In 2008, James Nguyen set out to make a romantic thriller inspired by The Birds, An Inconvenient Truth, and (apparently) The Room. This is his story.
Birdemic: Shock and Terror is a difficult movie to describe. According to the director, it's a romantic thriller. According to IMDB, it's a horror. According to anyone who has seen it, it's the reason they gouged out their own eyes with a Twizzler.
"A platoon of eagles & vultures attack the residents of a small town.
Many people died. It's not known what caused the flying menace to attack.
Two people managed to fight back, but will they survive BIRDEMIC?"
Taken from the film's own website, this is the best synopsis of this movie you will ever find. It perfectly sums up the movie's 1) plot and 2) mindset. The person who wrote that synopsis - and the person who made that movie - legitimately thinks that this is how you tell a story.
Done watching? Now mull this over: the movie is less competently put together than the trailer.
I'm begging you, don't read that as an exaggeration. Birdemic manages to be incompetent on every level. Even Matthew McCoughnablhey's movies from approximately 2000-2010 have some basic things right - "basic things" here having the meaning of "sound quality" and "functioning cameras" - but that isn't the case with Nguyen's anti-masterpiece. Background noise lurches from threateningly loud to completely silent, as though the movie is constantly futzing with its own hearing aid. The first 10 minutes of screen time showcase a thrilling driving scene in which our hero Rob commutes to work, pausing on the way to get some gas. That's literally it. No dialogue, no plot, just driving. All of this is accompanied by a funereal funhouse march which apparently put the camera man to sleep, because the camera keeps veering diagonally to the right in a very unintentional-looking way.
All of this brilliant technical incompetence almost makes you happy once the dialogue starts. Almost. Unfortunately, Alan Bagh's performance as Rob has me convinced that he is not a human, but a Sim from the original The Sims. This distinction is important: Rob has no expressions, no ability to convince me he has any sense of free will or even thoughts, and no idea how to convincingly walk on a sidewalk.
Casting call for Birdemic.
His love interest Nat(I refuse to include the 'h' on moral grounds)alie fares somewhat better - she at least knows what emotions she's supposed to convey, even if she doesn't know how to do so. Out of everyone in this film, I think she has the best career trajectory awaiting her. It'll be in porn, and she'll probably need some implants to even get there; but as far as talent goes, she's all set.
You'll note it has taken me a good deal of time to mention those animated .gif birds you saw in the trailer.
Not author's rendering. Actual screenshot from actual film.
It takes the movie a while to get to them as well, but as far as low budget carnage goes, you will not* be disappointed. They look EXACTLY like they do in the trailer. They hover awkwardly on screen, screeching and cawing with all their midi might. They kill people either by gouging out their eyes (off screen), slicing their throats (on screen once), or scratching their faces (?). Characters swipe their clothes hangers or shoot bullets into the air at random, and manage to hit roughly 3 out of one million billion birds. However, these same characters - the ones who are fleeing the murderous rage of MS Paint birds - completely ignore the presence of real birds. They also ignore the 60-odd cars that drive pass them as they search for "survivors." At one point, the birds urinate what appears to be pure acid on four random characters (I don't know if it's urine, since the liquid looked like it had been tossed by the bucket-load, but I also doubt that it was acid vomit). At another point, Rob & Nat
halie + 2 Kids They Found take a break from their desperate attempts to escape .gif attacks to sit outside and eat lunch. They also go fishing. I am not making this up.
And then, as mysteriously as it began, the movie just ends. Our protagonists are trapped in a car besieged by birds and apparently an earthquake when it all just....stops. The birds fly away (I say "away." They remain completely stationary) as Rob and
Natalie his lady watch for roughly 10 minutes of my life, and the credits roll. It's impossible to ask for an explanation for this ending, because you would then have to ask such uncomfortable questions as "Why does this movie even exist in the first place?" and "Why were you watching it?" and "Is 'drunk' really a reason?" These questions are better left unasked.
What really kills me is that, for all the hysterical ineptitude, you'd think this movie was made as a joke. But it wasn't. Nguyen legitimately has something to say, and believes this is his way to say it. To hear him tell it, this "something" is about the environment, and also about Hitchcock. His two main influences were The Birds (no shit) and An Inconvenient Truth (what the shit?). He names Tippi Hendren in the cast list for being in a movie playing in the background of the (almost fully-clothed) sex scene. Five minutes of the film are dedicated to a completely random hippie's ramblings about nature, and another five to a "scientist" who mumbles incoherently about the viciousness of man. Again, I am not making this up. It is the most inordinately Enjoyable Bad Movie I've ever seen, and it comes completely irony-free. If it's playing at a theatre near you, I urge you to invest in two or three pints and give it a look. It will change your life.