The basic premise of Birdbox is terrifying in its simplicity. The sudden appearance of mysterious, invisible entities causes people who look the entities to kill themselves tout de suite, resulting in spontaneous worldwide mass suicide.
The film’s main characters – who have sought sanctuary in the posh home of a cantankerous California lawyer -- quickly recognize and accept the supernatural and demonic nature of the entities. They also understand the demonic entities to be signifiers of the end times.
Once this understanding is in place, the characters mutter a few words about eschatology and refer to various apocalyptic myths and beliefs. After that, they do what any good modern secular atheist would do – hunker down and go into survival mode.
The Birdox characters figure out that staying alive entails not looking at the invisible entities, so they cover all the windows in the house and blindfold themselves whenever they need to venture outside.
They also learn that inherently evil people do not kill themselves after looking at the entities, but instead become the entities’ human servants -- free to roam the doomed world without blindfolds, driven by the motivation to force everyone else to look at the entities and commit suicide.
With human civilization effectively over, the main Birdbox characters sit around the house, bicker with each other, have sex in the laundry room, and make occasional supply runs in the apocalyptic landscape the world has become.
The only long-term hope for any of them involves reaching a safe place up the river, but this possibility only becomes apparent to a few of the characters several years after the initial catastrophe.
After the other characters are dead, the Sandra Bullock character takes the two children under her care and embarks on a journey up a river to find the aforementioned safe place.
Following a series of challenges and difficulties, the Bullock character and the kids make it to the safe place, which turns out to be a small community of people holed up in what was once an institute for the blind. Once the characters nestle into this veritable human oasis of peace and security, the film crashes to an abrupt end.
As I watched the film, I was singularly impressed by the characters’ utter lack of awareness or interest in the possibility of any kind of supernatural good that might be able to counter the obvious supernatural evil plaguing the world.
No one spoke of God. No one considered the primacy of the spiritual. No one repented. No one entertained any notions of heaven or life after death and with the exception of a three-second clip in which the John Malkovich character crosses himself, no one gave any thought to appealing to Jesus or to the Holy Spirit.
No, the only thing that mattered to any of them was physical survival. Granted, there wasn't much left to survive for, but what difference does that make? Moreover, even within the sanctuary of the institute of the blind, long-term survival was at best, dubious.
Yet within the context of the film, none of that seemed to matter. What did matter was that the Sandra Bullock character and the kids had made it to the safe place that was fated to fail – inevitably and ultimately – in some way or other, but hey. Roll credits, please.
The real world may not be Birdbox, but it is Birdemicbox. The demons are out there doing their thing as we speak.
Think and act accordingly.