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Saturday, March 12, 2011

A Little-Late Film Review - Birdemic: Shock and Terror

The Room and Bride of the Monster have some competition for the title of most inept movie of all time.  By now, most film fans know about Troma Studios, and the Asylum, but have you heard of Severin Films?  I haven’t, until I decided to check out the C-grade camp-fest that is Birdemic: Shock and Terror.  The film centers on our aviary occupiers of the sky taking their wrath out on man.  Our heroes: a telesales rep named Rod, and a model named Natalie. 

So after Natalie, who’s shoot apparently took place in a 1-hour photo shop in a commercial strip gets a cover deal with Victoria’s Secret, and Rod closes a one million dollar sale, from a cubicle, and everything seems to be going great for their newly-blossomed romance.  So, we watch Rod debate the prices of solar panels for two minutes and then it cuts to him waiting in a shopping center parking lot for a dinner date with Natalie.  The scene in the Chinese restaurant looks less like a film scene and more like a cheesy local commercial for a medium-grade oriental diner. 

Shortly in, the film’s grating environmental message starts to hammer you over the head.  You get lines like “I’ve learned my lesson, I’m getting a hybrid car.”  We get long diatribes about the cost-effectiveness of solar technology, and a laughable scene where the film‘s two stars cry over the corpse of a dead hawk.  This environmental message becomes key to the film’s paper-thin plot.  There’s nothing wrong with the promotion of environmentally-friendly technology, but considering this movie involves people getting attacked by killer birds, it seems less like “Love the planet or your actions will destroy it and you.” and more like “Mankind be damned!  Save the planet!”  We eventually learn that Global Warming caused the birds to attack us.  So, global warming causes birds to make sounds like fighter jets from the 1940s and explode on impact?  That sounds AWESOME!  Hooray for blaring misanthropy!

So, after about forty minutes of setup , which is mostly pointless and dragged out (including a musical number with the whitest dancing I have ever seen in a movie), the birdies attack.  It is literally like THAT.  Out of nowhere.  This is the scene we’ve been waiting for, and boy is it art.  The two wake up from a hotel bed to find birds screeching outside their door, and to their horror: DEVASTATION!  These are some of the funniest scenes I have ever seen, I couldn’t stop laughing.  The bird attacks are complete with sound of fighter engines diving as they swoop down and explosions when they collide with various objects.  It is perfect.

The scenes that follow are standard monster movie fare.  Warning of attacks, searching for survivors, panic and fear.  These scenes bring even more laughs as the heroes swat at super-imposed animated birds with coat hangars.  What’s really funny is this is supposed to be the aftermath of a brutal bird attack, but they forgot to tell that to the other cars on the road that drive by consistently during the so-called Birdemic, they obviously weren‘t intended to be in the shot, but with a budget this low, you can‘t expect them to close any roads. 

So with a plot this silly, and this hilariously executed, there has to be problems right?  Yep.  They are abundant.  So abundant that I’ve reserved my review of the technical flaws with the film for a second article.  So stay tuned for another episode!

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