Birdemic: Shock and Terror

Birdemic: Shock and Terror is the crowning achievement in human failure.

Them’s just the facts. I am assuredly not alone in this opinion, but perhaps it requires some qualification, that you might better understand why I would make such a strong assertion right out the gate. You might think I’m being hyperbolic. You may even still believe there is good left in the hearts of men. If this is the case, let me assure you: you are mistaken.

If you’ve read some of the other movie reviews that Jon’s posted on this site, you may be tempted to lump in Birdemic with some of the other “terrible movies”. What you have to understand, though, is that Birdemic is not like any of those movies. The Human Centipede is a terrible movie because you don’t want to be seeing something so depraved and unnatural. Taxidermia could be called terrible because it’s so damn uncomfortable and disgusting. As I understand it, Singapore Sling is somewhere between the other two.

But these pale in comparison to Birdemic. Everything is wrong with Birdemic, and Birdemic is what’s wrong with everything else once you’ve watched it. The acting is atrocious, the plot is a sham, audio editing is apparently a foreign concept to the crew, the audience is patronizingly hit over the head with the movie’s message…the list goes on. Before we proceed, I need you to watch the trailer. I’ll wait.

Birdemic Trailer

The general reaction is either speechlessness or uncontrollable laughter. It’s obvious that this cannot be a good movie. The birds appear to be animated GIFs, for chrissakes. Just Googling “Birdemic” brings up page after page denouncing the movie as the cinematic antichrist. You have to really be trying to make a movie this bad. But with all the hype and an awesome/terrible theme song like that [SPOILERS: Not in the movie at all. I WAS SO UPSET!], how could I not watch it? Clearly, this was something I needed to put into my eyeballs.

Oh, the hubris of youth!

As you might have guessed from the trailer, the first part is boring as fuck. The opening credits roll over a monotonous car-driving scene reminiscent of the opening scenes of Rock and Roll Nightmare or Manos: The Hands of Fate, and things only get worse from there. You see, director James Nguyen, self-proclaimed “Master of the Romantic Thriller”, apparently decided that having an interesting blend of two genres (as is usually done in romantic comedies, dramadies, dramatic thrillers, etc.) was for pussies. So he did things his way. He filmed two different movies, one a (terrible) romance and one a (terrible) thriller, and jarringly stitched the two together into a single abomination. The leading half establishes the main characters, Rod and Nathalie, and goes through the boring slice-of-life relationship-building bullshit that any romantic movie goes through. This would be bad enough by itself, but wait, there’s more! Since you’re too bored to focus on things like plot or character details (both are sparse), you get to focus even more intensely on how patently abhorrent the acting is.

You start hating Rod immediately, and get the impression that Alan Bagh, the actor portraying him, may actually be mentally handicapped. All of his lines are delivered as though remembering them and speaking them at the same time requires the use off all of his cognitive functions, leaving no neurons free to control his facial expressions, his voice modulation, or, presumably, his bowels. The choice of this actor alone makes it clear that Nguyen’s intent was to make the worst movie possible.

Nathalie’s actress, Whitney Moore, fares only marginally better. She at least doesn’t seem to be in danger of choking on her own tongue, but her facial expressions and speech are so painfully forced that any shot with her in it instantly becomes awkward. She’s not bad to look at, though, so it comes as no surprise that IMDB lists a “sex comedy” student video as the only other movie she’s ever been in. Presumably porn is the next step. I’m sure your mother’s very proud, Ms. Moore, but if I were in her position, I’d be more angry that you costarred in the worst movie ever made.

The “plot” plods on, subjecting us to scene after scene of uninteresting, poorly portrayed, and poorly filmed drivel. It’s often difficult, if not impossible, to tell what’s being said purely due to the background noise in the audio recording for the scene. Some vague hints at the impending disaster to come are dropped here and there, but the main focus is on who’s dating who and how great Rod is. If you didn’t have the promise of the “thriller” section to hang on to, it would be all too easy to give up and stop watching. But soldiering on through the initial crap, including some heavy-handed “save the environment” propaganda, grants you an implied sex scene and access to the movie you paid would never pay to see.

I’ll admit that I somewhat enjoyed the movie once it reached this point. When the birds first attacked, I laughed ’til I cried. More than anything, though, I loved hating this movie. Nothing anyone does makes any sense. In one scene, the group’s driving away from killer birds, but they have to stop to pick up food and water so they can survive life on the run. In the very next scene, they stop to have a picnic. They’re promptly joined by a convenient scientist to tell them, in completely unsubtle terms, that man is the real monster.  The entire movie is an excuse to shove environmentalist propaganda down your throat, and it does so in the most stupid and inane ways possible. By the end, I was so full of pure loathing for this movie that I wanted to vomit just to feel like I’d purged its toxic influence on me.

I really don’t want to ruin relive the rest of the movie, so if you’re still curious for some reason you’ll have to watch it yourself. I will leave you with one more little morsel, however. It’s a little picture I like to call “The Rise and Fall of Being Excited About Birdemic”. Enjoy.

No, you may not friend me on Facebook.

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