Director – James Nguyen
Cast – Alan Bagh, Whitney Moore, Tippi Hedren, Rick Camp, Patsy van Ettinger, Colton Osborne
Release Year – 2010
Reviewed by John of the Dead
When I first heard of Birdemic: Shock and Terror last year I thought “Hey, a cheezy no-brainer film about killer eagles? Sounds sweet to me.” and admit I was really looking forward to this film. Then when the very positive reviews hit the major horror websites my interest in this film reached supreme levels and I went into this very low-budget effort with expectations of enjoyment, and boy was that a big mistake. I had never seen a trailer for this film and basically went in blind, but from the get-go I knew I had made a grave mistake in buying into the hype created by other reviewers who seem to have gone mad in thinking this is anything more than a poor effort that may just be the biggest joke on the horror genre this millennium.
When a small town falls under siege by an army of vicious eagles it is up to the remaining survivors to seek the reasoning behind the avian onslaught if they wish to survive this hellish platoon of angry birds.
This reminds me a lot of Paranormal Activity before it first hit theaters. The hype was huge – we were going to view a flick filmed on such a miniscule budget it should never see a wide theater release, nor should it be scary. Paranormal Activity lived up to the hype, whether you personally enjoyed it or not, but that is far from the case with Birdemic: Shock and Terror. I applaud writer/director James Nguyen for creating positive hype in this $10,000 flick that somehow surprisingly took him four years to complete, but my applause stops there since I usually do not enjoy being the center of a joke. Simply put: if you defend this piece as a legitimate entry into the horror genre, if you “read” into this experience as more than it really is…the joke is on you. Keep laughing Nguyen.
As far as story goes this really isn’t a bad film overall. I enjoy killer-creature experiences in horror, and killer eagles is something that I do not recall seeing in the past, so there is a creative element involved in Birdemic: Shock and Terror. Nguyen stated that he felt compelled to make this film after watching Alfred Hitchcock’s The Birds and Al Gore’s An Inconvenient Truth, which makes a lot of sense given this flick gives us killer birds and a strong pro-environment element. There are numerous instances where Nguyen throwns in pro-environment propaganda of all sorts, which I would not have minded at all had it not been so prevalent. When I go into a horror film I expect to see horror over anything else, and the level of propaganda in this film was just too much to enjoy for me. Humanoids From the Deep had a pro-environment element, but it never took over the film and stayed below the horror as it should have, and it lead to one of the best films of 1980. Nguyen’s pacing sucks as well, giving us 45 minutes of mushy love story before the horror finally kicks in, which comes and goes way too often and results in annoyance.
While the story has its faults, nothing beats how bad Nguyen’s direction is. You know those really bad Sci-fy films with horrible digital effects that you laugh at? Well Birdemic: Shock and Terror is worse than those films. From the get-go I learned that Nguyen’s direction was going to be an utter failure when I was exposed to horrendously bad acting, poor camerawork, horrible audio, and things only became worse when the pissed off birds finally arrived. The CGI for the birds is probably the worst that I have ever seen, and even at that I don’t believe I can explain to you just how bad it really is, you just need to watch it yourself. Some of the most frequent comments I saw regarding this flick were that it was so funny it was deserving of a high rating, but in my opinion this falls from from the “so bad it’s good” type horror film proponents and playing it out to be. I guess if you were with a group of friends pounding lots of alcohol then you may find this film pretty damn enjoyable, as a joke, but if you need to inebriate yourself to enjoy a film then once again…the joke is on you.
Overall, Birdemic: Shock and Terror is a film I expected to like due to its crazy storyline and obvious cheese, but the end-result was one that was so bad I am left to question all those who gave this film such high ratings. When I say bad, I mean REALLY bad, and I highly suggest you not fall victim to the hype and bullshit reviews and stay away from this one.