Review: Birdemic: Shock and Terror! (Fantasia)

Birdemic: Shock and Terror! (Fantasia)
1 10

PLOT:True love is born when a software salesman who makes million dollar deals practically every day meets a fledgling Victoria's Secret model. Their courtship is interrupted by a sudden - and I mean SUDDEN - attack on their town by an endless swarm of poorly animated eagles and vultures. (In director James Nguyen's world, that's how nature will tag-team us into submission.)

REVIEW: BIRDEMIC is practically review-proof at this point. How do you critique a movie that, at this stage of its notoriety, is riding on the coat-tails of its own awfulness. Make no mistake, Severin Films is not making BIRDEMIC avail able to audiences in an effort to build the flick a reputation as something other than what it is: a laughably godawful wreck that you'd trash even if you knew it had been made by a 12-year-old relative. But BIRDEMIC was not made by a 12-year-old; it was made, with great affection, by software salesman James Nguyen, whose apparent love and admiration for Alfred Hitchcock films has not halted his almost-shocking inability to capture anything resembling plot continuity, character development or even simple lines of dialogue. (Seriously, a great many lines are lost to the ether, and no one has bothered to ADR them.) Frankly, there isn't a single moment that isn't open to derision, as Nguyen's actors and crew fumble every scene in one way or another. You may ask yourself initially, as I did, whether or not this is some great hoax - if all involved are intrinsically aware that this is a giant turkey, and are milking every minute of it. But no, the "bad" here is bad on levels that aren't describable. It is, like I said, the stuff of a 12-year-old and a camcorder.

That's not to say it's a slam-dunk of camp and hilarity. The only reason to see BIRDEMIC is to mock it, of course. which I did with a sold-out crowd at its NYC premiere. Yes, we were along for the ride the whole time, gasping and joking at the movie's expense - lord knows its baffling array of stunted line-readings, bizarre jump-cuts and confounding visual effects leave it open to hundreds of easy cheap shots. But BIRDEMIC isn't without its tiresome moments. The birds themselves are amazing at first, but their constant screeching grows irritating, as does the novelty of their appearance. There are also several sequences that just drag on forever; during these you may find yourself thinking "Is this really worth it? I could be watching f*cking ANYTHING else right now". (It should be said that it takes at least a half hour for any birds to show up at all.) Unlike other camp classics like THE ROOM and SHOWGIRLS, BIRDEMIC isn't a movie you'll want to relive over and over again.

But with a (hopefully inebriated) crowd, there are a some real gems to be found here: an round-of-applause scene that laughably goes on for over a minute; the unveiling of several automatic weapons owned by an otherwise normal bystander; a forest fire that breaks out for absolutely no good reason (other than the fact that a character just happened to be talking about forest fires a moment earlier). BIRDEMIC's heavy-handed ecological message - that all this "shock and terror" is happening because of how poorly we treat Mother Earth - is hammered home in a handful of truly priceless bits, like when our lead character walks out of a movie theater and proclaims, "That was a great movie! An Inconvenient Truth!" Indeed, the whole thing feels more than a little inspired by another infamously terrible film, THE HAPPENING. Maybe that's what doomed BIRDEMIC from the get-go.

The Movie: 1/10
The Experience: 8/10



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