Without even having seen it, the plot of the film Bird Box is terrifying. But it also seems kind of out there. In the style of films like M. Night Shyamalan’s The Happening and this year’s thriller A Quiet Place, Bird Box paints the picture of a not-so-distant dystopian future in which the main characters have to escape a mysterious force or being that has been wreaking havoc on humans. But could Bird Box really happen?
Though the premise is mostly fantastical, the movie has roots in actual horrors. As the Wrap explains, themes such as climate change, border control, and gun violence are addressed in Bird Box. And like the characters of John Krasinski and John Leguizamo in the aforementioned flicks, the lengths to which a parent must go to protect their children are often a focal point. As is common in horror, monsters are typically metaphors for the very real fears we hold, both individually and as a society.
Like in The Happening, people are taking their own lives at a mass rate, and the main character (in this case, Sandra Bullock’s Malorie) leaves everything behind to find shelter — and, possibly, answers. In the trailer, Malorie is pregnant, and the sudden eruption of suicide occurs as she’s leaving the obstetrician’s office with her sister, Jessica (Sarah Paulson).
She joins up with a group of fellow survivors (acclaimed actors such as Trevante Rhodes, Lil Rel Howery, and the John Malkovich, among others) as they learn what’s going on, and discover together how to navigate this new world. Bird Box is a reverse A Quiet Place, in a way — instead of relying on sight and avoiding making any noise, the characters rely on sound exclusively to guide them, because as long as they don’t see the “creatures,” they’re safe.
While this isn’t the way things would play out, what is currently seen as sci-fi or fantasy can often transpire in similar fashion down the line. If you’re into this genre, chances are you’ve seen at least an episode or two of Black Mirror or The Twilight Zone, both of which have seen once-fictional technologies or circumstances become reality. Watching Bird Box could be more of a scary experience if it turns out that the big bad is actually (spoiler for The Happening) a chemical coming from plants, or something similar. After all, that’s part of what makes movies like this so intriguing for thrill-seekers.
But don’t freak out too much — even with all of the relatable parallels, Bird Box definitely isn’t non-fiction. My inclination is that while the emotions felt when watching Malorie desperately try to protect her children are very real, the unknown boogeyman isn’t one you’re likely to encounter anytime soon.
After a very frustrating first birth experience, this Deaf mother wanted a change. Will the help of two Deaf doulas give the quality communication and birth experience this mom wants and deserves? Watch Episode Four of Romper's Doula Diaries, Season Two, below, and visit Bustle Digital Group's YouTube page for more episodes.