Written and directed by James Nguyen, Master of Romantic Thrillers™
Distributed by Severin Films
What are you gonna do with your fancy pants Blu Ray player? Test out your home theater system with a 3-disc Collector’s Edition of Avatar? Hell no! Who wants to watch that never-ending CGI hippy movie when you can have the exact same experience with James Nguyen’s cult hit Birdemic: Shock and Terror? Just like Avatar, it has bad CGI, stilted characters and a preachy environmental message – only done on 1/1,000,000,000,000,000th of the budget. So why is Birdemic superior? Simple: James Cameron’s movie doesn’t have giant exploding eagles.
First some backstory: Nguyen, a Vietnamese software salesman from San Jose, was so infatuated with love stories and Alfred Hitchcock’s The Birds that he decided to mash the two together and dubbed his odd cinematic concoction “the world’s first Romantic Thriller.” Acting as a one-man Robert Rodriguez, Nguyen armed himself with a prosumer video camera, a few local “actors” and a cheap computer program to create one giant self-financed birdocalypse. When his magnum opus was rejected from Sundance (!), Nguyen rented a van, covered it with blood, fake birds and “Bidemic” logos (misspelling his own title) and went to the festival anyway, blaring ungodly eagle screeches from a sound-system to the numerous patrons waiting in line. This caught the attention of the folks at Severin Films and the instantly snatched up the rights and groomed it into the next overnight cult sensation.
The “plot” follows Rod, the most wooden human being in the history of existence as he dates hot underwear model Natalie after stalking her in a diner. And…well…that’s about it. For the first half of the movie, absolutely nothing happens except a series of conversations – the kind usually reserved for alien pod people. After endless “flirting” and “romancing” at the local pumpkin festival, our intrepid hero finally unleashes his “Rod” but the couple’s post-coital bliss is interrupted when toxic killer eagles and vultures (a product of our environmental destruction) suddenly appear and wage war on humanity. Luckily, Rod’s sex-crazed buddy is in the same motel and brought his machine guns to the pumpkin fest, so their rag-tag group takes off through the countryside in search of safe haven.
Joining the ranks of Troll 2 and The Room, Birdemic: Shock and Terror is one of the most mind-melting experiences you’ll ever have. It’s a film so ineptly made that any description simply won’t do it justice (although Foywonder’s review pretty much nails it). It’s magical combination of non-talent somehow created the perfect bad movie storm – one that should be seen with a group of friends and a lot of booze (do NOT watch it alone).
And thanks to the wonder of high-def, you can now experience Birdemic: Shock and Terror the way James Nguyen intended: In full 1080p (!?!) glory. Never before have out-of-focus, blown out photography and fuzzy green screens been so lovingly mastered for state-of-the-art home video. If that weren’t enough, prepare to give your sound system the ride of its life: It comes with a DTS-HD 5.1 audio track where you can hear every sound drop out and dialogue echo with crystal clarity!
Extra features wise, we get two – count em, two – audio commentaries. One is with filmmaker auteur James Nyugen, which is about as delusional and incomprehensible as you would expect. More fun is a snarky talk with stars Alan Bagh, Witney Moore, and moderated by comedian Bobby Hacker, and they playfully rip the film a new asshole. Then we have two deleted scenes (yes, Nguyen has the sense to cut something), and several featurettes. The Birdemic Experience Tour shows clips from the film’s midnight festival run with various audience reactions and Q&A highlights (I was lucky enough to be at one of them) while James Nguyen on Movie Close-Up is a half-hour interview with the director on a bad San Fran public access show (where the technical glitches rival the movie itself). Four trailers and an EPK kit round out the disc – but where is that Birdemic music video, Severin?
There’s something beautifully wrong about owning Birdemic: Shock and Terror on Blu Ray. Some naysayers have complained that giving such a heinous film this much attention is a crime against real filmmakers – but they’re missing the point. A truly bad movie transcends itself and becomes anti-art, which is, ironically, the most exciting of all art forms. Of all people, Nguyen best sums up why Birdemic works in the bonus features: When an audience member sarcastically asks why his film is so awesome, he responds with one word: “Sincerity.”
5 out of 5 exploding eagles
3 out of five exploding eagles
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