Written By: Amber Haydar
In the age of digital media, popular streaming platforms such as Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime Video have brought about the evolution of watching our favorite movies and shows, as well as discovering new ones with series and films original to each corresponding platform.
Netflix is at the top of its game, especially when it comes to developing original movies and television series.
Recently-released Netflix films, Bird Box and Black Mirror: Bandersnatch broke the internet during winter break 2018.
Binge-watchers everywhere were anticipating the interactive Black Mirror film and the highly-regarded psychological thriller, Bird Box.
Netflix decided to wait until the final Friday of 2018 to drop the full-length, 90-minute special, though the quickest path ends after 40 minutes: Bandersnatch.
Black Mirror: Bandersnatch is the first of its kind, specifically on the Netflix platform. The interactive special grants the audience the ability to make decisions for the main character, programmer Stefan Butler (Fionn Whitehead), starting with the stress-inducing action of choosing which cereal to eat in the morning.
Later in the special, watchers are faced with more grueling circumstances, some of which not all viewers will get to experience. A brief tutorial, specific to the device being streamed on, explains to the viewer how to make these choices. Viewers have ten seconds to make choices, or a default decision is made.
The complex special takes place in July of 1984, where young programmer Stefan Butler (Fionn Whitehead) dreams of adapting a choose-your-own-adventure book titled Bandersnatch, by tragic writer Jerome F. Davies, into what he hopes will be a revolutionary adventure video game. Devoted fans of the science-fiction dystopia were raving on social media.
Black Mirror is a television show, originally from Great Britain before Netflix bought the series and produced seasons three and four. Each episode of the series is stand-alone- sharp and suspenseful in exploring themes of techno-paranoia. The series serves the purpose of making a point to display how our future may appear at the rate we are going as a society in technological advancement, in the most shocking, unpredictable ways possible.
As for Bird Box, Netflix subscribers have been obsessing over the Netflix original film since its release over the holiday season. The must-watch thriller engulfed the Internet in all its meme glory.
Bird Box was originally a 2014 post-apocalyptic novel and the debut novel by writer Josh Malerman. The Netflix original film follows a woman, played by Sandra Bullock, who must guide herself as well as a pair of young children, dubbed Boy and Girl, through a treacherous journey in order to make it to safety.
The journey entails trudging through a forest and a river blindfolded in order to avoid a supernatural entity that causes people who see it to either die by suicide or force others to take a peak and kill themselves.
Bird Box is not merely about entities, clawing at the door of helpless apocalypse survivors— it is about the depths and measures humans will take in order to survive, specifically in correlation with motherhood and the sacrifices mothers are willing to make in order to provide for their children.
The Sandra Bullock-starring film broke the Netflix record for the most watches within premiere week, with more than 45 million Netflix accounts viewing it within its first week.
MAST Sophomore Kaleia Zambrano has an opposing opinion on Netflix’s reign. “Bird Box was very interesting and actually kept you on your feet, unlike most of Netflix original movies,” Zambrano said. Another anonymous sophomore said, “Bird Box had a deeper meaning and its true context was artistically delivered and publicly ignored.”
Netflix has recently announced that they are increasing subscription prices worldwide in 2019. Netflix is hiking their standard $10.99 plan in the U.S. to $12.99 per month. Its $7.99 plan will go up to $8.99 and its $13.99 plan will go up to $15.99 a month. This monthly total would still cost less than the majority of traditional cable or satellite packages, but will it cost Netflix some loyal subscribers nonetheless?