(Credit: Netflix)

Several horror movies throughout the years have pinned their premise on getting deadly results from doing ordinary things, and they've gotten wildly successful returns at the box office for their trouble. If you went camping in the late 90s, the Blair Witch would get you. If you watched a certain Japanese video tape, you would die within a week, according to The Ring.

With Bird Box, a new film streaming on Netflix (download for Android or iOS) and starring Sandra Bullock, simply looking at the central monster will drive you insane.

In this Netflix film, the potential victims of this beast have a simple solution: Blindfold yourself. (Not a spoiler; it's all spelled out in the trailer.) You basically have to do everything without the benefit of sight, in the same way that A Quiet Place forced its characters to live without making any sound.

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While Bird Box isn't getting the rave reviews of its similarly themed predecessor, it's been viewed by more than 40 million Netflix subscribers -- a record for the streaming service -- and a "Bird Box challenge" has bloomed on social media, apparently of its own accord.

As you might expect, a lot of people are getting physically injured in their quest for more followers, likes, retweets, and so on. And it's gotten to the point where Netflix is publicly asking the world to stop.

On Twitter (download for Android or iOS), the company pleads: "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." Boy and Girl are Sandra Bullock's children in the film; they are not given names in the script.

Of course, we don't know how many people can still check Twitter if we're all busy working on our next blindfolded daredevil escapade, but perhaps Netflix can insert a warning before some joker ups the ante to things that you should very definitely not do while being unable to see.

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Does this sound familiar?

Pokemon Go (download for Android or iOS) experienced a similar issue when it launched in summer 2016, where users were so engrossed in capturing creatures that they didn't notice when they wandered into traffic or off a cliff. Its maker Niantic Games had to add a warning for users to regularly check their surroundings while playing.

For Pokemon Go, motorists were affected by other drivers as well as pedestrians, because some particularly dogged users attempted to play the game and drive at the same time. Netflix hasn't risen to this level of addiction (or stupidity), but the risk remains that someone will actually attempt to drive blindfolded before the Bird Box "challenge" finally fades away.


  • Don't blindfold yourself while doing things that require sight.
  • You made Netflix tell you on Twitter to stop doing that. This is probably bad karma.

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Tom McNamara is a Senior Editor for CNET's Download.com. He mainly covers Windows, mobile and desktop security, games, Google, streaming services, and social media. Tom was also an editor at Maximum PC and IGN, and his work has appeared on CNET, PC Gamer, MSN.com, and Salon.com. He's also unreasonably proud that he's kept the same phone for more than two years.