The internet just can’t stop buzzing about Bird Box, Susanne Bier’s adaptation of Josh Malerman’s gripping novel. In case you haven’t seen it yet (and if you haven’t, what are you waiting for?), it tells a post-apocalyptic story of a woman fighting to survive “after an ominous unseen presence drives most of society to suicide.” Though it’s far from perfect, it’s a well-made, thrilling watch that also boasts some excellent performances.
However, if there’s one gripe that people have had with Bird Box, it’s that it never shows us what the unseen presence that plagues the characters looks like. In fact, not only does it not reveal it on screen, but the film also never explains exactly where it came from or what it wants with planet Earth.
Thankfully, then, some concept art from the pre-production stage has surfaced online today (following on from a few shots that popped up over the weekend) and it gives us a rough idea of what this creature (or creatures) would’ve looked like if the filmmakers had decided to show it to us. Which, at one point, they were going to do before deciding against it. And whether you think that was the right decision or not, you can at least start to form a picture of how creepy this unseen presence would’ve been thanks to the images in the gallery below.
“We had the unique pleasure of designing a creepy makeup for the film, although the scene ultimately ended up on the cutting room floor,” wrote effects artist Andy Bergholtz in the Instagram post that accompanied the photos.
“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).”
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Continuing on, he said:
“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,” Bergholtz admitted. “Kudos to the director for sticking to her guns on that one.
Speaking to Bloody-Disgusting in a recent interview, star Sandra Bullock talked about why they didn’t show the creature and explained that when she first saw the design, it actually made her laugh.
“It was a green man with a horrific baby face. It was snake-like, and I was like, ‘I don’t want to see it when it first happens. Just bring it into the room. We’ll shoot the scene.’ I turn and he’s like this [growling at me.] It’s making me laugh. It was just a long fat baby.”
We highly doubt that viewers would’ve been laughing like Bullock was once all the VFX work and post-production touch-ups on the creature design were done, but it was still a smart decision to keep the mystery in tact and not show what this monster (or monsters) looked like. After all, had we been able to see it with our own two eyes, it might’ve come off as a bit less frightening. But that’s just our opinion.
What do you think? Would you have liked to have seen the creature appear on screen in Bird Box? Or are you happy that it was never shown? Sound off with your thoughts in the usual place down below.