"Now for better, or for worse, this movie will change your life."
A No Budget
eco-thriller written, produced and directed by James Nyugen. The story is a Whole Plot Reference
to The Birds
, featuring a romantic couple whose relationship is interrupted by a sudden attack of killer birds, with a very overt Green Aesop
The was shown at a couple festivals in 2008 and 2009, and then had a small theatrical run in 2010. It was released on DVD and Blu-ray
in February 2011. The film was introduced to the wider world
by Tim Heidecker and Eric Wareheim
of Tim & Eric Awesome Show, Great Job!
, and has since become infamous for its So Bad, It's Good
A sequel, Birdemic 2: The Resurrection
, has been released. In 3D! And yes, it's as terrible as the first movie.
This film provides examples of:
- Acting Unnatural: An unintentional example - early in the movie, Alan Bagh, who plays Rod, was hyperconscious of the camera being on him and apparently couldn't walk naturally on camera and ends up looking like he's made of wood.
- All Men Are Perverts:
- Rick thinks "a day without sex is a day wasted." (This character was reused from the other film by Nguyen, Julie and Jack.)
- Nathalie also mentions more than once that Rod is different from all the other guys she's dated, who were only into her for the sex. So apparently All Men Are Perverts, Except Rod. Even then, it's a Broken Aesop: Rod tries to invite himself in to Nathalie's apartment after their first date. Though, it might be argued that Rod's intents were virtuous, and Nathalie didn't want to tempt herself.
- All There in the Manual: Word of God is the only source of information on the birds' bizarre attributes.
- Aluminum Christmas Trees: In California, all cars can be converted to hybrid or full electric. However, it's expensive. So Rod's hybrid Ford Mustang was plausible (if missing the point of a muscle car like a Mustang).
- Artistic License Ė Biology: Did you know eagles could hover in midair like hummingbirds? According to Word of God "Global warming has caused them to be mutant, toxic, and flammable. That's why, when they take a kamikaze drive, they explode, and when they drop bird fluid on some of the cast, they get burned." Genetics and evolution don't work that way outside of X-Men. There's also the spontaneous combustion. Even bombardier beetles don't explode when falling. They also sound like Stuka bombers when they dive, which is a fairly impressive biological feat.
- As You Know: At the end of their double date, Rod helpfully points out to the others that the movie they just finished watching was An Inconvenient Truth. It's shoehorned into the dialogue so awkwardly that it's clear Nguyen was desperate to name drop it.
- A-Team Firing: The heroes, including a supposed soldier, fire hundreds of rounds at birds and rarely hit any of them. Mind you, birds are tiny, fast targets, and they don't have any birdshot. Though the "fast" part is mitigated by their hovering.
- Audience Participation: Coat hangers and applause.
- Author Appeal: Green Tech - to the point of giving Rod a hybrid Ford Mustang.
- Author Avatar: The protagonist of this (and those of the director's other two films) are tech salesmen. Guess what profession the director used to work in? The protagonist attracts a Victoria's Secret model by creepily stalking her.
- Author Filibuster: In the middle of the birdemic, characters are introduced solely to deliver a speech about how global warming will kill us all, then leave never to return.
- Book Ends: The film begins and ends on a shot of the Pacific Ocean.
- Bottomless Magazines: Not once do you see Rod or Ramsey reloading their weapons, and they fire a truly psychotic number of rounds at the birds. Just dozens and dozens of bullets without cease.
- Bus Full of Innocents: A bus full of people are trapped by birds. The heroes "rescue" them.
- Captain Obvious: The back of the DVD cover describes Nathalie as "a sexy lingerie model", as opposed to all those plain, unattractive lingerie models we see so often on the Victoria's Secret catalog covers.
- Chuck Cunningham Syndrome: After the birds attack, Nathalie doesn't even mention her mother, much less the fact that she's probably dead. Or perfectly fine and safe in her house.
- Contrived Coincidence: It turns out Rod's best friend and Nathalie's best friend are dating. This has absolutely nothing to do with how they meet.
- Corpsing: Whitney Moore, the actress playing Nathalie, can't keep a straight face.
- She giggles when she talks to Dr. Jones, for whatever reason.
- She also corpses when first getting the hangars in the infamous scene.
- She is also laughing during the scene where she and Rod are dancing. One could guess that Rod was being funny if you ever saw his mouth move. Judging by her dancing, she clearly wasn't taking it seriously.
- Covers Always Lie: "From writer/producer/director/visionary James Nguyen The Master Of The Romantic Thriller comes the story of a sexy lingerie model (Whitney Moore) and a successful software salesman (Alan Bagh) on a weekend getaway to a quaint Northern California town. But when the entire region is attacked by millions of homicidal birds,Note their picturesque paradise becomes a winged hell on earth. Can mankind now survive the avian onslaught of BIRDEMIC? Hollywood legend Tippi Hedren of Hitchcock's The Birds co-starsNote in the global cult movie phenomenon that Videogum says might end up being the greatest film of all time!"Note
- Crazy-Prepared: Ramsey is either a survival nut or a domestic terrorist, considering how he just happened to have a bunch of guns in his van when the birds started attacking.
- Deus ex Machina: Rod, Nathalie and the children are saved by doves who chase off the eagles. Never mind the fact that eagles prey on doves.
- Developing Doomed Characters: It takes half the movie for the eponymous Birdemic to appear.
- Dull Surprise:
- Tree-hugger Tom Hill casually announces that a mountain lion is approaching. He then strolls off screen in an equally unconcerned way.
- Rod in many scenes, such as his muted reaction to Nathalie walking out of their hotel bathroom in her underwear, killer birds attacking him and his company, and selling his company for one billion dollars. About the only time he shows any sort of emotion is when he makes his million dollar sale near the beginning, where he shouts "Whoo-hoo!" while Milking the Giant Cow. He's back to his normal bland self seconds later.
- Ramsey doesn't seem terribly upset over Becky's death. But neither is the audience since the suspenseful music is playing for a good 15 seconds before the bird actually kills her.
- Fanservice: Nathalie in her underwear.
Kevin: (seeing Nathalie)
What were people's complaints about this movie again?
Bill: Well, that the acting, dialog, special effects, script, sound editing were all really, really terrible.
Kevin: Yeah, it is pretty great, isn't it?!
- Funny Background Event: Unintentional examples. There are numerous points during the bird attack where people, cars, and actual birds can be seen simply going about their daily business in the background. During one scene, normal highway traffic is passing — in both directions — during a scene in which everyone was supposed to have evacuated the city.
- Gaia's Vengeance: The birds have become mutated suicide bombers due to global warming, apparently in the span of a day.
- Genre Shift: So abrupt you can hear the gearbox break!
- Green Aesop: Characters speak highly of green technology before Gaia's Vengeance rears its head and various characters assert that global warming is killing the Earth.
- Halfway Plot Switch: The first half of the movie is a romance, while the second half is a horror movie, mirroring The Birds.
- I'm a Man, I Can't Help It: Rick thinks "a day without sex is a day wasted."
- Improvised Weapon:
- Imperial Stormtrooper Marksmanship Academy: A rare heroic case. The heroes, including a supposed soldier, fire hundreds of rounds at birds and rarely hit any of them.
- Improbable Aiming Skills: In spite of their usual inaccuracy, the heroes manage to shoot down a bunch of birds directly between them and innocent people. They hit nothing except birds.
- Incest Is Relative: There's hints of this in the song "Hangin' Out With the Family," which chronicles a family gathering where "...the brothers can't wait to hook up" and "...grandma gets to prancin', to make sure, the fellas, don't try any glancin'!"
- Informed Ability: All over the place.
- Rod is supposed to be a great salesman, yet he's a marble-mouthed speaker. In an opening scene, it's unclear whether he gives the buyer a massive discount or points out that his service is much cheaper than the competition. Neither strategy takes any skill in salesmanship.
- Rod somehow invents cheap affordable solar power between scenes. He never displays the intelligence to pull off such a feat and can barely pronounce the term "solar panels."
- The actress playing Nathalie is plenty attractive enough to play a model (in fact, Whitney Moore is a model, as is Alan Bagh (who plays Rod), but for someone who just landed a Victoria's Secret gig no one seems to have any confidence in the future of her career.
- According to Nathalie, Rod is intelligent and charming. We never see any evidence of this.
- One would assume that Rod and Nathalie are both very wealthy, seeing as the former closes a massive contract and starts up an immediately successful alternative energy company, and the latter is a Victoria's Secret model. Yet neither of them show any signs at all of being wealthy, and when they go on vacation together, the best they can afford is a Motel 6.
- Insurmountable Waist High Fence: Dr Jones is guarding a bridge across two small ponds which would take only a few minutes to walk around.
- Laser-Guided Karma: There is a stranger who forces Rod to give him a tank of gas. Right before he walks away (from his vehicle, keep in mind), an eagle slices his neck.
- Leave the Camera Running: The clumsy editing and slow pacing lead to a lot of this. There are numerous overly long establishing shots, and there are countless shots of people walking in and out of buildings, parking and pulling into traffic. The Rifftrax of the film insists that parking and pulling out scenes are the heart and soul of the film.
- Lethal Chef: Rod's bright idea to try and cook a fish without cleaning and gutting it first. Apparently this leads to Susan getting sick and dying in-between the first and second movie.
- Made of Explodium: The birds often explode on impact, which the creator has stated is a result of their mutations.
- Mood Whiplash: The movie shifts abruptly from a poorly executed romance to a monster movie thriller at the halfway point. Besides the two brief encounters with CGI birds, no suspense is built up prior to the Halfway Plot Switch, unlike The Birds
- My Beloved Smother: Nathalie's mom, who — despite saying she is happy about her daughter's success as a model and her new job as the cover girl for the Victoria's Secret catalog — is extremely vocal about her belief that Nathalie should give up modeling to go into real estate.
- My Girl Is Not a Slut: Rod defends Nathalie to Rick, who implies she's a Gold Digger (or at least, that women are swayed by material wealth).
- Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: Ramsey "rescues" several people who are hiding in a bus for safety by forcing them against their will into the open, where they're all immediately killed by a bunch of acid SPIT from the birds!
- No Ending: The movie does not so much end as coast to a stop.
- Noisy Nature: The "golden eagles" and "turkey vultures" make a constant, repeating seagull cry while attacking.
- Off-the-Shelf FX: Leading to the film's infamous Special Effect Failure.
- Plot Armor: Birds tends to explode (what?) at anyone else. If it's near Rod or Natalie, they simple stump down dead.
- Police Are Useless: The police apparently need to be called because they didnít notice the birds attacking buildings and exploding.
- Product Placement:
- Cameron's Pub (where the bar date with Rod and Nathalie took place) has actually received a small popularity boost from the film, and has even held a Birdemic Fest with James Nguyen and "Just Hanging Out" singer Damien Carter.
- Also inverted with many brand logos being blurred out.
- When we first see Mai, the camera hovers over a poster for www.imaginepeace.com. Later, the only outfit she is seen wearing is identical to the poster.
- Reaction Shot: Neither movie apparently trusts the audience to believe that a character is dead when they've clearly been killed by a bird. In both movies, each time anyone is killed by a bird, it always cuts to a reaction shot of their dead body, as if to confirm for the viewer each and every time that yes, this character is now dead.
- Reckless Gun Usage:
- Right Through His Pants: Apparently how Natalie has sex, given how she wakes up in the hotel. Credit must be given to Rod, though, who apparently had sex wearing a tanktop, slacks, and a belt.
- Rule of Cool: The hawks make divebomber sounds when attacking buildings. They also cause the buildings to explode.
- Sanity Slippage: Ramsey suffers one, and "rescues" some people best left unrescued. And the audience.
- Shout-Out: Several.
- At one point, the characters go out on a double date to see An Inconvenient Truth - reportedly one of James Nguyen's favorite movies of all time.
- There's also several references to another one of Nguyen's favorite films, The Birds.
- Both movies start out as romances, then change into horror films at the halfway mark.
- Both films have a dead shopkeeper with their eyes pecked out.
- The male lead is named in honor of Rod Taylor, the actor who played the romantic lead in The Birds. Nathalie's name could also be a reference to the actress who played the female lead of that movie - Nathalie "Tippi" Hedren.
- Both films have an environmentalism theme, though Hitchcock's ecological message was subtler by far. Hitchcock had the birds attacking whenever smoke was visible in the background. Nguyen just has random fires and smoke clouds show up.
- A shot of Tippi Hedren interacting with birds is visible for a moment on a television.
- Space Whale Aesop: If you contribute to global warming, the polar ice caps will melt, pine beetles will breed out of control, and angry, exploding animated .GIF birds will attack you.
- Stalking Is Love: Most models aren't charmed by tech salesmen following them around. Granted, Bagh's bad acting makes him seem creepier than he might be, but his behavior is still odd.
- Stock Sound Effects: Bicycle bells are bizarrely used as the sound effect for phones, and birds sound like World War II Ju 87 Stuka dive bombers.
- Suspiciously Specific Denial: Unintentional example. Becky gets attacked by a bird. Nathalie empties her gun into the bird sitting on Becky's face, then runs back to the car screaming "She's dead! I didn't do anything!"
- Technical Pacifist: Ramsey says he left the military because he was tired of all of the killing. Yet he keeps a loaded M4 carbine in his van, which is also an unlawful firearm in California.
- The Unintelligible:
- Rod gets quite mush-mouthed at times, especially when he's talking about his great inventions, slrpnls.
- The gas station attendant charged $100 for a gallon of gasoline. The fact that Rod understood what he said is the only proof we have that the man was speaking English.
- What Happened to the Mouse?: Nathalie's mother is featured heavily, but once the birds attacked is never mentioned or heard of again. She's revealed to be alright in the sequel, but then disappears again before the next bird attack.
- You No Take Candle: Ramsay introduces his girlfriend by pointing to her and saying "girlfriend Becky."