Movie studios don't always know how audiences will react to a film and, while some plot points might seem innocuous to the powers that be, certain viewers can pick up on themes the filmmakers didn't and point out a project's failures. In the case of Bird Box, some audiences are taking issue with the depiction of mental illness and suicide.
In the film, the world has been infiltrated by unseen monsters which, when witnessed by humans, drive individuals "crazy," often resulting in self-harm. The only people who are safe from these fatal consequences are those who wear blindfolds while in the company of the creatures and those who are already "mentally ill," as those people instead act as agents of the beasts, infiltrating groups of survivors in order to expose them to the otherworldly horrors.
One faction of viewers feels that, by using the effect of "going crazy" to convey the terrors of the beasts, the film is stigmatizing anyone with any mental illness and turning them into a monster without any subtlety. Additionally, claiming that anyone who is already suffering from a mental illness is somehow safe from the creatures and instead spreads these consequences even further within communities effectively demonizes these characters. Additionally, having characters go crazy and kill themselves further stigmatizes suicide and the reasons someone would commit it.
However, some fans actually think the film aims to spread awareness about such issues, seemingly exploring how anyone, anywhere, at any time could be overcome by dangerous thoughts, no matter what preconceived notions someone might have about these issues.
Scroll down to see what fans are saying about Bird Box's depictions of mental illness and suicide.
Contributes to Phobias
One day we're gonna talk about how #BirdBox weponized mental Illness and contributes to the phobia of people with mental illness…— Freak Man Freak Man, Yea dats Me… (@RamCity) December 24, 2018
I was looking forward to Bird Box, but their terrible take on mental illness is distracting enough that I can’t enjoy the rest of it. At least I know at the end of the world the monsters cant hurt me I guess?— Roisi (@roisiproven) December 23, 2018
Spoiler alert: can we talk about bird box? Did anyone else notice the blatant demonization of mental illness in this flick?— Stargazer Brad (@thepeaceofrome) December 25, 2018
We need to talk about the dangerous layers of physical and mental ableisms in Bird box. I'ma hold that convo on ig live proly tonight. The way people w. physical disabilities & mental disabilities were separated as safe vs dangerous + villification of people w. mental illness.— IAM (@IndyaMoore) December 28, 2018
its so wack that people w mental disabilities are drawn out as violent toward communities.. etc— IAM (@IndyaMoore) December 28, 2018
if we wanna be really real about it, my sometimes suicidal ass should definitely be affected by entities that literally make ppl commit mass suicide. Bird Box opted for the generic criminalizing / fear of mental illness.— vanessa taylor (@BaconTribe) December 26, 2018
I liked Birdbox but wow what a terrible way to portray mental illness— Leah (@leahhjana) December 24, 2018
ok birdbox had a great build up but they lost me when they started connecting demons/being possessed to mental illness. there is already a stigma about this that we need to stop perpetuating. i was hoping they would somehow resolve this by the end but they didn’t...— ikru (@ikrainium) December 26, 2018
I think there's a deeper meaning to #Birdbox. like maybe it was meant to symbolize how we, as a society, are becoming too caught up in the medias portrayal of mental illness being amusing or laughable which is in turn causing us to self diagnose ourselves.— craigclarke (@datboicraigg) December 24, 2018
Seeing the Light
My interpretation of #BirdBox was a lot different than reviews I’ve read and tweets I’ve seen. I definitely think it highlights different types of mental illness/depression and seeing the light at the end. Definitely an awesome movie imo but if you are having suicidal thoughts &— Kimo-James Tipoti (@Teddy2James) December 24, 2018
are suffering from any form of mental illness or depression please do not watch this movie!— Kimo-James Tipoti (@Teddy2James) December 24, 2018
I think Bird Box was shedding light on how people who aren’t affected by mental illness & suicidal thoughts can’t see what a person is going through when they decide to take their life. They want us to see & understand so bad rather than just judging them. Idk just my thought— AK (@AyreonaKParish) December 28, 2018