Netflix viewers have been (excuse the pun) blindsided by the hit horror movie Bird Box, an adaptation of Josh Malerman‘s novel and the subject of a storm of memes—so many, in fact, that Netflix has faced accusations of creating and spreading hype with bots. Whether or not the fans were initially real or fake, they’re real now: the ‘Bird Box Challenge,’ in which fans attempt to do everyday tasks while blindfolded, forced Netflix to issue a warning. If you yourself are caught up in the madness, keep your eyes open for the rest of this list.
1. The Silence
Drawing comparisons to the movie A Quiet Place, Tim Lebbon‘s The Silence uses silence to deepen the psychological aspects of the horror story. Fans of Bird Box will appreciate the elements of family, the apocalyptic setting, and the vulnerability of sensory deprivation.
In the darkness of a vast cave system, cut off from the world for millennia, blind creatures hunt by sound. Then there is light, there are voices, and they feed… Swarming from their prison, they multiply and thrive. To scream, even to whisper, is to summon death.
A city is hit by an epidemic of “white blindness” that spares no one. Authorities confine the blind to an empty mental hospital, but there the criminal element holds everyone captive, stealing food rations, and assaulting women. There is one eyewitness to this nightmare who guides her charges—among them a boy with no mother, a girl with dark glasses, a dog of tears—through the barren streets, and their procession becomes as uncanny as the surroundings are harrowing.
3. The Ritual
A fellow Netflix adaptation, Adam Nevill‘s The Ritual is a deeply unsettling work of survival horror involving both travel across perilous terrain and strained, distrustful relationships. As in Bird Box, the nature of the supernatural reveals itself only very gradually—and with a sense of impending doom.
Four old university friends reunite for a hiking trip in the Scandinavian wilderness of the Arctic Circle. No longer young men, they have little left in common and tensions rise as they struggle to connect. Frustrated and tired, they take a shortcut that turns their hike into a nightmare that could cost them their lives. Lost, hungry and surrounded by forest untouched for millennia, they stumble across an isolated old house. Inside, they find the macabre remains of old rites and pagan sacrifices.
4. The Sundial
Josh Malerman counts Shirley Jackson among his favorite authors—unsurprising, considering her mastery of subtle and then distinctly unsubtle creepiness. The Sundial‘s plot is too wild to spoil, but the elements of distrust and the pervasive sense of uncertainty will appeal to Bird Box fans. It’ll be easy to see how Malerman has drawn from the horror greats like Jackson… but it won’t be easy to keep your cool.
Aunt Fanny has always been somewhat peculiar. No one is surprised that while the Halloran clan gathers at the crumbling old mansion for a funeral she wanders off to the secret garden. But when she reports the vision she had there, the family is engulfed in fear, violence, and madness. For Aunt Fanny’s long-dead father has given her the precise date of the final cataclysm.
5. The Road
Cormac McCarthy‘s The Road is a classic tale of survival horror, also involving travel across treacherous terrain. While McCarthy’s monsters are human, the striking images of human violence may remind Bird Box fans of its sometimes graphic deaths. The Road also emphasizes a familial relationship, and, in a smaller parallel, features unnamed characters.
A father and his son walk alone through burned America. Nothing moves in the ravaged landscape save the ash on the wind. It is cold enough to crack stones, and when the snow falls it is gray. The sky is dark. Their destination is the coast, although they don’t know what, if anything, awaits them there.
6. The Fireman
No one knows exactly when it began or where it originated. A terrifying new plague is spreading like wildfire across the country, striking cities one by one: Boston, Detroit, Seattle. The doctors call it Draco Incendia Trychophyton. To everyone else it’s Dragonscale, a highly contagious, deadly spore that marks its hosts with beautiful black and gold marks across their bodies—before causing them to burst into flames. Millions are infected; blazes erupt everywhere. There is no antidote. No one is safe.
Told through an inventive documentary style of writing, Mike Bockoven‘s Fantasticland has a unique and suspenseful structure. Bird Box relies on flashbacks and non-chronological sequences of events, tactics that amplify the novel’s tone of uncertainty and doom. With its use of apocalyptic elements, Fantasticland is a fantastic choice for those after more Bird Box.
Since the 1970s, FantasticLand has been the theme park where “Fun is Guaranteed!” But when a hurricane ravages the Florida coast and isolates the park, the employees find it anything but fun. Five weeks later, the authorities who rescue the survivors encounter a scene of horror. Photos soon emerge online of heads on spikes outside of rides and viscera and human bones littering the gift shops, breaking records for hits, views, likes, clicks, and shares. How could a group of survivors, mostly teenagers, commit such terrible acts?
Images and Descriptions Via
Featured Image Via