Birdemic: Shock and Terror

"Why did the eagles and vultures attack?"

That's right fuckers, welcome back to the Tagytagtags, it's time for SHOCK AND TERROR on a Thursday morning (or Wednesday night if you stay glued to your feed I don't know). Over the weekend I had the unique experience that is viewing Birdemic, a movie so impossibly bad that I at first was convinced that its shittiness was deliberate. Alas, my sense of shock and terror grew as I came to realize that this movie was a sincere effort, that just also happened to be one of the worst things a human being has ever done on camera under the guise of cinema. Directed, written, and produced by James Nguyen, a person I can only assume is criminally insane, Birdemic chronicles the life, love, and attack by killer birds, of Rod and Nathalie, two young successful young people living in I don't remember or care, California. Rod is a multi-millionaire, after he closes some great sales, his company sells for A BILLION DOLLARS, and he launches his own start up that sells solar panels or something. He drives a Mustang, or at least I assume he is driving it, but it's possible that he cut a hole in the floor and is powering it with his feet like the Flinstones, because I've seriously never seen a Mustang move so slow in my entire life. I honestly didn't think they could be running and move that slow, but now I know better I guess! Anyway, Rod meets an old classmate one day, who is a fashion model, which I guess is different than some other kind of model, and they're really careful to make sure you know how much she is a fashion model. She's really on the rise too, given that she has become "the cover model for Victoria's Secret". Is that a thing? I don't know, but gosh they sure are nonchalant about how she is now a super famous model suddenly. Anyway, despite these two collectively commanding the wealth of a medium sized third world country, they go on dates at town fairs and low-class looking vietnamese restaurants. Also they enjoy live musical performances by some weird guy singing a song about hanging out and having a party with your family.

Kill those gifs with those hangers.
If it seems like I'm dwelling a lot on the romance between these two poorly written and acted dolts, that would be because at least half the run time of this film is preoccupied with the lukewarm romance between them. This is to say that the movie is a little more than half-way over before the eponymous Birdemic actually strikes. My shock and terror of course set in early when I realized that the movie's run time was almost exclusively scenes of people getting into cars, getting out of cars, parking, and pulling out of parking spots and merging cautiously into traffic. If that sounds like a fate worse than death to you, then you are correct. Anyway, After Rod, who is very very rich, and Nat, who is also presumably pretty rich, have sex in a sleazy looking motel, something bad happens. I mean, another bad thing happens I guess. You see, the town is suddenly attacked by poorly animated .gifs of vultures and eagles, making fake sounding bird noises. Also they divebomb ground targets (and make a sound like a jet doing a divebomb) and explode, creating fake looking fires and smoke. Why does this happen? I don't really know, but it definitely did happen and I was left wondering why birds were exploding. After a brief half naked stand-off with these angry birds (haha) Rod and Nat escape out into the world, where they encounter more deadly birds, but also a guy with guns. Before that point, to fend off the fierce eagles and vultures they were using wire coat hangers. Yeah that's right, in a hotel room full of objects, they decided to use the hangers as means of fighting exploding .gif birds, that just sort of hover around and do their animation. Some of them also apparently can shoot acid?

The awesome musical scene.
Rod, Nat and company travel from town to town, getting in and out of cars, getting peed on to death in some cases, meeting a "treehugger" who says that the birds are attacking because of global warming, and going fishing on a beach and eating seaweed also. Eventually the attacking birds are driven off by a swarm of doves for no explained reason, and then the survivors watch the birds fly out to the ocean for no reason for about five solid minutes. I was really surprised to find that, while this meandering adventure had felt like a seven to eight hour affair, in the real world only 92 minutes had passed. Now the world is full of films trying to be bad, for the sake of comedy, or films that are just not very good. This movie falls into neither of those categories. Created and funded almost entirely off of Nguyen's day job and shot over weekends during its four year long development cycle, Birdemic is a perfect storm of bad elements. It features a nonsensical plot, terrible cinematography, almost non-existent sound editing, ridiculously bad scripting, and acting that could be generously described as wooden. In particular it seems no one told the director that he could reshoot scenes, because the whole movie is essentially a giant flubbed line. 

A steamy sex scene.
Then of course, as I mentioned earlier, there are the special effects. "special" is an accurate way to describe these effects, because they're truly one of a kind outside of a geocities site of a 14-year old in 2002. .gifs do not make especially intimidating monsters, and constantly looped bird  screeches are not a great way to win over an audience. Watching people be doused in a bucket of bird acid pee was sort of funny I guess, but is equally unexplained. To be fair, basically nothing in the movie is explained, so this sequence fit right in.  It's sort of shocking to imagine that 10,000 dollars went in to creating a film made up almost exclusively of driving footage. Not even interesting driving footage either, like really slow boring driving footage with lots of parking.

Wow that's an excellent wig.
I've told you all these things, but really I can't begin to convey to you just how surreal it is to actually watch this movie. There is a point where Rod talks to Nat about exercising his stock options. Basically every time he talks he sounds like he is giving really awkward and phony answers at an interview for a summer internship or something. The whole movie looks and sounds like it was shot on an old camcorder, with huge, horrible gaps in the audio track. Nguyen described his intent for the movie as being a romantic thriller. I'm not sure how that is supposed to go, but if this is the truest expression of that genre you can definitely count me out. I think it would have also been nice if someone had told the actor playing Rod how to say "solar panel" in a way that didn't sound like "slrpnel". A slrpnel sounds kind of like some sort of strange foreign beverage actually, and now I'm thirsty.

Ultimately, much like the Matrix, no one can be told what Birdemic is, you have to see it for yourself. I think you will appreciate it, the movie's just so bizarre that you can't help but be amused. I heard on a podcast with the girl who played Nat that she and the male lead often had to perform jobs a crew would usually do (like holding a boom mic between her knees during one scene) the whole thing is just... it's like a fever dream. Anyway you should check it out!

That's it for today, join me again next week for a thrilling ride featuring NICHOLAS CAGE.

1 comment:

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