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Top 10 Movies to Watch If You Like Bird Box

VO: Rebecca Brayton WRITTEN BY: Nick Spake

These must-see movies are worth taking your blindfolds off for. For this list, we’re taking a look at films with tropes and themes similar to the post-apocalyptic thriller that Netflix subscribers are twitterpated over. Our list includes “28 Days Later” (2002), “The Thing” (1982), “10 Cloverfield Lane” (2016), “The Road” (2009), “Annihilation” (2018), and more! Join WatchMojo as we count down our picks for the Top 10 Movies to Watch If You Like Bird Box.


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Script written by Nick Spake

Top 10 Movies to Watch If You Like Bird Box

These must-see movies are worth taking your blindfolds off for. Welcome to WatchMojo and today we’ll be counting down our picks for the Top 10 Movies to Watch If You Like Bird Box.

For this list, we’re taking a look at films with tropes and themes similar to the post-apocalyptic thriller that Netflix subscribers are twitterpated over.

#10: “The Thing” (1982)

Like “Bird Box,” this 1982 body horror flick traps several colorful characters in a secluded area plagued by a mysterious entity. The freezing backdrop of Antarctica makes for a setting that’s chilling in more ways than one. Since the titular Thing can assume any form, nobody is entirely trustworthy, putting the characters and audience in a constant state of uncertainty. The one major difference is that “Bird Box” is about what we don’t see, whereas “The Thing” puts a stronger emphasis on shocking, grotesque imagery. Fortunately, when it comes to visuals, John Carpenter’s film is also one of the most inventive and interesting creature features of any era. In short, it’s the definition of a cult classic.

#9: “The Road” (2009)

“Bird Box” is based on Josh Malerman’s 2014 novel, which quickly earned comparisons to Cormac McCarthy’s “The Road,” published several years prior. McCarthy’s book was awarded a Pulitzer, and inspired a 2009 screen adaptation that’s considered by many to be one of the 21st century’s defining post-apocalyptic movies. The story centers on an unnamed man and boy, played by Viggo Mortensen and Kodi Smit-McPhee respectively, who must trek across a bleak, forsaken landscape overrun with unspeakable horrors. As is the case with “Bird Box,” the central theme of “The Road” isn’t just about surviving, but also about uncovering a better tomorrow for our children.

#8: “Annihilation” (2018)

Sometimes the creepiest locations are also the most intoxicating. In this adaptation of Jeff VanderMeer’s novel, five scientists venture into a quarantined area dubbed the Shimmer. Although this danger zone is steeped in dread, it’s also unusually picturesque and even captivating. It’s like a prison you don’t want to leave, which makes the setting all the more unsettling. The Shimmer is crawling with physical threats, but “Annihilation” is a philosophical thriller above all else. Much like how the characters in “Bird Box” become powerless while confronting the creatures that’ve taken over Earth, the protagonists in “Annihilation” slowly lose themselves to the Shimmer. In both movies, seeing the light can also mean seeing the darkness.

#7: “10 Cloverfield Lane” (2016)

If there’s a movie that’ll leave you feeling claustrophobic, it’s “10 Cloverfield Lane.” As in “Bird Box,” the film follows a woman who must seek refuge in a confined structure when all hell breaks loose outdoors. What adds another layer of anxiety to Dan Trachtenberg’s film, however, is that Mary Elizabeth’s Michelle is arguably at greater risk INSIDE the bunker. John Goodman gives an enthralling and disturbing performance as a paranoid recluse who’s either trying to protect Michelle or imprison her. Throughout the film, the viewers step into Michelle’s shoes, leaving us wondering whether we’d rather place our faith in a potentially psychotic creep or take our chances in a world dominated by nuclear fallout.

#6: “28 Days Later” (2002)

Few films released in the 21st century have had a greater impact on the zombie outbreak genre than “28 Days Later.” At the time, it didn’t seem like there was much left to do with the slow, moaning corpses typical of zombie movies. Director Danny Boyle kicked things up a notch, though, giving his zombies bloodshot eyes and the ability to outrun the living. The film’s influence can be found not only in the zombie movies that followed, but also in many modern post-apocalyptic films. For example, the creatures in “Bird Box” could easily be swapped out with zombies - moving the star of “28 Days” right into the world of “28 Days Later”.

#5: “Invasion of the Body Snatchers” (1956)

Speaking of influential films, this 1956 classic planted numerous seeds that would flourish as both the sci-fi and horror genres continued to grow. Based on a novel by Jack Finney, the film revolves around an alien invasion in which people are duplicated with all of their emotions stripped away. Although it might’ve seemed like a run-of-the-mill B-movie on the surface, underneath was a surprisingly thought-provoking political commentary in the midst of the second Red Scare. The film inspired an impressive remake over two decades later and its impact is still felt in contemporary movies. While “Bird Box” lacks the political subtext, both movies address the importance and preservation of our humanity in the face of crisis.

#4: “It Comes at Night” (2017)

In almost every post-apocalyptic movie, there comes a time when the main characters must choose whether or not to trust a stranger. This trope plays a key role in “Bird Box” and it’s even more prevalent in this overlooked horror mystery. Taking place during a global epidemic, the film focuses on a family scarcely getting by in the deep woods. When a mysterious man arrives looking to help his own family, the ethical dilemma that ensues pits moral duty against the desperate need to survive. Atmospheric and understated, the film admittedly may be too much of a slow burn for some viewers, but ultimately builds to a satisfying and heart-pounding conclusion.

#3: “The Endless” (2017)

This psychedelic film doesn’t necessarily fall under the post-apocalyptic umbrella, but it certainly has a Hell on Earth vibe to it. Directors Justin Benson and Aaron Moorhead star as brothers who grew up in an alien cult. When Aaron decides to revisit the cult’s old stomping grounds, Justin tags along to keep his brother on the right path. Over time, however, it appears more likely that something supernatural is indeed at play, putting both brothers in jeopardy. In the same vein as “Bird Box,” the threats in “The Endless” can’t exactly be explained or even seen. All the characters can do is fight the temptation to give in, and hope to break free of their cages.

#2: “Monsters” (2010)

Four years before directing “Godzilla,” Gareth Edwards brought us a very different kind of kaiju movie. Although the giant monsters are rarely seen in this sci-fi film, their presence is often felt thanks to the treacherous environment they inhabit. Just as “Bird Box” found moments of hope amidst all gloom and doom, however, so does this film. The story is primarily about a romance between a photojournalist and his boss’ daughter as they travel across the danger zone. As intense as some scenes are, much of the film plays out like a romantic drama such as “Lost in Translation.” Like “Bird Box”, it brilliantly demonstrates how love can blossom in even the most unlikely places.

Before we get to our top pick, here are a few honorable mentions:

“The Crazies” (2010)

“The Mist” (2007)

#1: “A Quiet Place” (2018)

It’s hard to think of a better companion piece for “Bird Box” than “A Quiet Place,” which was released less than a year earlier. In “Bird Box,” the characters must keep their eyes concealed in order to avoid the monsters lurking outside. In John Krasinski’s masterful thriller, noise-sensitive creatures have taken over, requiring the characters to remain dead silent. The parallels don’t end there, as both films are about parents connecting with their children in a post-apocalyptic environment. Between the two, “A Quiet Place” relies less on exposition and dialog, which makes sense given its setup. But both work as classic horror stories, while also serving as effective family dramas with a lot of heart.

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