bird box

In 2014, Josh Malerman published his debut novel “Bird Box”, a post-apocalyptic story about a woman who must find a way to guide herself and her children to safety despite the potential threat from an unseen entity. Malerman wrote the rough draft of his novel way before the releases of the movies The Happening (2008), The Road (2009), and A Quiet Place (2018), which all of which share similar themes and ideas with Bird Box.

The book was well received upon release with many critics comparing it to works by Stephen King. Netflix acquired the books rights and premiered the film version on December 21. The film stars Sandra Bullock and follows the same plot as the book with some slight variations. Here are the differences between the book and the film. Spoilers are present.


In the film, there are two time periods. One is of the present day where Malorie takes the kids on a trip in the river. All of them are wearing blindfolds. The other one is told through flashbacks that show us the moment the “creatures” hit the city. The book however takes place in three different time periods and the flashbacks are only told partially. In the book, the mass suicides take much longer to spread and Malorie’s sister gets to live a little longer.


In the film, we see the “creatures” have spread to Malorie’s city. Mass suicides have begun and chaos ensues in the streets. Malorie is driven by her sister Jessica who later “sees” the creatures and commits suicide by getting hit by a speeding truck. Jessica dies and Malorie manages to escape into a safe house. In the book, Jessica survives for three more months before accidentally seeing one of the creatures which prompted her to kill herself in the bathroom.


In the end of the film we see Malorie and her kids arrive at the sanctuary where blind people have resided. The sanctuary houses a lot of birds that can even warn people with sight if the creatures are near. The movie ends with Malorie and the kids taking their blindfolds off with a new sense of hope for the future. In the book however, we learn that many of the “blind” people in the sanctuary had intentionally gouged their eyes out. Director Susanne Bier says she intentionally intended to have the film a more positive ending.