turn. … You go make the movie.’ “

Source : Julie Hinds, “Sandra Bullock’s ‘Bird Box’ inspired by Detroiter’s terrifying book“, Detroit Free Press, December 20, 2018.