Birdemic: Shock and Terror
birdemic | birdemic: shock and terror | james nguyen | alan bagh | whitney moore | janae caster | thriller | animal attack | united states | colton osborne | adam sessa | catherine batcha | pasty van ettinger | damien carter | rick camp | stephen gustavson | john grant
Film: Birdemic: Shock and Terror
Director: James Nguyen
Writer: James Nguyen
Starring: Alan Bagh, Whitney Moore and Janae Caster
This is a movie that I heard about due to its notoriety of being a bad movie. I’ll be honest, I tend to avoid movies like this as I don’t like to pick apart movies and tend to only watch things that I believe I’ll enjoy. The reason I saw this one was an October movie challenge required me to watch the worst sequel I could find rating wise and I’m a completionist so I watched this first. The synopsis here is a horde of mutated birds descends upon the quiet town of Half Moon Bay, California. With the death toll rising, two citizens manage to fight back, but will they survive birdemic?
Much as the synopsis states, we start off getting to meet our leads. Rod (Alan Bagh) drives out to a small town and goes to a diner. It is there that he meets Nathalie (Whitney Moore). She is leaving work and he chases after her as he recognizes her from somewhere. It turns out they went to high school together. He asks her out on a date, which she agrees to.
To give a bit more background, Rod is in sales for a start up company that just got bought out. In the process, he started a company that is making solar panels cheaper. In just a matter of 15 minutes or so of the movie, Rod is now a millionaire. Nathalie also has a big break in her life. She is a model that just got a call to work for Victoria’s Secret.
Things take a turn though when birds all of a sudden start to attack. There are hints that global warming could be a cause of what is going on here, but no one can be sure. Rod and Nathalie join up with Ramsey (Adam Sessa) and Becky (Catherine Batcha) to try to survive this ordeal. They try to save other survivors in the process.
That is about the extent of the story here. There isn’t a lot to what happens and that normally works in a movie’s favor. As I was watching this, I thought that our writer/director here was borrowing a lot from the Alfred Hitchcock classic The Birds. I wasn’t wrong there when I saw our writer/director, James Nguyen’s picture on the Internet Movie Database and that archive footage of Tippi Hedren is listed in the credits. What I will say, this is a story that is ripe for an update.
As I said earlier in this, I hate to just pick apart movies, but it is a disservice to bring up Hitchcock and The Birds. I follow the adage of ‘don’t talk about a better movie, when reviewing a lesser one’. The reason I bring that up, that is the case we are getting here. The idea of birds deciding to attack is great. There is a good message here about being better to the environment, but it is not subtle. It is too heavy handed. If they just would have had the news reports about wildfires and ice caps melting, I think most viewers will get what they’re doing. Instead, the movie force feeds us to make sure we get it.
Moving from the story, I’ll go to the acting. It’s not great. There is an amateur feel here, which I can appreciate at times. What I will say is that Bagh and Moore have good chemistry. I think the bigger issue is with the dialogue they’re working with. It comes off stiff. The performances aren’t good enough to make it their own either. It feels wooden across the board.
Then I’ll go the effects. After the movie ended, I tried looking up to see if Nguyen was trying to make a bad movie or a serious one. From everything I found, he meant for this one to be serious. If that is the case, I don’t understand how you would put the effects that we get here. I get there isn’t a big budget, but the computer effects of the birds are laughable. The practical effects are something they could have done a bit more with but didn’t. I’m not sure how they got the guns they do in the movie. I understand that Ramsey is former military. It doesn’t explain why he has the arsenal he does or why he’s wearing camouflage pants. They also never reload, until it is needed for a plot point either. These are things that could be fixed, but they either didn’t care or not sure what they’re doing.
The last thing I want to go into would be the soundtrack and the design. For the former, it is fine actually. The music used fit for what was needed. I’m not the biggest fan of the musical number from Damien Carter, but I don’t hate against it. My problem is the sound pops throughout. It feels like they didn’t know how to fix that and it annoyed me throughout the movie. I was thinking it was me watching this on my phone, but I have reasons to believe it is on any version you watch.
So then in conclusion, this movie lived up to what I had heard. There is a decent message and concept here, but the execution isn’t there. We have little things that could have made this better like practical effects, fixing sound issues and not going as cheesy for the effects. It feels weird that to my understanding, they were out to make a good movie and just didn’t care enough to actually do that. Even with my low expectations, I was annoyed through. This is a bad so I’ll stop here.
My Rating: 1.5 out of 10