New horror film sparks dangerous challenge

Andrea McClary, Junior Ad Editor

After a wave of sensation-based horror flicks recently released, Netflix has delivered one of their own; a dark, post-apocalyptic narrative without sight, to their audience. The film includes perennial stars Sandra Bullock, Trevante Rhodes, John Malkovich, Sarah Paulson, Danielle Macdonald and Machine Gun Kelly, all on a mission to survive an invisible entity. The catch is, they can’t look at it; if they do, they die. For the characters to survive they improvised blindfolds in order to continue with their daily life.

Unfortunately, Bird Box has made a lasting impression on social media and has begun to even put Americans’ lives at risk. After the film’s initial release on Thursday, Dec. 13 the story filtered its way through social media where a variety of memes were posted referencing and comparing it to movies with similar core themes such as “Hush” released in 2016 and “A Quiet Place” released in 2018. While the memes sparked by this movie only lasted for a brief period of time ,“Bird Box” has also sparked a new online epidemic called the “Bird Box Challenge.”

Just like what most internet-savvy people probably would expect to happen, fans of all ages are blindfolding themselves and then attempting to complete everyday tasks or recreate scenes from the film. Many of these videos have been posted on Twitter, where you can see a multitude of would-be celebrities running around their homes or attempting to go outside and navigate their way around in the same manner as those in the movie– without their sight. Popular Youtubers such as Morgan Adams, posted a “24 hour Bird Box challenge”. In this video, Adams proceeded to gamble in a casino. Jake Paul and George Janko also posted a video in which they drove around blindfolded and ran into Los Angeles traffic. Luckily, YouTube has since taken down the videos and issued a warning that banned the Bird Box Challenge, “Reminder – content that encourages violence or dangerous activities that may result in serious physical harm, distress or death violates our harmful and dangerous policy,” read new YouTube guidelines put in place on Tuesday, Jan. 15.

Despite the new guidelines, YouTube’s warning came too late. On Friday Jan. 11, a teenager in Layton, Utah was driving her car and decided to try the Bird Box challenge and, as predicted, ended up losing control of her car and colliding with another oncoming vehicle. Fortunately, there were no injuries in this crash, but police in Layton are urging all drivers not to participate in this challenge as it puts both you and everyone else at risk. The challenge has become so severe and life-threatening that Netflix has since release a warning itself stating that in no way they promote the challenge. “I can’t believe I have to say this, but: Please do not hurt yourselves with this Bird Box Challenge. 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.” said Netflix in a tweet.

Although the challenge may seem like a good idea, all social media services are making it known that participating in this viral trend will not be rewarded, and are even warning against the dangers that pose a threat to people of all ages.