No doubt you have probably watched Netflix’s new movies “Bird Box” or if you haven’t you probably know someone who has highly recommended it. This Netflix original has taken the world by storm, resulting in memes and the first dumb challenge of 2019. However “Bird Box” has also brought about some interesting theories as to what it all means. For a film released on a streaming service rather than on the big screen it’s pretty neat to see how many people have actually embraced “Bird Box” and taken the time to delve into its narrative and structure to find hidden meanings beneath the blindfold. I picked out my favorites that will maybe open your eyes to some deeper meaning for this viral horror hit. If you want to know my thoughts on the film you can read my review here. But for now, these are Ten Awesome “Bird Box” Movie Theories.
For this list I dug through the internet to collect what I think are the coolest, most creative and sometimes even most out there theories about the Netflix original film “Bird Box”. These are not theories involving its marketing so that conspiracy theory that Netflix has been creating memes in order to advertise the film won’t be here. These are theories that involve what this movie actually means. Obviously this means there will be SPOILERS in this list, but I will do my best to be vague so that those who have yet to see “Bird Box” can still enjoy the list.
So what about you? Do you have any theories about “Bird Box”? Let me know in the comments below and enjoy the list.
10. It’s Simply About Facing Your Worst Fear
Literally the most basic and easiest theory to accept is that “Bird Box’ is simply about facing your fears and inner demons rather than turning a blind eye to them. This theory states that the reason the fears seen in the film are so deadly is because the victims can’t bear being forced to deal with them head on and thus would rather die. The movie itself touches on the main character Malorie’s fear right from the start, her pregnancy and potential inability to connect with her child. She has to face that fear in the climax of the film by keeping her blindfold on and depending purely on personal connections and trust to save Boy and Girl. Only then does she find the strength to escape and survive. The characters use blindfolds during the movie to continuously avoid seeing what they don’t want to see, yet they still have to face those fears if they want to survive even if not directly. They have to come to peace with it, work around it and find a way to press on, kind of like real life, rather than let the fear consume them. Those who go insane rather than commit suicide feed off their fear. They represent the people consumed by their anger, frustration or inability to cope who have formed their personality around these anxieties. This is the most basic interpretation many have come up with for “Bird Box” and while it’s not as creative or “out there” as others on this list it still perfectly fits the narrative.
9. It Could Simply Be Demons
A theory heavily explored by Redditors and one of the most immediate theories viewers tend to concoct, it’s possible that “Bird Box” could simply be about the apocalypse. The film actually addresses this possibility directly through the character of Charlie who admits he has studied the end of days and reveals there are theories that include entities that come to Earth and kill people by showing them what they are most afraid of. What if “Bird Box” is simply that, the invasion of entities that kill in such a manner? This theory takes it a step further by building on the potential identity of the entities labeling them as outright demons. There are plenty of descriptions of demons out there and even the Bible labels them as beings that could drive people mad so they fit the bill. But it can’t be just the sight of these beings that causes death right? We know from the script that the victims see things. Well many religions also consider suicide to be a sinful death, so those who die in such a manner go to Hell. Demons serve the Devil so it would make sense that Satan has sent his minions to collect new followers by showing them fears they can’t escape, forcing them to take their own lives and adding them to Hell. As for those who go insane instead of die, the Bible does talk about demons using humans as slaves for their bidding so why not pick the most fragile and corruptible minds to do so?
8. The Leap of Faith and Rapture Theory
Building from the above mentioned demonic theory, there are other religious theories that are a little more uplifting. I decided to combine two of the most prevalent for this entry because they have a lot in common. The first theory shows that even the faith based community can find something neat to explore in “Bird Box”. The idea is “Bird Box” is about the relationship with God. The main theme of the film is that we, as physical beings, are blind as to what is ahead of us and we have to take a leap of faith, or as the theory says it put our faith in God, to get to our destination. The insane people are those trying to push the believers onto the wrong path and the birds and fellow survivors are people pushed into the characters’ paths to help guide them. That brings me to the second theory that ties into the apocalypse interpreting “Bird Box” as those who have earned entry to heavy were culled by the suicide epidemic, those who have not are the insane torturing the survivors, and those who remain unaffected are in a sort of purgatory, being tested by God to allow him to steer them in the right direction before being trusted to restart the world in a new image.
7. It’s About Racism
I’m not a hundred percent sold on this theory but it is one making the rounds all the same. I first read about it on a website called Narcity who took it from The Root and the theory bluntly states that Sandra Bullock’s Malorie represents white privilege. On the surface this theory seems sound. The main character is a white person wearing a blindfold so it can easily be interpreted as white people refusing to see a problem and being “blind” to it. The theory also examines Malorie’s life before the apocalypse. She’s a soon-to-be mother, a successful artist, and she grew up on a horse farm so we know she’s well off and yet she seems miserable with her life. This is a characteristic often associated with white privilege. The theory also examines how the plague spreads throughout the world while people elsewhere ignore it until it’s a problem for them…kind of like racism…and when people finally see it they kill themselves for ignoring such a big problem. The theory even explores the role of major black characters in the story and looks at the birds as a “little birdie” telling them when racism is nearby. I won’t go into too many other details, you can read the entire article from The Root here.
6. It’s the Result of Psychosomatic Hysteria
Psychosomatic hysteria is a proven epidemic that can spread throughout a society like a plague. The term refers to a situation where fear spreads simply because the fear exists, more specifically “the spread of illness signs and symptoms affecting members of a cohesive group”. So what if the events of “Bird Box” were more mental than supernatural? What if people started killing themselves because what they were seeing were people killing themselves? Now there are some supernatural elements that can’t be ignored that are holes in this theory, including the disembodied voices and the movement of trees that show something physical is around, but maybe this mass hysteria is part of the entities plan. Maybe by inducing fear in a few it can create fear in many and get the job done faster. Admittedly this theory isn’t very complete and there’s a lot that needs to be worked out as to the finer details of how it plays into the “Bird Box” universe, but it’s a fun idea that could make “Bird Box” more symbolic of the effects of mass hysteria and tribal mentality.
5. There Are No Entities, It’s All Part of Biowarfare
This theory is actually partially explored through John Malkovich’s character Douglas who initially fears that the whole thing is part of a chemical attack and the entities don’t actually exist. The human brain is a delicate thing and not everyone reacts the same way to a substance or chemical. It could very easily be argued that the release of a gas could work faster on some people than others or that a larger dose is needed to affect certain people. What if the chemical achieved its effects by being absorbed through the eyes? On the onset of the outbreak people’s eyes are shown to change when they “see” the entity. The theory suggests that a biochemical was released into the atmosphere my opposing powers to the United States, which could be a retaliation seeing as we are told Russia was effected before the Americas. How the chemical reacts happens at different rates with some being immediately affected, turning off the fight or flight mechanism of the brain causing insanity and/or suicide. So why are the survivors unaffected when they leave the house? Well that’s because the chemical has had time to settle, but when the wind blows again, like in the finale, the chemical is kicked up and thus begins the process all over again. Since the chemical is transmitted through the eyes the blindfolds help prevent or slow the process.
4. The Lovecraftian Theory
I have seen this theory many times scattered around the internet and it’s a fun one. H.P. Lovecraft is a legend of horror fiction whose works revolutionized the idea of “cosmic horror” or the horror of the unknown focusing on the mystery rather than the blood, gore and shock. Many have theorized that “Bird Box’s” entities are Lovecraftian monsters, which fits the bill seeing a Lovecraft explored concepts like madness and cultism in his stories most famously through monsters like Cthulhu. Look at how the entities in “Bird Box” affect people. Some commit suicide at the sight of the creatures while others are driven insane and become part of a “cult” serving the entities. That sounds on point with what Lovecraft had in mind if you ask me. Some even theorize that the entity itself is Cthulhu or many different smaller versions of the creature that are able to pick and choose when they are visible to targets, choosing those who are most vulnerable to show themselves to. The entire concept feels heavily inspired by the ideas and themes of the late author despite the author of “Bird Box”, Josh Malerman, noting he’s not exactly an expert in Lovecraft’s work. All the same, while it may not be a theory concerning the more socially relevant themes of the film it’s still cool to look at “Bird Box” as a modern day tribute to one of the greatest horror writers of the 20th Century.
3. It’s About the Anxieties of Parenthood
This theory, explored in several publications and online resources including Forbes, is probably the most likely hidden theme in “Bird Box”. Similar to the first entry on this list but far more specific, this theory involves the story’s main character, Sandra Bullock’s Malorie, who shows reluctance to accept motherhood early on in the film. This is presented during a rather uncomfortable exchange during her checkup and later when we see she hasn’t named the boy and girl in her charge despite having several years to build a relationship with them. It’s common for new parents to feel fear, especially since a life is now in their hands, and Malorie shows continuous discomfort with the idea of being a mother in the movie. It’s only when we get to the conclusion, after which the children are more than just other survivors to Malorie, that the kids are addressed as more than just Boy or Girl. There is also a theme that permeates the movie where Malorie feels reluctant to attach herself to anyone, especially the children, so this theory makes a lot of sense and plays off the concept of fear being self destructive. Maybe “Bird Box” is more about the anxieties of parenthood specifically than it is about any other fear.
2. It’s an Allegory for Mental Illness
This one has become a very popular one especially given the relevance of suicide in the film. This theory was heavily explored in Psychology Today and states that some viewers have come to see “Bird Box” as a reflection of how the public deals with mental health issues. When you think about it the theory makes sense. On the surface it could be seen as a suicide awareness message as victims kill themselves after seeing their worst fears. In some cases this is a lost loved one but in others it’s proven to be even more heinous visions. The victims also show awareness of themselves and their longing to end their own lives, sometimes even turning to other people to acknowledge them before ending it all. Another layer of this theory is the “blindness” aspect of it all. On the one hand a person being blindfolded represents them ignoring the problems around them while on the other hand the inability for people to see what other victims see could represent how difficult it is for one person to understand the strife of another out of context. Finally there are the people who are affected differently by the entities, the ones that simply go insane. The movie itself notes that the most mentally unstable people are affected this way showing that for some mental illness is a norm and for others, the people who commit suicide, it’s a strange, scary experience that can be more difficult to manage than others may understand.
1. It’s About Social Media
I first learned about this theory through an article on Paleofuture and it has fascinated me ever since. What if “Bird Box” is the first horror movie to tackle social media’s impact on society? I’ve seen many different variations of this theory so I’ll try to combine them all here. The idea is that “Bird Box” symbolically represents social media’s impact on people. We’re exposed to our greatest fears (failure, tragedy, judgement, loneliness, conformity, etc) every day by looking at Facebook and for everyone that experience is different. The survivor’s represent those who choose not to look at social media while the crazies who want people to look represent internet trolls or people who use social media negatively. Only when they find a sanctuary that chooses to embrace nature and community do they find safety. The cool thing is this theme more than anything else seems to litter almost every aspect of the movie. The characters try, and fail, to view the entities through a computer safely, they hide from the entities by closing themselves in a car or house like a box kind of like people who chose not to embrace the larger world of social media, and even the birds can be a physical representation of twitter, going off as the entities get close the way Twitter and Facebook are usually interconnected. There are so many aspects of this film that fit this theory that I dare say it is the one that makes the most sense, at least creatively if not literally.