Reviews: Birdemic

This was too much

Let me preface this by saying that I watched this film as part of a bad movie night. In other words, I went in expecting it to be garbage, there were people there riffing it with me, and I had already built up quite the tolerance for bad movies. In other words, the perfect storm for enjoying a movie that was otherwise a total piece of shit. NONE OF IT HELPED! DEAR GOD, NONE OF IT HELPED!

The first 45 minutes of this film was the worst I've seen anywhere. Nothing happened. The acting was on par with an elementary school play, only without the cute little kids factor, and nothing much was happening. There was a bit of shoehorned environmentalism, and a bad love story.

The second half of the movie was even worse. Poorly-rendered CGI birds started killing everyone. And by "killing everyone," I mean "just kind of hovering there, and making the same noise over and over again." The acting managed to somehow get worse, and the already bad soundtrack went even further downhill. The environmental message became so heavy-handed that it made Captain Planet look subtle by comparison. There were more holes in the plot than in all the world's swiss cheese. And despite our best attempts to riff it, we could not make it more tolerable.

This was, hands down, the worst movie that I have ever seen. I would not recommend it to anyone. Not even a seasoned B-movie veteran looking for something new to riff. Stay away from this movie if you value your sanity.

Hilarious, corny, and unlike the sequel, honest

A big part of what makes Birdemic so fun is the fact that it is totally not self-aware. Like The Room, this movie was made by a man who truly believed in his vision and wanted to see it through to the end. He wanted to make a cross between a horror movie involving birds, and a message on the importance of dealing with global warming. This clashes considerably with the final product, and the resulting contrast is hilarious.

The birds are clearly photoshopped into the scene. They often look like animated GIFs clearly edited into the scene, often flying completely in place, or not moving with the background. When a bird flies right past a man and apparently bites his neck, it simply looks like a photoshopped bird flew right past him, followed by the man stumbling about and collapsing to the ground with a strangely realistic neck wound.

The behavior of the birds is totally illogical. They divebomb and explode? Then later, they fly into a car and merely crash into the windshield and die. Weren't they literally exploding before? And they apparently can spray people with acid urine that burns their face and kills them. Mostly, they just fly at people and attack them. What causes this? Apparently, global warming, as we're told by a man who lives in the woods.

The story takes itself seriously, attempting to portray how people would try to survive in such an apocalyptic scenario, as they try to scavenge for food, rip each other off for high amounts of money, or rob each other for supplies. It's a nice idea, and it had me wondering how such concepts would work in a movie I could take more seriously.

But ultimately, it's a hot mess due to the stranger aspects of the plot, the bad acting, and the ridiculous special effects. All these clash with the movie's clear attempts to be serious, only making it hilarious.

The sequel, sadly, misses the point. For the sequel, director James Nguyen was given a bigger budget by a producer, but was apparently told to turn his film into an intentional comedy. The result is a self-aware parody that exaggerates and/or mocks aspects of the original, which I just didn't find as much fun. When you're telling the audience the whole time that it's just a joke, that rubs me the wrong way. I prefer the original.

A Defense

We all know how bad this movie is and where most of the blame lies but I felt it was worth mentioning that Whitney Moore is the one bright spot. If you watch her scenes, she's actually trying, she just has absolutely nothing to work with. Her romantic lead Alan Bagh isn't giving her any energy to work with, her character is thinly drawn, the scenes she's in are poorly edited (and many performances are made or broken in the editing room) and she only gets one or two takes per scene. Given what she had to work with, she delivered as good a performance as you could hope for. And thats not even getting into her looks.

Bagh by contrast doesn't seem to be trying. One couldn't blame him for losing enthusiasm in this project but its still pretty unprofessional. Ham it up if you aren't gonna take it seriously Bagh. Give us something. (Of course, I'm giving him the benefit of a doubt and assuming he actually can act and just chose not to here.)