Netflix urges Bird Box fans not to do things blindfolded and hurt themselves

LOS ANGELES (NYTimes) – Imitation is a form of flattery but Netflix would like you to be careful.

You might have heard about Bird Box, a horror movie the streaming service released last month. Starring Sandra Bullock, it centres on an unknown entity that compels anyone who sets eyes on it to kill himself so folk must blindfold themselves when venturing outdoors.

Critics were mixed on the film, but that has not stopped it from becoming a cultural sensation, and thus a vehicle for viral meme-making.

The #BirdBoxChallenge has exploded, featuring people uploading videos of themselves doing everyday tasks blindfolded.

While there have been no reports of serious injuries, Netflix felt the meme was spreading widely enough that it issued a cautionary plea on Twitter.

“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 refer to two children in the movie.

The videos vary in their danger. One showed what appeared to be an adult, a young child and a toddler – all blindfolded – frenetically pacing around indoors, a parody of the film. At one point, the toddler runs into a wall.

Others are more mundane. One shows a blindfolded man doing squats with heavily weighted barbells.

The Bird Box Challenge is the kind of dare that has become common in recent years.

One of the most famous was for a good cause: the Ice Bucket Challenge, which involved dumping cold water on yourself to raise awareness about amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, also known as ALS or Lou Gehrig’s disease.

But lest anyone pin the blame on social media and desire for instant fame, disclaimers like “don’t try this at home” and “professional driver on closed course” long predate the meme era.

World Wrestling Entertainment, for example, has issued public service announcements in the past asking that its untrained fans refrain from mimicking professional wrestling moves.

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