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Birdemic: Shock and Terror (2010)

Birdemic: Shock and TerrorReviewed by The Foywonder

Starring Alan Bagh, Whitney Moore, Janae Caster, Colton Osborne, Adam Sessa, and five seconds of stock footage of Tippi Hedren from a previous film

Written and directed by James Nguyen, Master of Romantic Thrillers™


Words fail. Language fails. Descriptions fail. If ever there was a movie that had to be seen and heard to be believed, to which only your own eyes and ears can do justice, it would most certainly be Birdemic: Shock and Terror. It should have been subtitled “Shock and Awe” because that is the state it will leave you in.

Everything about this movie is wrong, and that is not an exaggeration. The acting is wrong. The directing is wrong. The screenwriting is wrong. The cinematography is wrong. The color correction is wrong. The sound is wrong. The sound mixing is wrong. The special effects are wrong. Everything is wrong. James Nguyen takes the basic fundamentals of filmmaking and annihilates them over and over again until his avian epic comes to a mindblowing conclusion. Nothing about this movie has been done properly, and keep in mind this is Nguyen’s third stab at filmmaking and he was so proud of the finished product he arrived at the Sundance Film Festival touting his “romantic thriller” as a motion picture with value outside of being hailed as this generation’s Plan 9 from Outer Space (a comparison I do not consider apt because I dare say Ed Wood’s bad movie masterpiece was a more competently composed work of cinema).

Birdemic is simply beyond film criticism. You cannot critique it as you would a normal film. I cannot even in good conscience label Birdemic so bad it’s good. It’s not good on any possible level. Is it entertaining? Absolutely. But not because it’s so bad it’s good. Birdemic‘s only redeeming quality is like that of sideshow spectacle. If PT Barnum were alive today, he would put this movie on display in a traveling carnival of freaks to be gawked at, to inspire mockery, revulsion, and even pity. Let me assure you that everything I am about to tell you is merely a drop in the bucket of what you can expect when you watch Birdemicand you must watch Birdemic. I viewed it four times over the course of four days, each time exposing a new set of friends, family, and coworkers to it with all of them coming away from the experience delirious for a variety of reasons.

Birdemic: Shock and TerrorNor can one spoil a movie like this. I could tell you about how the lead’s best friend utters the line “A day without sex is like a day wasted”, but print does not do justice to actually hearing the flatness of how the line is delivered or the half-hearted fist-pumping action that accompanies it. I could tell you how the leads take a romantic walk on the beach during which you can barely comprehend a word they are saying drowned out by the deafening roar of the ocean, but that does not compare to witnessing this for yourself and trying to resist the urge to yell “What!?” back at the screen. I could tell you about the one-dimensional flash animation visual effects of killer eagles barely flapping their wings as they hover in place superimposed over moving footage or the kamikaze airplane noises they tend to make as they dive bomb targets and explode into fiery Photoshopped balls of fire or how when how the visuals of the birds getting shot down make you feel like you’re playing a light gun video game (if only a snickering dog popped up whenever they missed), but none of that is a substitution for actually bearing witness to these moments yourself.

It’s just not the same reading about how frequently shots are out of focus or improperly framed or feature jarring edits mid-sentence or close-ups are edited to feel like jump cuts or reaction shots either have or lack background noise not matching the previous shot or how the handicam sometimes jitters or how the actors are shown standing in place before the action begins or how panning to the right appeared to be Nguyen’s favorite cinematography technique and so on and so on. Birdemic can only be seen to be believed and, yes, you owe it to yourself to see it. You will laugh uproariously. You will hurt unequivocally. You will be left dumbstruck. You will be rendered speechless.

Nguyen fancies Birdemic a romantic thriller. That means the first half focuses entirely on the budding romance between environmentally conscious software salesman Rod and Nathalie, a fashion model who does photoshoots at small town one-hour photomats and then gets word that she has been offered the cover of the next Victoria’s Secret catalogue.

They meet on the street when Rod recognizes Nathalie. After establishing that they attended high school together, Rod then asks Nathalie where she is from. Shouldn’t he already know that if they went to school together? Rod will go on to give Nathalie compliments on her physical beauty that would give any real woman a sense that this guy is creepy stalker material, not boyfriend material. To be fair, that also has as much to do with the horrible acting as it does the horrible screenwriting.

Leading man Alan Bagh may be the single worst actor of all time, and that includes pornography. To stand out head and shoulders as the worst actor in a movie so rife with bad actors (I only use the word “actors” because it is much easier to write than “people that awkwardly and unconvincingly say and do stuff”) is an astounding feat.

Lead actress Whitney Moore is easy on the eyes but hard on the ears. She at least sounds like she might have a teeny tiny smidgen of acting ability, or it could just be that when you’re performing opposite Alan Bagh, even a corpse could sound lifelike.

If you think their acting is bad, then just wait until you see them dance. You know the old jokes about white people having no rhythm? You have no idea. No one should ever try doing “The Robot” to R&B music.

A boardroom applauds at news that their tech company has been sold for a billion dollars. Everyone claps. Then they stop clapping. Then Nguyen cuts to another section of the table, and they begin clapping again. Their clapping dies down, and Nguyen cuts to more people seated around the table as they begin clapping. Their clapping ceases, and he cuts to another section of the table as they, too, begin clapping. Nguyen is trying to create the impression of prolonged clapping but so incompetently edits the scene that it appears more as if their applause is circling the table like fans at a sporting event doing the wave. A moment just begging for audience participation.

Birdemic: Shock and TerrorAbout halfway in is when a flock of eagles go on the attack and spend the remainder of the movie seemingly following Rod and Nathalie, the ex-Marine and his girlfriend they meet up with, and the two children they rescue from the side of the road during another bird attack as everyday motorists unaware they are appearing in a movie casually drive past in the background.

The first encounter has them fighting the birds with coat hangers. I am not making this up. Back-to-back, vigorously swatting at a flock of flash animated birds with motel room metal coat hangers as they desperately seek to make their way to an escape vehicle. Joan Crawford would have kicked ass in this movie.

Constantly being attacked by a flock of birds everywhere you go? They go on a picnic out in the open with no shelter.

“I’m hungry. I was under that car a long time.”

A gunman tries to rob of them of their last can of gasoline. After the gunman is dealt with, they proceed to drive off and leave the gas can on the side of the road.

From James Nguyen, the self-professed “master of romantic thrillers.”

How many romantic thrillers can lay claim that the bulk of their finale is built around a guy fishing for food, a girl scrounging for seaweed to cook with the fish, and kids whining they’d rather eat Happy Meals? Rod finds a fishing rod in the back of the van, “There’s a fishing rod back here. I can go catch us some fish.” It was with that lifeless line reading that I began to wonder if Birdemic wasn’t really some crackpot movie version of the old Oregon Trail computer game. The boy had previously injured his leg and their transportation had just broken down; only thing missing was for the little girl to die from dysentery.

And then the very end – I couldn’t accurately describe it even if I wanted to. An astonishing mix of utter bewilderment and epic staring – the most epic stare-a-thon in the history of cinema. Not even Andy Warhol in his most drugged-up experimental cinema phase would have put together an ending like that of Birdemic. Unreal.

Birdemic: Shock and TerrorNo explanation is ever given as to why the birds attack. All we know is that global warming is in some way, some form, somehow responsible. How do we know this? Because darn near everything in Birdemic in some way, some form, somehow ties into global warming. An Inconvenient Truth is less preachy about global warming than Birdemic. This film even includes a scene in which characters go on a double-date to see Al Gore’s documentary, declare it a great film afterwards, and make vows to switch to more environmentally friendly vehicles. Rod even starts a green tech company. An ornithologist they happen upon, the only person who provides any inkling as to why the birds have gone berserk – I was not aware that global warming was responsible for bird flu and SARS and by being responsible for the loss of krill in the ocean could cause eagles to regress to their prehistoric predatory behavior. This scientist ends his speech declaring that man is the true monster for trashing the planet. Later they meet a hippie treehugger living in a treehouse in the forest; his hilarious diatribe incoherently rambles about the glory of the California Redwoods and how tragic it is that global warming is killing them off by causing the proliferation of the destructive bark beetle. Then they all get run off by the growl of a mountain lion – a loud grumbling growl that sounds more like it would be coming out of the mouth of Sasquatch or possibly Frankenstein’s monster. A pity it wasn’t Frankenstein because he could have walked onto the screen, waved his arm disapprovingly, and grunted out “Global warming baaaaaaaaaaad!”

Nguyen also tosses in some anti-war propaganda with a near sex scene staged in front of a bedroom wall decorated only with a piece of white cardboard paper and the URL for a pacifist website. He also makes a heck of a statement by having that ex-Marine explain the reason he left the military was because he could no longer take all the senseless killing in Iraq, also perfectly explaining why he now travels around with a loaded machine gun and multiple handguns in his van.

So as with every other aspect of his magnum opus, even Nguyen’s sincere attempts at making political statements lead us down the road to cinematic hell.

You know whom I really feel sorry for in the wake of Birdemic? Troll 2. Here that wretched excuse of a movie has been waging a campaign to be hailed the new best worst movie ever made, and right as it was beginning to gain some respect for its astonishing badness, along comes Birdemic: Shock and Terror to blow it out of the water. The bar is now so low I cannot fathom anything ever unseating it. If something does, God help us. God help us all.

5 out of 5 exploding eagles!

Discuss Birdemic: Shock and Terror in our forums!

Foywonder

  • Uncle Creepy

    Hey guys, I’m as un-PC as they come and like animals way more than I like people, but please let’s not go out of our way to offend anyone here? The only thing you have to be to enjoy Dread Central is a horror fan. Fuck race, creed, color, body type, or sexual preference.

    Thanks.

    • Terminal

      You’re right Creepy. I do fuck any race, color, and creed.
      ———-
      “We are bad guys. That means we’ve got more to do other than bullying companies. It’s fun to lead a bad man’s life.”

      • FireRam

        Got it UC! I too will fuck anything that looks attractive after 2am(bars close)!!!!! LOL

  • e-x-i-t

    wow. the trailer was like watching a seagull-infested garbage dump superimposed over a random WWII battle scene set to the sounds of a boyd rice outtake, but i had no idea the levels of sucking wrongness they’d reach with the actual movie. WANT.

  • ChaosWeaver

    I just finished watching this, and, oh boy, was that an experience I’ll never forget…

    It’s like fucking a fat chick; the entire time you’re thinking “why in God’s name am I doing this”, but secretly enjoying it, in a morbid kind of way…

    BTW, with the level of cinematic genius it took to spawn this film, I wouldn’t have been surprised to see a score of one billion exploding eagles :)

    • doubleh55

      Your “fat girl” comment is a little uncalled for. That’s like the pot calling the kettle black.

      • ChaosWeaver

        Well pardon me Mr Sensitive, maybe next time I feel like using a quote from a stand-up comedian I’ll run it by you first.

        • FireRam

          Personally, I just don’t understand why people are SO sensitive anymore.Or why there is so much concern over political correctness. You can’t call a midget a midget.You can’t call a black individual colored, it’s African American. And a fucking janitor is a fucking “custodial engineer”.They don’t have a degree, they mop puke! Now, I have seen dating sites where a 300 pound woman lists herself as “average” weight. NO hun, your big toe alone is average weight, YOU dear are FAT! Anyway,lol, geez louise lighten up. It was funny. If a fat person can’t take a fat joke, lose weight so you’re not fat. If you’re embarrased because your significant other is fat, hide the twinkies and buy him/her a treadmill for Christmas. Sheesh. People get offended so easily.

          • Terminal

            They have a lot of terms that dodge the term “fat” these days. It’s funny:

            “More to love,” “Average,” “A little extra.” God, people are so fucking sensitive these days.

            One time I referred to someone as “black guy” and they got upset saying “Hey watch the term black guy.” Utterly hysterical.
            ———-
            “We are bad guys. That means we’ve got more to do other than bullying companies. It’s fun to lead a bad man’s life.”

          • FireRam

            Ugh. Don’t get me started here.When did FAT become AVERAGE? Americans anymore are heavy as a whole so i guess FAT is now AVERAGE. Kids graduate and really can’t even read above a 5th grade level. In sports every kid gets a trophy. WTF….when I played sports you had to WIN something to receive the accolades. This whole “it’s ok you tried your best” is ridiculous. Failure is ok now? Man ,sheesh, i’m gonna stop before I go on about how so many people just want a handout. People want to blame everyone else for their own personally created situation.Parents don’t want to accept responsibility for their own kids. (Gagging self) NVMD…….

          • Terminal

            Yeah since when do people get awards for trying or participating? That’s so lame. When I was a kid we didn’t get anything merely for participating. We competed and if we lost, we lost. But no god forbid a kid should know about the idea of winning and losing. George Carlin had an excellent monologue about that concept on his last stand up special.

            And yeah I guess fat is average now or something. Wouldn’t want to hurt the chubbos. Chubbos is not PC, I mean lardos.
            ———-
            “We are bad guys. That means we’ve got more to do other than bullying companies. It’s fun to lead a bad man’s life.”

          • Chainsaw

            Not to go anymore off-topic, but If Fat is now Average, then why is it that whenever I go into a Target or a store like Against All Odds and try on a nice stylish shirt that marked XXL, it doesn’t even fit?! I’m not even majorly fat! There used to be a time where you would get a size, and it would fit as it should. Now everything’s a guessing game! Christ, I tried on a shirt listed as 3XL, and THAT wouldn’t even fit me! There is such an amazing double standard in this country about weight, we want people to be themselves, but then we say people are too fat, but then we also give people body image issues by mislabeling clothes and claiming it’s an “athletic” fit? And then sending the message that people who are overweight that they can’t dress nice and look good? Total bullshit! Fuck you, skinny emo douchbags! I don’t wanna be your kind of “healthy”. :D

          • Vanvance1

            It’s a politically correct world and some groups have whined louder than others. Those whiners paired with liberal guilt have resulted in some insane situations.

            I have noticed that it has always been fine to rip on fat people, you won’t get in trouble for that.

            You can also get away with certain terms that some deem racist. i.e. if it’s a very small, unpopular group like Jews then you can sneak in some anti-semitism.

            However I noticed you said ‘black people’. I dare you to say the ‘N’ word. Hell, I dare you to say anything negative about either blacks or gays regardless of the truth of your statement.

            You can’t do it because in North America that now makes you worse than a child molester or a murderer.

            See everybody is equal, only some groups are more equal than others and they get special treatment and consideration.

          • FireRam

            Oh boy. I don’t mean to offend, but after reading that I thought of this clip I saw that kind of um, made me laugh.

            http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7X-xp1XrTK8

          • Terminal

            I’ve spoken against gays, and blacks not because of them, but because of their inherent flaws, hypocrisies, and thought processes. Particularly the whole hate crime theory that South Park touched on in the past. It’s hypocritical. Nine times out of ten I don’t give two shits how it makes me look.

            I’m sick of this PC bullcrap, already. I don’t want someone calling me a spick to my face, but if they make an observation that we’re all mostly gang members who eat rice and beans I’m not going to be offended. Because nine times out of ten it’s true.

            This generation of Americans are quick to cry about anything and are pussies pure and simple. I used words like cunt, bitch, hoe, whore, jew, black guy, chick, et al. and I don’t care if you don’t like it.

            Grow a shell, or recede in to your bubble.
            ———-
            “We are bad guys. That means we’ve got more to do other than bullying companies. It’s fun to lead a bad man’s life.”

          • Floydian Trip

            Gay guys give great haircuts I’ll say that.

          • Terminal

            Is that a euphemism?
            ———-
            “We are bad guys. That means we’ve got more to do other than bullying companies. It’s fun to lead a bad man’s life.”

          • Floydian Trip

            My “stylist” is gay and he does a much better job than any woman I’ve ever had cut my hair. Women don’t know a damn thing about mens hair. It’s a guy thing.

          • Terminal

            That’s the truth. Women don’t know how to style guy’s hair. I’ve gotten two haircuts from women in my life and they both sucked badly.
            ———-
            “We are bad guys. That means we’ve got more to do other than bullying companies. It’s fun to lead a bad man’s life.”

          • Vanvance1

            The woman who cuts my hair does a good job.

            I don’t need a guy fondling my head.

          • ChaosWeaver

            If he’s got a problem with me and my fat reference, then I take offense to his “calling the kettle black” comment…

          • FireRam
          • FireRam

            Now I’m concerned about the pot calling the kettle black. Is that a politically correct statement? Let’s say for instance the pot was white. And the pot as we all know called the kettle black. Would that then become a racist remark?

          • Terminal

            But then why call a pot a pot? Is that really fair to stereotype a pot by calling it a pot? Be a little more sensitive, man. Geez.
            ———-
            “We are bad guys. That means we’ve got more to do other than bullying companies. It’s fun to lead a bad man’s life.”

          • FireRam

            I will issue a well formulated letter of apology to you and anyone else whom I may have affected by my senseless and tasteless comments. My sheer lack of understanding for someone elses feelings is totally uncalled for. (Sob,sniff). I will issue this letter first thing tomorrow morning. In the meantime please accept my humblest of apologies.

            PS: OMG Hahahahahaahahahahahahah(fart)
            Hahahahahahahahaha

          • Terminal

            But why humblest? Why not be even more humblerest? Damn you’re so offensive it’s amazing.
            ———-
            “We are bad guys. That means we’ve got more to do other than bullying companies. It’s fun to lead a bad man’s life.”

          • Katsumi

            Of course not, didn’t you or anyone else here.

            The Pot is no longer just a Pot, I named him Stev last week xD

          • Terminal

            Chaos, the kettle is not black, it’s just a minority. Watch your tongue, please.
            ———-
            “We are bad guys. That means we’ve got more to do other than bullying companies. It’s fun to lead a bad man’s life.”

      • Terminal

        What’s wrong with calling someone a fat chick? Since when is fat chick offensive? I found that comment very funny personally. No let’s call strippers erotic dancers, used cars pre-owned vehicles, midgets little people, don’t say jew, uh–yeah, let’s not offend anyone for using natural terms. Wow. Fucking a fat chick, hehe.
        ———-
        “We are bad guys. That means we’ve got more to do other than bullying companies. It’s fun to lead a bad man’s life.”

  • doubleh55

    In case nobody can figure out how to view the trailer on youtube.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YnNvBucoNSY

  • Chainsaw

    I think they should have called it Birdemic: Shock And Caw.

    • FireRam

      Heh. Nice!

  • theGoldenSimatar

    Hm, I’m still on the fence about seeing it. I’ve seen lots of crap, even ‘so crappy its reaches Epic status’..but, somehow still on the fence. It’s almost like there is too much hype around the film.

    • Uncle Creepy

      Dude, the hype don’t even come close to describing this flick.

  • Vanvance1

    I definitely want to see it.

    But I definitely don’t want to PAY to see it.

    So this is really worse than The House of the Dead? That one made me smile maniacally as I couldn’t fathom how a director could be so incompetent yet truly believe he’s making cinematic gold.

    P.S. Bet it’s still better than Twilight!

    • Uncle Creepy

      Do pay to see it. It’s an experience you wont soon forget!

      • FireRam

        But, there are GOOD experiences and BAD experiences. I see you didn’t elaborate as to which this would be. Personally, I know you shouldn’t judge a movie by clips or trailers but everything I have seen is so BAD I have no intention on seeing this.

        • Uncle Creepy

          It’s a so life-changingly awful that it may well end up the best time you’ve had in a theatre in years?

  • AngryChairr

    I wrote the review that’s up on IMDB page, and I was a bit more sarcastic but yeah, same idea. I also don’t think there’s any way this guy could not have known how bad this was. This seems like some post-modern attempt at becoming a living Ed Wood. The invented label of romantic thriller is what leads me to that assumption. It’s just sounds so self-knowingly dumb. Between Nguyen and Asylum, this is a great time for bad movies.

  • Terminal

    I’ll assume that’s a good score. Like they said on previous reviews, this movie is critic proof. If you hate it it has done its job, if you love it it has done its job.
    ———-
    “We are bad guys. That means we’ve got more to do other than bullying companies. It’s fun to lead a bad man’s life.”