What is Inside Netflix’s Bird Box?
By Alicja Ramotowski
Netflix has stunned its audiences time after time with its original productions. The company was founded in 1997 and started producing their own content in 2012. Since then, many viewers have been drawn to the unique styles and acting highlighted in these productions. One of Netflix’s most recent attention-grabbers has been “Bird Box.” Another apocalyptically-themed movie, “Bird Box” stars Sandra Bullock as Malorie; a socially uninterested and closed-off artist who winds up pregnant and alone, faced with a mysterious disaster and no one to trust.
The horrific phenomenon attacking the world in this movie is a secretive spirit or monster, invisible to the naked eye because anyone who perceives it immediately commits suicide. Producers chose to represent the existence of the beast with a strong wind and rustling of leaves, and only once throughout the movie gives the audience any sort of indication or idea of what the monster really looks like. This choice stirs up more fear in characters and audiences alike. Since there is no agreed upon image for the monster, everyone watching instead imagines their greatest fear, and is continuously thinking about the true identity of the enemy. One of the scariest things in the world is the unknown. A nameless, unidentified enemy cannot be fought against. You do not know what it looks like, you cannot see it coming, you do not know its weaknesses, and you have no hope of fighting it off. There is no hope -- undoubtedly the scariest part of the film.
Though the situation is scary from the start, the characters discover that by staying indoors, or blindfolded when outdoors, they are safe from the evil spirit. It seems possible to live in peace and survive. Just when everyone starts to adjust to this new way of life and days start to gain a rhythm, a new enemy is introduced. Those with mental diseases are immune to the beast. Instead of commiting suicide, the monster is beautiful in their eyes, and they want to share that with everyone else. These “crazy” people make it their job to seek out those with blindfolds on and allow them to experience and appreciate the allure of the beast. These people remind the viewer that you can never be too cautious. Something or someone that may look safe and familiar can actually be deadly.
SOME SPOILERS AHEAD
During a supply trip to the grocery store, Malorie finds a cage with birds, which she later keeps in a box; hence the title “Bird Box.” The birds are one of the few pure, positive images that we know we can trust. By some sixth sense, the birds can sense when the monster is near, and are able to warn Malorie and her family about oncoming dangers. They are a small ray of sunshine, and awaken optimism in the viewer, lessening the feeling of dread and helplessness the movie so eloquently emanates.
The main plot of the story starts when Malorie, her newborn son, another woman’s newborn daughter, and a kind man named Tom, survive an attack by one of these insane people, and manage to settle down in a small house on a river. For years they scavenge the nearby homes for supplies and raise their family. It was difficult for them to maintain this lifestyle, and one day the group hears a message on their radio. A man promises safety, community, and a home. Malorie is unconvinced, but an attack by more beast-lovers forces her and the children on the journey to the unknown safe haven, and takes Tom’s life. After a terrifying 2 day trip down the rough river, facing obstacle after obstacle, Malorie and the kids find their way to safety. This space is none other than a school for the blind.
So what is in the “Bird Box?” A message of hope and push for accepting each other’s differences. The audience is reminded that we are not omnipotent. Our knowledge is not as extensive as it may seem. We are humans, we make mistakes, and we can’t always see the bigger picture. Something that we may see as a weakness can one day manifest itself as a strength. To make the world a better place we need to respect each other and embrace each other’s differences and weaknesses, because one day they might just save our world.
Length: 2h 4m
Rating: R for “violence, bloody images, language and brief sexuality”
Cast: Sandra Bullock (Malorie), Trevante Rhodes (Tom)