**WARNING: SPOILERS FOR BIRD BOX, INCLUDING ENDING**
One of the criticisms which could be levelled at Netflix's new flick Bird Box is that the ending is jarringly at odds with the rest of the film.
For the most part it’s a bleak and brutal dystopian horror charting the struggle of a mother (Sandra Bullock) and her two children to survive after the arrival of mysterious creatures who, once seen with the naked eye, prompt people to kill themselves in a variety of violent and horrifying ways.
They spend five years hiding indoors or blindfolded outdoors, dealing with the devastating losses of friends and family members, before finally embarking on a perilous journey in search of a sanctuary Malorie believes exists down river.
It’s tense, terrifying, and relentlessly bleak.
The ending, however, sees Malorie arrive at a former school for the blind, a Utopia of sorts where people who are blind and people who are not are all sitting around in peace and harmony surrounded by birds who can alert them to the impending arrival of the creatures.
It’s a much more uplifting end to the tale than the original ending featured in the Josh Malerman novel on which the film is based. In the book the people living at the sanctuary are people who have gouged their own eyes out to avoid being killed by the creatures.
Director Susanne Bier, who previously helmed films including After the Wedding, Love is All You Need and Brothers, has defended the change in ending for the Netflix film.
“The movie is slightly more positive. The movie is, in many aspects, different from the book, but it’s also very rooted in the book,” she told Polygon.
“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. That’s not really what I believe in.”
Bier reveals that that it was the undercurrent of hopefulness in “this scary, dystopian story” which really interested her.
Eric Heissserer, who wrote the screenplay for Bird Box, has also said he advocated for the more positive ending from the start.
"It seemed smarter for us to make that more of an optimistic ending. I'm one who generally leans toward a hopeful or optimistic ending even in dystopian horror movies. I'm not one to embrace nihilism considering that I feel like we're living in that world now,” he told Thrillist.