The Brief: The Netflix film Bird Box is an unprecedented hit that has inspired memes and an internet challenge that Netflix had to warn people not to participate in.
Netflix’s Bird Box
Bird Box is a Netflix original post-apocalyptic thriller starring Sandra Bullock and directed by Susanne Bier. The film revolves around her and other characters’ struggle to survive while a mysterious force causes the death of anyone who looks at it. For much of the film, the characters wear blindfolds to protect themselves from danger. The movie’s title refers to a box containing live birds that some characters bring on their flight from danger – the reasons why they have the birds come to light later in the film. In the first seven days since its release, Bird Box became Netflix’s most-viewed original film in a one-week period, with over 45 million accounts viewing it, according to the site. The hype around Bird Box includes many memes and the potentially dangerous so-called “bird box challenge.”
The Bird Box Challenge
Although the movie is quite scary and any type of “Bird Box Challenge” may sound horrifying to those who have viewed it, some people have taken the concept of trying to navigate daily life while blindfolded and turned it into a semi-viral internet challenge. It’s unclear how many people have actually attempted such a challenge, but Netflix brought it to public attention by tweeting a warning for fans to be wary of such challenges for their own safety.
Can’t believe I have to say this, but: PLEASE DO NOT HURT YOURSELVES WITH THIS 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.
— Netflix US (@netflix) January 2, 2019
This tweet, which urges people not to “end up in the hospital due to memes,” has further proliferated the idea of the Bird Box Challenge, and inspired memes related to it. Variations of the challenge suggested that people blindfold themselves and their children, or even drive with blindfolds on. YouTuber Morgan Adams posted a video of herself doing a “24 Hour Bird Box Challenge,” which has over 1.8 million views. Some have suggested that Netflix’s tweet is an attempt to spread memes about the challenge, rather than to express real concern about its potential danger.
— FireMadeFlesh (@FleshFire) December 27, 2018
Like the viral Tide Pod Challenge of last year, it is unclear to what extent this is something people are actually doing, or if they’re just joking about it. Either way, it has become a meme about a serious safety concern arising from a nonsensical internet challenge.
Bird Box Memes
Tamer than the #BirdBoxChallenge, bird box memes reference the film and use screenshots to illustrate jokes. Many memes use the blindfolds as a metaphor for avoiding something by hiding from it or pretending that you don’t see it. A more disturbing part of the film, in which a man forces a woman’s blindfold off and holds her eyes open has been used to convey a moment of sudden reckoning with reality. Other memes include an image of someone wearing a blindfold in another film or pop culture moment and joke that it was from another part of the film. One meme format draws from Bird Box, A Quiet Place, and Hush.
— † kacie † (@kacielynnnnnnn) December 29, 2018
— Neil ✨ (@neilryanagan) December 30, 2018
— RussellMartin (@RussellAMartin) December 26, 2018