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Monday, August 29, 2011


Not Rated

"I hear a mountain lion! I gotta get back to my house, and you better get to your car!"
-- Tree Hugger

Birdemic: Shock and Terror is a 2010 horror film directed by James Nguyen that centers around freak flocks of birds attacking citizens in a small town in northern California. At the beginning of the film, we see the budding relationship between software salesman Rod (Alan Bagh) and fashion model Nathalie (Whitney Moore). As the two become closer and closer, they start to take their relationship to deeper, more intimate levels. After spending an evening in a motel in a small town, a flock of eagles starts to attack the outside of their room, crashing into the window in an attempt to get inside. They team with another young couple, Ramsey (Adam Sessa) and Becky (Catherine Batcha), and together, they flee the motel. Along their road to survival, they meet Dr. Jones (Rick Camp), who tells the group that global warming has led the birds to their inexplicable acts of rage. As the group tries to stay alive, they face more and more danger, and it takes more and more willpower just to keep moving on.

Have you ever driven down the highway and seen an accident, and as bad as it may look, there's simply no way for you to take your eyes away? That's Birdemic. From the very start, I knew I was witnessing one of the absolute worst pieces of cinema I had ever beheld, but I was powerless to avert my eyesight from the television screen. There's absolutely nothing going right for this film, and it's a trainwreck from the opening credits.

Let's start with the premise: we're obviously stealing the very concept of Alfred Hitchcock's 1963 classic, The Birds, and appropriating it to modern times. Unfortunately, the screenplay does absolutely nothing to aid this contemporary telling of the story. For the first forty-five minutes, all we see is the courtship between our two stars. It takes half the movie for us to see our first bird attack, and boy is it a doozy. The eagles start to kamikaze themselves into gas stations, causing mass explosions. Then they start to attack the motel. Then they chase anything and everything outside, as long as it's in the film's direct shot. For whatever reason, the computer-generated birds seem to avoid the background cars that continue to roll down the highway as though there's no danger whatsoever. Trust me, there's continuity issues galore in this one. And please don't get me started about this film's political agenda. Now, I have no problem with films exploring political issues and making statements, but when they're made this blatantly in such a humdrum manner, I almost find it offensive. To use a film like this as a backdrop for your ideas on political issues is almost a slap in the face to the people who agree with your statement.

The camera editing is also atrocious in the first half of the movie. To be fair, Birdemic is an incredibly low-budget flick, but if a twelve-year-old with a modest budget can make higher-quality work, then there's something to be said about the badness that these adults bring to the screen. The editing is so bad that it's laughable, but luckily, it clears up a bit once the attacks star to occur. Unfortunately, that's when we're given our wonderful dose of CGI birds. Again, this is a low-budget film, but I honestly think they could've done a little bit better than what they brought to the table.

And what can I say about the acting? Bashing our male lead alone would be enough for me to write an entire paragraph, but I won't get into the specifics for each and every character. Moore is the shining point of the film, and she's terrible at best. Some of the supporting characters are equally atrocious, including the cameo from our Tree Hugger (Stephen Gustavson), who was quoted above.

Even the soundtrack is downright horrendous. I mean, it's not like the music itself is bad, but it all feels so pretentious that it makes you laugh right alongside it. Seriously, this film should have a laugh track.

All that being said, I have to say that I absolutely loved this film. It easily falls into the "so bad, it's good" category, and I found myself completely entertained from start to finish. I was rolling with laughter from the opening credits, and I continued to do so when the end credits crawled across the screen. There's no shock, and there's no terror, but there's definitely plenty of comedy. If you're a fan of trash films, Birdemic is a definite must-see. I can guarantee that you'll be highly entertained. I just can't wait to see the sequel.

Movie Review Summary
Grade: F
1.5 Thumbs Up

Worst All-Time: #2

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