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How Bird Box Should Have Ended

VO: Rebecca Brayton WRITTEN BY: Sean Frankling

Bird Box is perfectly designed to capture our imagination, setting up an intriguing puzzle, then holding back the information we need to solve it. But the ending leaves a lot of questions unaddressed. That’s why it’s time to talk about How Bird Box SHOULD Have Ended. Spoiler alert, so if you haven’t watched the movie, get to it, and come back to watch this video.


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Script written by Sean Frankling

How Bird Box Should Have Ended

Blindfolds and monsters and Malkovich…oh my! Welcome to WatchMojo, and today we’re taking a look at How Bird Box Should Have Ended.

Bird Box is perfectly designed to capture our imagination. It sets up an intriguing puzzle and then holds back the information we need to solve it. That’s why blindfolding the main characters is such a clever gimmick - we know as little as they do about the monsters, and what we don’t know absolutely can hurt us.

Still, there’s a fine line between a movie that scares us with what we can’t know and one that frustrates us with what the writers won’t let us see. Bird Box is definitely a scary movie, sure. But the way it ends leaves a lot of questions unaddressed. That’s why we should talk about How Bird Box Should Have Ended.

Now, before we go any further, we need a big-time spoiler warning. We’re going to talk about how Bird Box actually ended and that means revealing some major plot details. If you haven’t seen it yet, this is your chance to check it out, then come back and finish this video.

Back? Great. Here’s the first big question we need to ask: Where was the army that whole time?

When the movie begins, there’s a news broadcast about suicidal behavior sweeping through Europe and Asia, leaving tens of thousands dead. It’s been going on for hours, maybe days, before things start to go wrong in North America. That’s definitely enough time to draw government attention. And in the famously disaster-prepared U.S., that means fallback positions and bunkers should be ready to go long before the country shuts down.

With that much warning, the government and military would have learned about the enemy’s modus operandi - which is to drive people insane on sight. Now sure, most of the army’s anti-invasion plans on the ground probably involve guns, which don’t do so well when you can’t see what you’re aiming at. But there’s a whole nation’s worth of law enforcement, military and science personnel armed with sonar, radar, and thermal imaging equipment. And while in the novel, animals are also susceptible to the monsters’ attacks, it might not be that way in the movie world - meaning that police and military dogs could also be used to guide response teams. Despite all these possible resources, we never see so much as a hint of organized rescue efforts or resistance.

Of course, at this point, you might be wondering if the monsters can even be hurt at all. The short answer is, we don’t know. And why not? Because no one in the movie tries. Now don’t forget, this is a movie that gets its scares from a feeling of powerlessness against an indestructible threat. But as it is, we never see any actual evidence that the threat is indestructible.

At the end of the movie, there’s a scene where the monsters try to trick Malorie into opening her eyes by mimicking the voices of her loved ones. If only she’d thrown a rock or even just taken a swing in the direction the voices were coming from. Sure, it might not have harmed the monster, but whether her blow had connected or not, she’d know something no one else had bothered to check. She’d know whether or not they could be hurt. And until the characters know that for sure, there’s no reason they shouldn’t try to defend themselves.

In the movie’s source material, the “creatures” seem to be physical - they’re able to enter houses, and described as giving off “warmth” and having “heavy footsteps”. On screen, they remain invisible to the audience, but they do displace objects around them. So while they might be gaseous clouds, or supernatural entities, it’s not IMPOSSIBLE that some physical actions could affect them. Who knows, maybe they have a weakness?

In fact, we also know that the monster’s primary weapon isn’t perfect. Most people who catch even a glimpse of the creatures seem to go insane or fall under mind control. They kill themselves immediately or become obsessed with showing others what they saw. But there’s one scene that suggests it’s possible to resist it. Near the end of the movie, Tom is fighting a group of monster-worshippers, when he takes the risk of opening his eyes to aim at his enemies. Unluckily for him, that also means he gets a good look at one of the monsters. For most people, that would instantly seal their fate. But Tom does something incredible.

He visibly resists the urge to kill himself long enough to turn his gun on the last of the crazies chasing down his family. Sadly, once he’s done, he does end his own life, too. But in that last act of defiance, Tom proves it’s possible to fight back against the monsters. And anything that can be fought might be defeated. If one heroic ex-soldier can stave the insanity off for a few seconds, who knows what someone with dedicated mental resistance training might do?

The actual ending of Bird Box doesn’t offer us much hope for the long term. Sure, Malorie and her children are safe for now in the former school for the blind. But unless the survivors are all willing to make their blindness permanent, they needs a plan to take back the outside world.

If the military really are out there somewhere, the simplest alternate ending might be the sudden, explosive arrival of a rescue force. Remember Shaun of the Dead? We could have a rescue team show up when the heroes most need them and blow away the monsters with overwhelming force. But… that’s kind of a deus ex machina. We can do better.

Instead, how about ending on a scene where Malorie and the other survivors lay out what they’ve learned so far and start building a more long-term solution to the monster problem? After all, half the fun of an apocalypse movie is figuring out how you’d react in the same circumstances. People all over the internet are talking about how they’d survive this scenario, so why shouldn’t the movie itself do more to solve that puzzle? Maybe there’s even a sequel-hook as humanity turns the fight back on the monsters.

Now, yes, a potential solution might interfere with Bird Box’s crushing sense of dread. But you know what? Maybe it’s time we fight back against the things that go bump in the night.

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