This post contains many spoilers for Netflix’s Bird Box; it essentially spoils the whole movie.
Also there is a slight spoiler for A Quiet Place.
What would you do in a Bird Box situation?
I watched Bird Box, the new Netflix thriller starring Sandra Bullock and a bird box, immediately after watching Springsteen on Broadway over the holiday weekend. I was left with several questions, like, why did my family start another feature-length movie at 10 p.m.? Why was it okay for Bird Box to, uh, make people with mental illness the villainous human agents of the sky monster? And why weren’t there any dogs or cats? Huh? Do dogs and cats not exist in the world of Bird Box? (I found out from Wikipedia there was a dog in the book [control+F “dog”], but it was not immune to the sky monster. RIP.)
But after Bird Box ended I had one persistent thought, which is: If I were in Bird Box, I would just look at the thing.
I’ll explain the movie to you. There is a monster outside. Seeing the monster makes people spontaneously kill themselves, unless they were mentally ill in before-monster time, in which case they are immune; now those people hunt down the people who are not immune and force them to look. Trevante Rhodes is in it, and he is hot; birds are in it, and they are immune. Sandra Bullock keeps birds in a box because they chirp when the bad thing is close. Gwyneth Paltrow also kept a bird in a box in Country Strong, but it was for a different reason.
So, blah blah, everyone Sandra Bullock hid from the monster with at the beginning dies, except for two kids — her own, and another one. They travel down a dangerous river to a colony of other survivors whom they were able to contact via radio. Once they get there it’s revealed that the colony is situated in a former school for the blind. This reveal happens in the sort of way the Twilight Zone would always reveal its heavy-handed moral, but it is unclear what the moral is supposed to be. Blind people are helpful members of society? Okay. I did not doubt this previously.
Anyway, all of the surviving-during-Bird-Box-times seems extremely difficult, for not much reward. If it were me, I think I would just look at the thing. Everyone else I had known would be dead, yes? Earth would be under the forever rule of a very scary monster. Elon Musk’s Mars colony seems to be nonexistent in Bird Box, so there is no hope there, and would the monster be on Mars, too? I don’t know. Yes, staying inside is one of my favorite activities, but it would be hard to enjoy knowing how many dead bodies were decomposing just on the street outside.
Do you agree? The resilience of characters like Sandra Bullock in Bird Box and Emily Blunt in A Quiet Place and any of the people on Walking Dead, or whatever, is, I think, just not something I possess personally. Why scavenge for food and weapons when there are zombies around, and you still have to have your period, and there is no hope for obtaining new contacts if your old contacts get fucked up? There are zombies! Why have a baby in the Quiet Place, where you can’t even scream during labor or else some scary everywhere monster will come and kill you? (Also, why didn’t they bring Emily Blunt to the waterfall to have the baby? They should have moved to the waterfall a few months before she was scheduled to give birth. Why did John Krasinski know to go to the waterfall to have a talk with his son but not know to bring his wife there in preparation for labor? Why didn’t they just have a house near the waterfall?)
Another thing, to go back to Bird Box, is that I would be curious about what the sky monster looked like. Does it look different for everyone, and is it handsome? We’re lucky that Bird Box decided not to show us the monster, though, because it almost did show us, and apparently the monster was not very cool. Here is what Sandra Bullock said about it in an interview with Bloody Disgusting:
“It was a green man with a horrific baby face. It was snake-like, and I was like, ‘I don’t want to see it when it first happens. Just bring it into the room. We’ll shoot the scene.’ I turn and he’s like this [growling at me.] It’s making me laugh. It was just a long fat baby.”
Imagine you sacrificed your life to look at the thing, and then it was just a long fat baby. Damn. For me, if it was supposed to be tempting, I think it would look like Domhnall Gleeson telling me we could be together in the afterlife. Or, if it was supposed to be scary, it would look like coffee with an acquaintance.
Would I keep my eyes closed around the thing for a week in order to spend time indoors with Trevante Rhodes? Of course. I would spend a week with Trevante Rhodes and then I would go outside and look at the thing. Would I let my children look at the thing, if I had them? I am not going to answer this question. Would I be afraid my dog would look at the thing if I were not there to tell him not to? Yes, but chances are my dog is gonna look at the thing even if I’m there. You can only control an animal so much.
I think it is perhaps not socially acceptable to say it, or it’s at least macabre, but I do not have the survival instinct to “not look at the thing” in whatever sort of form it takes in horror movies. I would just look at the thing.