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Bird Box: Don’t Open Your Eyes

Spoiler Alert: Have you watched Bird Box? If not, do not continue reading if you don’t want it to be spoiled.

Released in December of 2018, this Netflix original movie set in post-apocalyptic time has people wondering over what symbolic meanings underlies within the plot.

Golden Globe Award-winning actress, Sandra Bullock, stars as the main character, Malorie Hayes, who is paired with 2 unnamed children, Boy and Girl, that venture through the forest and river blindfolded to escape the ‘monster’ that causes people to kill themselves when looked at.

To understand the ending we must rewind to the beginning of Bird Box. Cracking down, chronologically, what hidden jewels need to be understood a bit more, the beginning takes place in Malorie’s apartment where the scene reveals black paint being smeared onto a canvas.

The irony that the character’s profession is a painter and painter’s need to see what they’re painting follows ironically along with the motto of this movie which is: do not open your eyes. Malorie’s sister, Jessica Hayes, remarks on this painting by describing the grouped-up people sitting by each other, but each person appears lonely.

This statement validates what our society represents today with the increasing rates of depression in a heavily populated world.
As the movie progresses, Malorie and her sister visit the hospital to check up on Malorie’s baby. Malorie is shown wearing a blue, feathery jacket which can represent a bluebird, describing a sad and alone creature.

Blue becomes a cycle that appears throughout the rest of the movie and surrounds Sandra’s character. The blue blindfold she wears, the blue ‘Thank You’ bag she hands away, etc.

Now what are these birds in the cage and box and why do they matter?

With the movie being arranged in flashback style, we can realize the birds in the cage provide a warning sign for the supernatural monster and symbolize caged freedom and hope.

Further into the movie, Malorie’s lover, Tom, begins to tell a story to Girl about climbing to the top of a tree and looking down to see the many birds flying away. Malorie walks in and begins arguing with Tom because she believed he was feeding the kid false hope.

The term ‘bird box’ relates back to our characters, Malorie, Boy, and Girl. Although it is the box they carry along their journey across the river to safety, bird box also represents themselves as they are metaphorically trapped in a box.

They can hardly go outside their ‘box’ and can only peak slightly into the outside world like the tiny holes in the bird box that provides light for the birds.
Why is our protagonist shown as a negative character? The purpose of this movie’s progression is to show the change in feeling and personality.

From the very beginning, Malorie is first seen looking down while in the last scene she is shown looking up.

This little yet big movement can show the change in character from beginning to end. She begins feeling isolated from the world and non-observant with the life that captivates her. She doesn’t talk to her mom, her relationship with her father wasn’t bright, and the father of Boy left her. Love, happiness, fear manage to be immune to her.

As she undergoes this massive suicide terror and is forced to connect with others and learn to love and care, our protagonist slowly and surely transitions into a more uplifted character.

Even though the writer poses her to be negative, she still chooses to make the right decisions. Some examples are she chooses to not abandon other survivors, getting another character a gift, and simply her love for animals.

At the end of the movie, Malorie reaches her destination but comes across obstacles. Boy and Girl are lost as the creature creeps upon all of them. Malorie begins to transform into her new character as she realizes the actualities of what she’s facing.

She calls out for both the children and once she reaches both, she begins to apologize. She even ends up offering to sacrifice herself for the kids.
In the final scene, she explains to the children that she is their mother and gives them names.

None of this answer the bigger question, which is, what is this monster causing everyone to want to kill themselves?

This creature first appeared in Siberia and Russia that cause suicidal actions and later spread to California (where this movie takes place). The creature when seen alters people’s psychological mindset and this branches off into different effects depending on the person.

Happy people want to kill themselves. It manipulates their thoughts.

For example, a character was drawn to her dead mother’s voice and ends up sitting in a car on fire. On the other hand, characters, like Douglas, who aim to harm people have a more deranged effect because they have already lived out their biggest fears.

Theories in the movie were made explaining the possibilities of the end game. End game being the end of the world where humanity has been judged and are now being punished for it.

Demons from around the world now haunt their thoughts and embody their fears and nightmares into their soul. These demons derive from different religions and even mythology. So why we can’t see it in the movie is because we can’t see demons in real life.

The best visual representation of what this creature can look like is when Gary stacks out all his drawings that can be just images from his memory.
This may not be the most satisfying ending to explaining what the monster is, but what if that’s the point?

Our biggest monster is hidden inside ourselves. This creature manifests our greatest fears. It’s up to us to overcome and survive.

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About the Writer
Sandy Tang, Social Media/Technology Editor

My name is Sandy Tang and I am currently a senior at Dunbar. I will be the social media/tech editor as my first year on staff! I joined Lamplighter my...

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