Bird Box was a huge hit when it was released in December 2018, and while we all enjoyed the post-apocalyptic horror film then, nobody could have predicted how much scarier it would be to re-watch it during an actual pandemic.
The Sandra Bullock-led movie became the second most-watched original film on Netflix ever, racking up over 89 million views in four weeks after release – back in the heady days of 2018, before we all knew what was to come a little over a year later.
Quite a lot has changed since it was released – and re-watching the movie after 2020 is a very different experience the second time around.
While coronavirus is undoubtedly different to a supernatural plague which drives people crazy through the eyes, there are a lot of moments in the film which are terrifyingly resonant with the past year we’ve all been living through.
Here’s everything that hits differently when you watch Bird Box in the middle of an actual pandemic..
Malorie doesn’t take the outbreak seriously as the mysterious deaths and destruction is happening far away in Russia
Sound familiar, does it? At the start of Bird Box, Sandy B’s character Malorie Hayes is happily painting away in her studio before all hell breaks loose.
Her sister, Jessica, played by Sarah Paulson stops by to bring the pregnant Malorie some groceries and urges her to turn on the news to see what’s happening.
Malorie isn’t all that bothered and comments that they’ll probably be fine given the outbreak is happening so far away. Oh, how wrong she was.
When the Covid-19 pandemic began in Wuhan, China, most of the world didn’t pay too much attention to the news besides commenting on the home-made masks people had fashioned out of bras or five-litre water bottles to try and protect themselves from this mysterious and deadly virus. Little did we all know that just a few months down the line, there’d be fights over the last bottle of hand sanitiser and we’d all be making masks of our own just to be able to pop into Tesco.
All the panic buying and raiding supermarkets to stockpile food sounds familiar
When Jessica visits Malorie, she mentions that there’s been panic buying as people prepare to hunker down against the tide of mysterious mass suicides which is spreading across the world, which Malorie thinks is ridiculous.
Later in the film, once the food has started to run out in the house she and several others have been sheltering in, a group of them head out to the local store and load up trolleys to the brim with things they need to survive.
While there was no real impact on the supply of food during the coronavirus pandemic, the sight of empty shelves and people fighting over toilet paper that we witnessed in 2020 is definitely worthy of a post-apocalyptic world.
Travel is banned as airports and ports close
When Malorie finally turns on the news at the start of the film, the news report states that all transport hubs have been brought to a standstill.
While essential travel is still just about possible in the coronavirus pandemic, many countries around the world have shut their borders to visitors from the most-affected areas (the UK currently being one), and it certainly feels very different to when you could book a break abroad on a whim.
People ignore the advice to wear a blindfold over their eyes and risk their lives outdoors
The Bird Box ‘pandemic’ is caught by going outdoors with your eyes open or without a blindfold on, as victims are subjected to visions which drive them to take their own lives.
Those who step outside without them – or even catch sight of the mysterious visions via a home CCTV camera like Greg (played by BD Wong) – put themselves at risk.
Fans of the movie were quick to meme it when the coronavirus pandemic began, comparing those who refused to wear a face covering to the ones who went blindfold-less in Bird Box and… they kind of had a point.
Not to mention the gangs who apparently were immune to the visions and would try and find the remaining survivors and force them to remove their blindfolds and ‘see’ being akin to those who are against people wearing a scrap of material over their mouth to prevent Covid.
You should never let a stranger into your house
While the gang allow another pregnant woman, Olympia (Danielle MacDonald), into the house as she’s in desperate need of shelter, the second person they try to help proves you should never just let someone in your home if they tell you they’ve not been affected by the ‘pandemic’.
Gary (Tom Hollander) manages to convince Malorie et al to allow him in to the house, but soon begins exhibiting signs that all is not well with him, scribbling dark and terrifying drawings of the ‘creatures’ in his visions.
He later tries to force everyone else to see the creatures by ripping off the coverings from the windows and literally forcing people’s eyes open to look outside.
In 2020, the equivalent would be letting someone in your home in good faith as they have no symptoms of coronavirus… only to find out they do in fact have it but have been asymptomatic all along, putting the rest of the inhabitants in danger.
Pets have never been more important
In Bird Box, the birds Malorie picks up during the shopping excursion end up saving her life on many occasions by warning when the ‘creatures’ are near, as they start to flap and squawk when they sense danger.
While household animals in 2020 probably didn’t tweet/bark/meow to let you know when you were near to someone with coronavirus, they definitely became our constant companions through the many months of isolation, and that’s kind of the same thing.
You’ve got to stay at home except for essential journeys
Every time Malorie or the other characters left the house (albeit for supplies) something bad would inevitably happen – from Tom having to sacrifice himself to save Malorie and Boy and Girl, to them being duped into almost letting someone into the supermarket after they claimed to have been locked in the freezer.
Basically, the safest place to ride this one out is indoors and that’s pretty great advice for fictional and real-life pandemics alike.