Cookies help us deliver our Services. By using our Services, you agree to our use of cookies. Learn More.

Netflix Issues Warning Against Viral 'Bird Box Challenge'

We're not even a handful of days into the new year, and already it's off to a bizarre start, with Netflix issuing a statement against a viral challenge meme inspired by Bird Box

Netflix's latest film to take the world by storm, Bird Box is a post-apocalyptic thriller starring Sandra Bullock that takes place in an alternate world ravaged by mysterious, never-shown-on-screen monsters that force people to kill themselves when they look at them (and coerce those who "survive" seeing them into driving others to suicide). Not exactly a "cuddle up on the sofa with your partner for a romantic night in" kind of movie, but people are loving it all the same. Bird Box has generated mostly positive reviews from critics ("Bird Box never quite reaches its intriguing potential, but strong acting and an effectively chilly mood offer intermittently creepy compensation," its consensus reads on Rotten Tomatoes), sparked a multitude of fan theories (like the one that suggests the in-film world experienced mass psychosomatic hysteria), and meme after chuckle-worthy meme

But recently, Bird Box has inspired something strange and dangerous: a "challenge" in which fans of the film put on blindfolds and attempt to navigate their surroundings — just like Bullock's Malorie and the two children she cares for, Boy and Girl, do in the film. 

The stunt went viral online, gaining traction under the apt name "Bird Box Challenge," as more and more people posted videos of themselves walking down stairs and even driving with their eyes covered. It quickly spread to mainstream news media outlets, and soon attracted the attention of Good Morning America, which aired a segment featuring host Michael Strahan donning a blindfold and trying to put lipstick on his co-host Sarah Haines. 

It may seem like all fun and games, but Netflix isn't having any of it. The streamer has come forward and strongly urged viewers not to participate

"Can't believe I have to say this, but: PLEASE DO NOT HURT YOURSELVES WITH THIS BIRD BOX CHALLENGE," the Netflix U.S. Twitter account shared on Wednesday, January 2. "We don't know how this started, and we appreciate the love, but Boy and Girl have just one wish for 2019 and it is that you not end up in the hospital due to memes."

Thankfully, the Bird Box Challenge is still in its infancy in terms of a meme's lifetime, having not yet reached the same level of popularity as other film-inspired challenges have — like the Get Out Challenge that saw fans of Jordan Peele's ground-breaking horror film running toward a camera and then swiftly turning away and sprinting in another direction, exactly as the character Walter, played by Marcus Henderson, did in the movie. 

Netflix's anti-Bird Box Challenge statement may prevent some thrill-seeking fans from doing anything particularly perilous and stop the social media challenge from getting any more popular. However, there's also a chance that it could have the opposite effect, bringing even more attention to it and making aware those who previously had never heard of the stunt — like The Hollywood Reporter senior film editor Rebecca Keegan, who noted that "first time [she] heard about the quote-unquote Bird Box Challenge was by Netflix warning people about the Bird Box Challenge" (via CBS News).

Whether anyone will heed Netflix's warning or not, we can't say for certain. But really, it shouldn't take a tweet from a streaming site to let viewers know that operating a vehicle while wearing a blindfold probably isn't the smartest idea one could have. Just sayin'.