Bird Box Theory: The Hidden Meaning Of The Netflix Horror Movie

few movies in the last little while have

made quite as big a splash as the

Netflix horror thriller bird box the

post-apocalyptic Sandra Bullock vehicle

blew up on social media

sparking memes and conversations galore

some fans absolutely swear that there's

a ton of meaning hidden in bird box that

are totally obvious if only we could

open our eyes and look proceed with

caution however because there are a ton

of spoilers ahead let's get started with

a bit of a refresher for anyone who

missed some details because they watch

the movie with one eye peeking through

their fingers screaming tell me when

it's over to their friends no of course

we're not talking about anyone in

particular so here's what we may or may

not have missed bird box follows Sandra

Bullock's Malory a woman on the verge of

reluctantly giving birth to her first

child who is unsure of her ability to

love it enough suddenly a terrifying

epidemic sweeps the earth but it's not

just any old epidemic this one is

actually an unseen evil that causes

whoever to look at it to lose all free

will and commit suicide

so Sandra's not having a great time off

the bat after the death of her sister

which is as tragic for us as it was for

her because Sarah Paulsen is a national


she takes shelter with a group of

survivors that include but are not

limited to a grumpy John Malkovich and

trivanti Rhodes who you should

absolutely remember from the third act

of moonlight over time and after lots

more tragedy and an extremely disturbing

next stabbing with scissors they learned

to adapt to their environment with the

use of blindfolds

sandy gives birth to her son and winds

up the guardian of another baby girl who

she and Trayvon raised together for five

years eventually it comes time to seek

shelter at a mysterious sanctuary at the

end of a long and perilous journey down

a river blindfolded remember

devastatingly sandy and little boy and

girl wind up having to go on without


for reasons that we are not ashamed to

say had us full-on screaming at the TV

r.i.p Trayvon you were too good for this

world a thrilling race along the river

follows and finally sandy and the kids

find their way to the sanctuary which

turns out to be a beautiful and secluded

school for the blind they're able to

take off their blindfolds at last and

because she no longer fears for their

immediate death Sandra gives the

children names

all's well that ends well oh yeah there

was a whole thing about birds in a box

but that's beside the point if you've

even glanced at any social media since

the movie was released you know what a

huge sensation this movie caused and for

good reason beyond just enjoying the

ride fans have come up with some pretty

amazing theories about what the deeper

meaning of bird boxes and one theory

stands out more than the rest for better

or for worse people can't stop talking

about how the movie is actually an

allegory for mental illness and the way

that we treated and those who suffer

from it while some have said the movie

actually stigmatized as mental illness

and does more harm than good

others see it as a message about how

much we ignore it because unlike

physical illnesses it's much easier to

hide Malorie actually says it pretty

plainly after the death of her sister

alone in the kitchen after the shock is

worn off a little she says that she and

her sister were just driving before Jess

got a look on her face that she had

never seen before this is probably one

of the most insightful observations

about mental illness that the movie

could make often people who are

struggling internally projecting outside

image that to the rest of us seems

totally fine they hide their pain often

to protect their loved ones from it and

a lot of the time because of the way we

look down on it in society until very

recently and unfortunately even still

today mental illness was seen as a

weakness something that could be

controlled if only the person affected

could just get over it but in Byrd box

the illness is a literal monster that is

so powerful that it is impossible to

just get over which is a physical

representation of what mental illness is

actually like no one would tell you to

just stop worrying about that giant

Lovecraftian entity that's terrorizing

you and the rest of the planet and if

they did well we've seen how well that

turns out and then there are the ones

who were immune to it the escaped

patients of a mental hospital who

actually enjoy looking at the monster

and who are hell-bent on forcing others

to see it - these characters have fueled

the argument that bird box is actually

doing more harm than good in the

conversation about mental health these

people who the movie affectionately

labeled the psychos from Northwood they

are those who are already afflicted and

because of this become extremely

dangerous and go around murdering

everyone by forcing them to look so it's


why that might make some movie goers

skeptical about the message that bird

box is trying to send on the surface it

seems like they're making the statement

that mental illness makes people

deranged and unhinged who want to

inflict their torment on everyone around

them or is the unwelcome British

houseguest put it but what if we look at

it in a slightly different way just for

a moment some fans have come to the

defense of the movie saying that while

it's easy to interpret it the negative

way there might be more below the


these mentally ill survivors are

unaffected by the power of the monster

because every day they live with the

horrors that are the worst fears of

others they are desperate for the

so-called normal people to see the

monster because they need them to

understand what it is that they're

forced to experience all the time and

yes they absolutely go about it in the

wrong way and it is extremely violent

and scary but this is a horror movie

after all and that's what horror movies

do best show us uncomfortable truths

about one thing or another and then blow

those truths totally out of proportion

until they're almost unrecognizable and

all we're left with is a feeling that we

can't quite describe another popular

theory surrounding Byrd box is a little

bit more direct and a lot more on the

nose some have said the real message in

the movie is about the fear of first

becoming a parent and then the weight of

the responsibility that comes once you

bring that baby home from the hospital

and are now the caretaker of a totally

dependent human life which is admittedly

terrifying it's easy to see how fans

have been drawing this conclusion about

Burt box as Malory expresses these fears

from the first moment we meet her and

she doesn't stop until the last frame of

the movie she's having a baby and boy is

she not looking forward to it she

refuses to say out loud that she is in

fact pregnant even while she's having an

ultrasound at her doctor's office if you

watch the scene again you'll also notice

that she doesn't even glance towards the

ultrasound machine to see what her baby

looks like and along with not wanting to

know the gender it's clear that Mallory

is terrified and beyond resistant about

the entire thing once we know that she

winds up the sole guardian of both a

little boy and girl the allegory about

parenting fears becomes even more

obvious starting with the fact that she

didn't even give them names but only

calls them boy

girl Mallory does this because the world

she lives in is so dangerous that they

could die at any moment and naming them

would make it so much harder to lose

them she won't even let Trayvon take a a

Tom tell the kids a story about climbing

a tree because she doesn't want to give

them hope for the future even the

blindfolds themselves can be seen as a

metaphor about the fears of being a

parent today and how tempting it can be

to be overprotective and try and shield

your children from everything just like

the monsters that they can't see in the

movie there is so much danger that can't

be predicted in this world and the idea

of blindfolding your children so they

don't have to see it as reflected in

bird box only much more literally

Mallory is the ultimate overprotective

parent because she has to be she is what

you might call a tiger mom who is

intensely strict harsh and borderline

cold towards her children all in the

name of protecting them while she is

definitely in the right to be so

aggressive about protecting them from

the monsters she is also preventing them

from experiencing any of the good things

about the world around them some believe

that the movie is making a huge

statement about that type of parenting

which is everywhere today and that

statement is that while yes it is so

important to protect your kids from harm

at some point they lose the ability to

actually learn for themselves and they

end up missing out on a whole lot of

good stuff as well in the scene after

the big fight with Tom when the family

is scavenging in a nearby house and come

across an old box of pop-tarts as an

example of how letting that guard down

for a second might actually be a good

thing for your kids rather than

deliberately not giving them the

pop-tarts so they don't develop false

hope about more sweet things in their

future they all have this amazing moment

together where they forget the terrible

world they live in and just enjoy some

strawberry treats together of course it

ends in total tragedy because again

horror movie and while some might see

this as a confirmation that it's better

to be overprotective and never let your

guard down when it comes to your

children authors believe it shouldn't be

taken that way at all yes losing tom was

so beyond tragic that Malorie almost

couldn't go on alone but loss is as much

a part of life as well life is as unfair

as that seems there is literally no way

to stop it from happening and so you

carry on later as the trio get to the

most treacherous part of the river when


she has no choice but to sacrifice one

of the children to look where they're

going as she steers the boat

it seems pretty likely that she's going

to pick girl rather than her biological

son but in the last moment she decides

against it it's at this moment that she

lets go of the idea that she can shield

them from everything by always making

the logical calculated decision rather

than sacrificing the girl who isn't

actually her blood she takes a leap

later in the forest after having been

separated from girl by the monster boy

says that the reason girl won't come to

her is because she's scared of Mallory

it's only when she breaks down and

apologizes to girl for being so hard on

her and tells her the end of Tom's story

that girl finds her way back to Mallory

just like with parenting even in a world

not dominated by giant unseen monsters

sometimes the only way to bring your

children back to you is to trust them

enough to do it themselves finally by

the time that Mallory and the kids make

it to the sanctuary she's able to give

them names let them go and play and

trust that they will be okay of course

it's because they're now hidden from the

mind eating demons or whatever they are

but still for the metaphor it totally

works of course like any movie there can

be more than one hidden meaning and for

bird box there are many but these two

seem to fit more than others so what did

you think of these theories do you

believe them at all or think everyone is

putting just a little too much thought

into all this do you have another bird

box theory that we should know about let

us know in the comments and we hope you

enjoyed the ride