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Bird Box Barcelona review: Netflix hit returns with compelling if repetitive spin-off

The film premieres on Netflix on Friday, 14 July

Gonzalo De Castro, Georgina Campbell, Mario Casas and Naila Schuberth in Bird Box: Barcelona (Netflix)
Gonzalo De Castro, Georgina Campbell, Mario Casas and Naila Schuberth in Bird Box: Barcelona (Netflix)
  • 🎞️ When is Bird Box Barcelona out on Netflix: 14 July, 2023

  • ⭐️ Our rating: 3/5

  • 🎭 Who's in it? Mario Casas, Georgina Cambell, Diego Calva, Alejandra Howard

  • 👍 What we liked: Mario Casas' performance, and the way the film examines the moral corruption of mankind in the face of an all-powerful entity.

  • 👎 What we didn't: With an array of post-apocalyptic shows and films released since Bird Box, its spin-off struggles to stand out from the crowd.

  • 📖 What's it about? Set around the same time as the original, Bird Box Barcelona tells a new story of survivors in the Spanish city as they try to navigate the apocalypse.

In 2018, Netflix caught lightning in a bottle when it released Bird Box — a dystopian horror film that starred Sandra Bullock as a woman trying to save two children from an invisible enemy who, when seen, prompt humans to kill themselves.

Bird Box Barcelona takes place around the same period as the original but this time in the Spanish city it is named after, and it focuses on Sebastián (Mario Casas) and his daughter Anna (Alejandra Howard) as they try to make their way to safety whilst the unseen entities terrorise the public.

Read more: Bird Box recap: The story so far ahead of Barcelona spin-off

Like its predecessor, the film is told over multiple timelines with the story following Sebastián and Anna in the present day, and five months earlier when the world first crumbled at the arrival of the entities.

Bird Box Barcelona (Netflix)
Mario Casas as Sebastian in Bird Box Barcelona (Netflix)

Through their story we learn of the fall of mankind and the horrific lengths that people will go to when faced with the end times. Leonardo Sbaraglia's Padre Esteban is the most terrifying of all as he sees the entities as messengers of God and himself as the person to bring humanity to the light (as it were).

Putting more emphasis on the failings of humanity also makes for compelling viewing, particularly as it means that no one is trustworthy and thus forces viewers to question everyone that comes onto the screen.

The moral corruption of the seers, those who have locked eyes with the entities and lived to tell the tale, was first explored in Bird Box, but Bird Box Barcelona takes it up a notch in effective ways. By doing so it makes the film more than just a survival story, and adds to the intensity of its overall narrative.

Casas makes Sebastián a strong protagonist, while not much can be revealed about his character, the actor does an impeccable job at giving a nuanced performance.

Bird Box (L To R) Leonardo Sbaraglia As Padre Esteban In Bird Box. (Lucia Faraig/Netflix)
Leonardo Sbaraglia As Padre Esteban In Bird Box Barcelona. (Netflix)

Sebastián is driven by grief and his actions in the film will elicit both rage and empathy from the audience. The decision to put a morally grey character at the heart of the film is an intriguing one as it certainly helps bring something different to the franchise.

Read more: Trent Reznor shares disappointment with Bird Box

But, because of the nature of the film, not many of Casas' co-stars are given as much time or development, which detracts from the storyline's effectiveness when the audience aren't given much of a chance to invest in the characters they are introduced to.

As a follow-up, Bird Box Barcelona does a decent job at adding to the lore of the franchise by giving viewers enough new information so as not to feel like a pale imitation of its predecessor, but the film doesn't do as much as it perhaps could have.

Bird Box (L To R) Georgina Campbell As Claire, Naila Schuberth As SofãA In Bird Box. (Lucia Faraig/Netflix)
Georgina Campbell As Claire, Naila Schuberth As Sofia in Bird Box Barcelona (Netflix)

It can also feel repetitive at times, there's only so many times we can see the same fate befall a character before it becomes tiresome.

Bird Box Barcelona: What other critics thought

Given how long it's been since the original came out, and how many other post-apocalyptic projects there have been since, it's hard for Bird Box Barcelona to stand out from the pack.

Even with strong performances, it feels like Bird Box Barcelona is something that has been seen multiple times before, which therefore means it is not as surprising or scary as it could be.

Bird Box Barcelona premieres on Netflix on Friday, 14 July.

Watch the trailer for Bird Box Barcelona