The compound term bird box is first recorded in English in the British naturalist and explorer Alfred Russel Wallace’s – who independently proposed the theory of evolution by natural selection and prompted Darwin to publish On the Origin of Species – scientific exploration (1869) of the Malay Archipelago, where he used bird boxes to catch birds alive.
Simply put, a bird box is a trapping technique to catch a bird, that said: Netflix claims that has managed to “catch” 80 million households in viewing its Bird Box in its first four weeks on the streaming service.
If you have not yet seen the Netflix original movie, let us shed some light: based on Josh Malerman’s 2014 book of the same name, Bird Box presents a post-apocalyptic scenario where a mysterious supernatural force causes an outbreak that spreads across the world causing people to involuntarily commit suicide when they look at it, with staying indoors (yet not looking outside the window) or wearing a blindfold outside depicted as the way to survive / or not get “infected”.
In a five-years-later aftermath, a female survivor, played by Sandra Bullock, takes her son (Boy) and a girl (along with birds in a box, as birds sense the evil force when it is near), on a 42-hour-long blindfolded journey through the woods and down a river to make it to a sanctuary, where a few survivors, most blind and thus immune, live in a peaceful and cheerful bird box themselves.
Following the synopsis, it is hard to believe that the movie set a record for most viewers in a single week (45 million during its first week online), yet it is much more than a sci-fi horror movie, with some viewers seeing the story as a religious allegory (a blind leap of faith as walking by faith not sight), while others finding the underlying messages of parenting fears, racism, mental illnesses awareness, and up to the damaging influences of fake news and social media.
In the movie, a TV news anchor warns: “Do not go outside, avoid social media…”, in reality, social media did not at all avoid the movie and it soon became a real magnet for countless memes and a viral video phenomenon with people doing the Bird Box Challenge (filming themselves going about their daily lives blindfolded).
Unprecedentedly, Netflix issued a Twitter warning to fans to not hurt themselves with the Bird Box Challenge: “We don’t know how this started, and we appreciate the love, but Boy and Girl have just one wish for 2019 and it is that you not end up in the hospital due to memes.”
And while the tweet has received over 300 000 likes, many accuse Netflix of creating some fake news’ social media marketing.
Bird Box:“I think I see a whole bunch of people sitting together, but they all feel incredibly lonely”
“The loneliness is just incidental, it’s really about people’s inability to connect.”