Bird Box is one of those films that isn’t particularly good from a critical standpoint, but the premise creates so much tension, no matter how dumb, that it’s difficult to not enjoy it. Plus, it’s about protecting kids from monsters and making them believe happy things can actually happen to people, even in the face of horrible circumstances. You’d have to be some kind of monster yourself to not enjoy that.
And while we’re on the subject of monsters, the film made a compelling choice not to reveal the unspeakable evil that causes people to go so mad they are compelled to kill themselves. It’s like the golden briefcase in Pulp Fiction or the tiny monkey Daniel Day Lewis always kept in his pocket in Gangs of New York: the audience never sees it, which makes the unseen thing that much more intriguing.
But this wasn’t always the original idea with Bird Box. In fact, there was a dedicated special effects team tasked with creating the evil beings that wreaked all this havoc on humanity. The movie was originally supposed to show the monsters hell-bent on destroying everyone’s minds.
Makeup EFX concept art and sample prosthetics recently made their way to the internet, revealing what those demons might have looked like, along with some interesting facts about the “direction” the filmmakers had planned to take with the monsters.
Andy Bergholtz, monster/creature designer for film and TV, wrote about the work he did for the beings in the film and that the physical manifestations of the monsters relied heavily on the character’s deep-seated fears. In the case of Bird Box‘s main protagonist, Sandra Bullock’s character, she was very concerned with bringing a baby into the world. Which is why her beast looks like a giant ugly baby.
Here are his full comments about the creatures in the film. Bergholtz, despite being in the monster-making business, ultimately agreed with the decision to not show the monsters in the films. It’s kinda impressive he was able to set aside his ego and not see his hard work showcased in the final cut.
“*Some spoilers ahead for BIRD BOX, continue reading at your own risk!* We had the unique pleasure of designing a creepy makeup for the film, although the scene ultimately ended up on the cutting room floor. Keep in mind, the fatal “vision” that each character saw would most likely be different for each person (you’ll understand if you’ve seen the film), and this makeup appeared in a cut “dream/nightmare sequence” with Sandra Bullock’s character.
Considering her pregnant state and emotional arc thru the movie, the producers felt Sandra’s nightmare would have something to do with a twisted, demonic baby creature attacking her (that’s as much as I could gather about the context of the scene anyway). I sculpted at least 3 or 4 variations on the design before it was approved, which began as a more aggressive, monstery look and was revised to be a bit more subtle in the end.”
“I also had the pleasure of painting the finished prosthetics before sending them to set, to be worn and performed by the one and only Dirk Rogers @thehalloweendirk, applied by the great @proutyfx. It’s funny, I read an interview recently where Bullock described the creature as a “snake-like, green man with a horrific baby face”. Many folks have speculated what the creature may have looked like, but they fail to realize the “snake-like green man” portion was simply Dirk in a spandex green-screen suit 😄. Everything from the neck down was intended to be a giant CGI creature/body added later. In the end, I actually really liked the movie and think it was better off NOT showing the makeup. Kudos to the director for sticking to her guns on that one. Still a fun project to be a part of, thanks Howie! @hoops511 #netflix #birdbox”
One of the funniest parts of Bergholtz’s comments is his reference to Sandy’s description of the monster as being a “snake like creature with a baby face,” partly because she was including the green-screen-suited actor’s getup with the costume. It wasn’t supposed to be a snake, but the baby face reference is on point.
That became even more evident when sfxatlas uploaded more of the prosthetics/modeling work KNB EFX did on the creatures.
I understand that we’re seeing the prosthetic in the light of day without effects, but that looks really dumb. However, I’m sure it probably would’ve looked horrifying on screen, because the idea of a gigantic screaming demon baby is pretty horrifying.
But yeah, it’s better they left this out the film.