Shock and Terrible – Birdemic Reviewed

17 Nov
Sick bird

Someone has the bird flu…

I’d heard about this movie for a while now. How it was so horrendous it plummeted past unwatchable to enjoyable through the rip in space/time it created on premiere night. I just hadn’t had a chance to watch it and chime in until now.

Birdemic: Shock and Terror seems to have hit upon the perfect cult formula. First, model your writing and acting after The Room. Then aim for the same bar with creature effects – something on par with Mega Piranha. Finally, remove any and all budget.  As a bonus, make sure to thoroughly thrash any audio equipment before using.

My immediate reaction fit on twitter:

Since that doesn’t tell you much about the film, I’ll expand.

Alan Bagh plays Rod, a salesman at a start-up tech company and unfortunate Valium overdose victim (OK, I made that up) who hooks up with an old classmate turned fashion model named Nathalie (played by Whitney Moore).  They date, fall in love (I think), and then birds attack everyone.

Yup, that kind of movie.

You know you’re in for something special from the opening scenes – the overlong, unnecessary driving shots and the intermittent audio (not intermittent audio problems, mind you –  the audio itself cuts out from time to time) really drive home the “We blew our entire budget on the cab ride here” vibe. And as soon as we meet poor, sedated Rod we know we’re in for an acting tour de force. When someone can make Tommy Wiseau look like Daniel Day Lewis, that actor is in the zone.

You’d expect a movie called Birdemic: Shock and Terror to have more to do with birds. Or shocks. Or even terror. Instead, the writer ingeniously hides that from you for the first half of the film by focusing on what might be the world’s worst romcom. We see Rod and Nathalie’s (I know it’s spelled weird, but this is how IMDB lists it) courtship, from awkward initial meeting to spending the night in a random hotel room. There’s even a lengthy dance scene thrown in, I’m guessing because the singer kicked in some of the movie budget.

Then the birds show up, dive bombing the local buildings, complete with dive bomber sound effects. Actually, not all of them dive bomb. Apparently the birds have been building up to this attack for a while, as they made sure to research hover technology first. In most scenes the birds ominously screech while flapping in place. Have no fear, though, you can ward them off easily if you know how to wield a wire coat hanger. Or shoot from the handgun of (mostly) infinite ammo. Occasionally one of the pixelated birds would get shot and drop – and every time I would get disappointed that the dog from duck hunt failed to pop up and giggle.

Duck Hunt

Looks like some got away…

And then it ends. We can tell this because the music swells and credits roll. Kudos to the writer for eschewing the tired trend in movies of moving the plot to a conclusion first.

Now, you might think from what I just wrote that I absolutely hated it. Completely untrue – I actually enjoyed quite a lot of it, when I wasn’t experiencing excruciating pain behind my eyeballs.  When you first hear the must-be-heard-to-be-believed recited lines, when you first see the birds attack, when wire hangers become weapons or a random couple breaks out the heavy ordinance – those are all good times.

And Whitney Moore has some acting ability. I think. It’s really hard to tell, considering her costar. It could just be that I’m thinking Apocalypse Now is high comedy because the only other frame of reference I have is Schindler’s List.

Ultimately, the problem with the movie isn’t the acting. Or the writing. Or even the effects. It’s the inconsistency. The swings from hilariously bad to just plain terrible happen a little too often.

In researching the cast, I saw that Birdemic 2: The Resurrection is slated for a 2013 release, retaining the same cast and wielding a presumably larger budget (given how many folks saw the original). Hopefully it can consistently deliver the train-wreck quality we love in movies like this, something this birdemic managed to achieve, sadly, only in spurts.

6 pixelated eagles out of 10

2 Responses to “Shock and Terrible – Birdemic Reviewed”

  1. phoenixx24 November 18, 2012 at 5:57 pm #

    I want to see it even more now!



  1. Relapsing – Birdemic 2: The Resurrection Reviewed | Two Geeks, One Blog - April 7, 2013

    […] to catch the San Francisco premiere of Birdemic 2: The Resurrection, and it made me think about my review of the first movie. At the time, I said I liked the movie in many spots, but was ultimately […]


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