If you thought Bird Box the movie was dark, you should check out the book…
The film, released on Netflix last month, stars Sandra Bullock as a mom of two who strives to survive and protect her children from mysterious creatures who terrorize a post-apocalyptic world by making anyone who sees them go crazy and commit suicide. Therefore, the safest course of action would be to make sure you cannot see…anything.
Like most if not all film adaptations of novels, the on-screen version of the story has several differences.
“The movie is slightly more positive,” Bird Box director Susanne Bier told Polygon in December. “The movie is, in many aspects, different from the book, but it’s also very rooted in the book. The book also has a kind of positive ending and I would not have wanted to do an apocalyptic movie that didn’t have a hopeful ending. In a way, pretty much everything I’ve done has had some sort of a hopeful ending.”
“I’m not particularly interested for the audience to leave, from the cinema or their own screen, with a kind of completely bleak point of view,” she said. “That’s not really what I believe in. And so for me it was key and, and part of what made me interested in it, was that that if this scary, dystopian story, which actually has a hopeful undercurrent…there is a hopefulness in trust. That is a hopefulness in love. There is a hopeful note in certain values that I really appreciate it. And I thought that was hugely important.”
Here are the key differences between Bird Box the book and Bird Box the movie:
1. The Location: The book is set in Detroit, while the movie takes place in Northern California.
2. Malorie’s Sister’s Death: In the movie, her name is Jess and in the book, her name is Shannon. In the movie, Jess sees the creatures and commits suicide after a car accident, after driving her sister. In the novel, we get to know her a bit more, and as she and Malorie barricade themselves in their apartment for months before she accidentally sees one of the creatures and takes her own life in the bathroom.
3. The Apocalypse: There are more details about it and its effects in the book. Hey, the movie is only two hours long…
4. What’s Up With Tom? In the film, his character serves mainly as Malorie’s love interest and he helps her raise her kids. In the book, there is no romance and he dies before the children are born but is given a larger role beforehand—he is the leader of their survivors’ group.
5. Enter John Malkovich: The actor plays a character named Douglas in the movie. He does not exist in the book.
6. Where Are the Dogs? In the novel, dogs are shown and one goes crazy just like the humans. There are no dogs in the movie.
7. Where’s the River? The book does not feature the movie scene where Malorie and her kids made their way through raging rapids to get to a sanctuary.
8. The Blindfolds: Unlike in the movie, in the book, Malorie’s kids are blindfolded from birth, which allows them to develop heightened other senses, and never take their blindfolds off.
9. The Birds: In the book and the movie, the birds serve as a warning system against the creatures. In the book, Tom keeps them at the house for this purpose and Malorie brings them with her and the kids on their journey to sanctuary. In the film, Malorie finds a cage full of birds at a grocery store and takes it with her. Unlike humans, the birds do not become suicidal when seeing the creatures.
10. The Ending: The ending is far darker in the book; Malorie and her kids reach a community of people who chose to gouge their eyes out to protect themselves permanently from the creatures. In the movie, the ending is not as grisly; Malorie and her kids reach the Jane Tucker School for the Blind and some of residents are able to see.