Soul Birds, Purgatory Forest, and Other Bird Box Metaphors. Bird Box (2018): plot summary, meaning, essence of the ending, similar films
Genre: Horror, Fantasy, Screenplay
Year of production: 2018
Directed by: Suzanne Beer
Actors: Sandra Bullock, Trevante Rhodes, John Malkovich
tagline: “Never Lose Sight of Survival”
The picture of Susanna Beer is called by many at the same time science fiction, horror and post-apocalyptic. The unhurried plot of the film “Bird Box” (Bird Box) almost eliminates the dynamics. But this is not an action movie, but rather an intellectual, almost philosophical movie with interesting references. Its meaning lies in the fact that chaos always gives rise to something new and no one can be left “out of the game”. You can become at least a righteous man, even an undead, but you can only live normally if you manage to cope with yourself.
What is the movie about
A brief description of the content of the picture. In the center of the plot of the film Bird Box is the artist Malorie Hayes. A woman who is in her last month of pregnancy (and not particularly happy about this fact) is visited by her sister Jessica.
Meanwhile, a frightening report is broadcast on TV, which talks about unexplained mass suicides. Without paying much attention to this, the girls go to the gynecologist. In the hallway, Malory sees a woman banging her head hard against the windowpane. The sisters rush to get out and suddenly see that in a matter of minutes the world around has changed – complete chaos reigns in the streets. They are horrified to realize that the strange virus that was talked about on TV is true.
Sandra Bullock played the role of Malory. Frame from the film.
Unexpectedly, Jessica, who is driving, starts acting strange as well. Sitting next to Malory, it becomes clear that her sister was frightened by something while invisible to her. She tries to calm Jessica, but it is useless: she loses control of the car, and it overturns. They survive, but a few seconds later, still in a trance, Jessica is hit and killed by a truck.
The shocked Mallory is helped by a black man named Tom, and together they run into a nearby house. There are several people there, and no one understands what is happening. In the end, after a long discussion, the heroes of the film come to the conclusion that they were attacked by some invisible entities. By opening his eyes to them, a person lets them into himself. After that, he commits suicide.
The windows in the house are curtained and all the cracks are carefully plugged. At this moment, another survivor asks inside – a girl named Olympia. It soon turns out that she is also pregnant. Some time passes and the house runs out of food. Several people, including Tom and Malory, get together to go to the supermarket. Previously, they paint over the windows of the car and connect the GPS. The Navigator soon informs them of a possible collision from all directions, and they realize that mysterious entities are surrounding them. However, Tom, who is driving, still manages to break through.
In the store, the heroes collect as much food as they can carry with them. In the same place, Malory sees birds, which she also decides to take. The heroes are about to leave, but they hear a strange sound from the freezer. A colleague of one of the survivors sits there and asks to go outside. The heroes release him, but soon regret it – amazed by the entities, he furiously urges them to open up to him and assures that after that they will be able to comprehend the meaning of everything that happens. With great difficulty, with the help of a guy named Charlie, who sacrificed himself, he is driven back.
The role of Jessica was played by Sarah Paulson. Frame from the film.
After a while, another person appears in the house, Gary, who talks about a nightmare happening outside – all the patients left the psychiatric hospitals. They see the entities and want everyone else to see them… An elderly man named Douglas aggressively demands that he leave, but the decision of the majority of the newcomer remains.
Later in the film, Malory and Olympia go into labor at the same time. While Tom and Cheryl, the medical girl, are trying to help them, Gary pulls out drawings of monsters from the folder he brought. So it becomes clear that he is one of the “agents of entities”.
He takes Malory’s bird cage and puts it in the fridge for some reason, then rips the paper off the windows. All this is being watched by Douglas, who is trying to warn Tom as he passes by. Gary knocks out the guy with a strong blow and tries to get rid of Douglas, but he, realizing in time, closes his eyes. Then Gary goes to the women in labor (Olympia has a girl and Malorie has a boy) and pulls up the blinds. Olympia is killed, and then an armed Douglas bursts into the room. Unfortunately, he cannot shoot with his eyes closed, but he still pulls the trigger, after which he dies. A little later, Tom, who came to his senses, manages to neutralize the madman, after which he saves the birds, and takes the frightened Mallory with the children away from the damned house.
Five years have passed since then. Tom and Malory live together and raise children. Sometimes they see people driving around in cars with open windows and no blindfolds.
At night, they receive a message from a certain Rick, who invites them to come to a safer place and gives the appropriate instructions – to find shelter, the heroes will need to go to the voices of birds – the birds somehow feel the entities and can help them protect themselves from dangers. Tom likes the idea – the rescued birds still live with them, but Mallory is afraid that this is a trap.
John Malkovich starred as Douglas. Frame from the film.
Further, the content of the film becomes more gloomy and dynamic – marauders attack the house. Tom tells Malory to take the birds and children and leave, and kills almost all the marauders. Finding that one of the villains went in pursuit of Malory, Tom rushes after him. One of the entities begins to influence him, but he fights it and defeats the last marauder. After that, he kills himself.
Bird Box Ending explanation
Explanation of the ending of the picture. Malory gets to the river and, having put the children in the boat, begins to work with oars. Deciding to rest on the shore, she tells the children to sit in the boat, while she herself goes to an abandoned house. There, she encounters an entity that begins the pursuit. The mysterious monster uses everything to force her and the children to remove their bandages, but Mallory resists with all her might. Towards the end, they, following the voices of the birds, finally get to the shelter.
The survivors look them in the eye and, realizing that Malory and the children are not infected, accept them. Rick, the man who invited them here, says that they are in a school for the blind, and the complex, in which not only people but also birds live, is securely protected. In the very last scene, Malory releases the birds that saved her to her relatives.
The meaning of the ending of the film “Bird Box” is symbolic, like the whole tape. According to many viewers who have analyzed the picture, the entities symbolize the modern world, which absorbs the souls of people. The main characters were able to survive in chaos, which means they saved their souls from the modern world.
There is also a deeper interpretation. The river is life, the bandage is faith, the rapids on the river that the heroes overcame trying to get to the shelter are the line between life and death. Accordingly, the forest is purgatory, the community is paradise, and the world is chaos, from which only faith can save.
The meaning of the film Bird Box
After watching the film, many questions remain: who are the entities and what, in fact, happened? In general, “Bird Box” is an adaptation of the novel of the same name by Josh Mallerman. However, judging by the reviews, there is no solution there either.
We can only understand how invisible aggressors operate: through eye contact, they induce people to commit suicide. No virus – just something like mass hysteria.
In the course of the picture, the heroes periodically express various assumptions: a threat from North Korea, from Russia, Doomsday … However, no one believes in the latter, except for plump Charlie, who, unlike the courageous Tom, the former military man, is the least like a hero – and who alone of all commits “conscious suicide”, sacrificing himself for the sake of almost strangers.
According to Charlie, humanity was condemned for its sins and everything that happens is a punishment, and demonic entities that prey on people enjoy chaos and destruction. The ideas expressed by Charlie are based on shape-shifting demons that adapt to human fears.
Entities can slightly affect the world, but they do not cause direct harm. They only penetrate the mind and make you look at them. Then the man kills himself…
What do people see before they die? According to Sandra Bullock, who played the role of Malory, there are several deleted scenes in the film. In one of them, the entities were nevertheless shown – in particular, Malory saw creatures that looked like green thick and long humanoids with a creepy childish face. They were probably a metaphorical embodiment of her fears of motherhood.
Trevante Rhodes as Tom. Frame from the film.
At a certain point, we are given to understand that the suicidal effect occurs only in mentally healthy people. It does not apply to the insane – on the contrary, they become fierce fans of entities. One of these “adepts” was Gary, through whose fault almost all the people who hid in the house died. He not only remained alive after contact with the entities, but also captured them. In one of the mise-en-scenes, he lays out the drawings he brought with him, on each of which we see Cthulhu-like creatures. According to Lovecraft’s mythology, Cthulhu is an ancient cosmic creature that drives people crazy and inspires them with fanatical devotion. However, the drawings may well be the result of Gary’s creative thought.
It is probably because of the obscure nature of the entities that it is so difficult to understand the essence of the film. It is very metaphorical and in the course of the plot there are many more questions than answers.
What do the blindfolds and the school for the blind symbolize, where Malory and her children found their salvation? According to many viewers, we are talking about the Mormon ideology, which is expressed in blind faith – supposedly salvation lies only in it. Another big metaphor is actually the bird box itself.
Birds feel the approach of monsters and therefore they are enemies for some and salvation for others. In many mythologies, the bird symbolizes the soul…
An analogy can be drawn here: the birds are sitting in a box when the heroes are walking through the purgatory forest. Once in the shelter, Malory releases them to other birds in a place that resembles the Garden of Eden painted on old engravings. It turns out that the rest of the survivors also brought birds with them – that is, they saved their souls, having previously passed through purgatory and cleansed themselves in the river.
According to some viewers, not everything is so simple here – there is a frightening hidden meaning behind the biblical motifs lying on the surface. The bottom line is that the world is terrible and cruel, and whoever opens their eyes and looks at it will either go crazy or want to commit suicide. Most would rather be blind or die than see the truth. It is the insane who gain freedom in the new world, while the normal fall into the cage of their norms – to the “school for the blind”, where they are happy to live in a lie and not see the horror that is happening in the real world.
The sighted go mad, and the blind enjoy their blindness. Maybe this is a real reflection of the current reality? ..
Frame from the film.
Here are a few films similar in meaning to Bird Box:
- “A Quiet Place” (USA, 2018). A small family lives in a secluded place. They need to be very quiet, otherwise they threaten to attract dangerous and extremely voracious entities …
- “The Phenomenon” (USA, India, 2008). The earth was struck by a terrible misfortune – it is not clear why people everywhere commit suicide.
- “Mist” (USA, 2007). A small town is covered with a thick supernatural fog, in which scary monsters hide.
- “Blindness” (Brazil, Canada, Japan, UK, Italy, 2008). Residents of the metropolis one by one lose their sight. It’s happening so fast that survival is paramount.
- “Silence” (USA, Germany, 2019). By pure chance, cavers unleash bloodthirsty creatures. Blind bloodthirsty creatures react only to the sound …