Bird Box is a 2018 American post-apocalyptic thriller film directed by Susanne Bier from a screenplay written by Eric Heisserer, based on the 2014 novel of the same name by Josh Malerman. The film follows a woman, played by Sandra Bullock, who, along with a pair of children, dubbed Boy and Girl, must make it through a forest and river blindfolded to avoid supernatural entities which cause people who see them to die by suicide. Trevante Rhodes, Jacki Weaver, Rosa Salazar, Danielle Macdonald, Lil Rel Howery, Tom Hollander, BD Wong, Sarah Paulson, Colson Baker, and John Malkovich also star.
Bird Box had its world premiere at AFI Fest on November 12, 2018, and began a limited release on December 14, before streaming worldwide on Netflix on December 21, 2018.
A tense mother, Malorie, sternly informs two unnamed children, a girl and a boy, that they will be going on a dangerous journey down a river in a boat. She strictly instructs them to not remove their blindfolds—or else they will die.
Five years earlier, Malorie is pregnant and is visited by her older sister Jess while painting. Before going to a routine pregnancy checkup, they briefly discuss a strange news story regarding mass suicides throughout Europe. While they are leaving the doctor’s office later, Malorie sees a woman bashing her head into a glass panel. As panic and chaos erupt in the city, they attempt to escape in Jess’s car. While Malorie is distracted by a ringing cell phone in the back seat, Jess briefly sees something, a mysterious entity, that suddenly entrances her, causing her to crash the car in an apparent attempt to kill herself. Injured and horrified, Malorie is unable to stop her sister. Visibly affected by what she has seen, Jess steps in front of a large truck, killing herself.
Malorie follows the mob, and is pushed to the ground. She is rescued by a woman named Lydia and led to a band of survivors hiding in a house, however, Lydia sees an entity and commits suicide by entering a burning car. As media communications go off-line, the group tries to figure out what has happened, and concur that simply seeing the entities can cause humans to go insane and commit suicide, so they cover the windows to shield themselves from the entities outside. Greg, the house’s owner, attempts to use the house’s security cameras to see outside, believing a digital image of the entities will not harm him, but he is still affected, and kills himself.
As time passes, food supply concerns give rise to the discussion of leaving their safe house. Malorie and fellow survivors Charlie, Tom, Douglas, and Lucy, decide to go to a nearby supermarket, that Charlie worked at, to get supplies. They black out the windows in the car and use the car’s proximity sensors and GPS to navigate their drive to the supermarket. Inside the store, Malorie finds pet birds which she decides to adopt. Douglas gets drunk and suggests that the group stays permanently in the supermarket, but others reject this idea. Hearing someone call for help, Tom opens a loading dock door to let a man into the store. As the door opens, the birds begin to screech and flap their wings, indicating that they can detect the entities without seeing them. The man in the loading dock, who Charlie indicates is somewhat mentally ill, attempts to force himself through the door while the group struggle to force it closed due to the man’s large size. Charlie suddenly runs and pushes the man and himself back into the room, whereupon the others secure the door and Charlie’s assumed murder is heard. They then return safely to the house. Later, Lucy and Felix steal the car, effectively abandoning everyone at the house without any means of transportation.
Soon thereafter, Olympia, a pregnant survivor, lets a wandering survivor, Gary, into the house against Douglas’s protest, and the group locks up Douglas in the garage as punishment. Gary speaks of other survivors who looked at the entities but survived due to being insane, and are now compelled to force unaffected humans to look at the entities. When both Olympia and Malorie go into labor, Gary reveals himself to be one of the insane people he described. He strikes Tom unconscious and proceeds to remove all the coverings from the windows. Gary murders Douglas and forces Olympia and another survivor to view the entities, resulting in their immediate suicides. Tom awakens and barely manages to kill Gary, saving Malorie and the two newborns.
Five years later, Tom and Malorie are living together with the children, whom Malorie calls only Boy and Girl, when they receive a transmission from a survivor stating that they are well and safe at a “community” downriver. Tom wants to go there with her and the children, but Malorie fears it is another trap. Shortly after the transmission, Malorie blindfolds herself and the children and they flee when a group of armed insane survivors find their house and attempt to force them to look at the entities and/or kill them. Tom, realizing the men may soon kill Malorie and the children, decides to sacrifice himself and takes off his blindfold, enabling him then to see and kill all the insane survivors with a gun. However, in the process, he sees the entities and is then compelled to shoot himself in the head.
Malorie decides they have to seek a better shelter. While she and the children are still blindfolded, she takes them and the pet birds to a rowboat next to a river, where they embark down the river. After losing their supplies in the water, killing an insane survivor who attacks their boat, and capsizing in raging rapids over their 42-hour journey, they leave the boat and walk blindly among the trees. The entities tempt the children and Malorie to remove their blindfolds by mimicking the voices of loved ones, but are unsuccessful, and the family eventually reaches their destination.
Malorie learns that the “community” is actually an old school for the blind with a primarily blind, and therefore immune, population. She also again meets Dr. Lapham, the doctor who attended her during her pregnancy checkup a few years prior. She finally gives the children names, Olympia for the girl, after her mother, and Tom for the boy, after her fellow survivor and later lover, and releases the birds.