I’ve been mining the the depths of crap that make up Netflix Instant for the most enjoyable caca around for a couple of months now and I think I’ve reached the singularity of badness: Birdemic: Shock and Terror. Unlike some of my other entries that are just under appreciated or good natured fun, this is a truly awful movie. On the surface it seems like it’s just a crappy take on Alfred Hitchcock’s The Birds in that both films involve our feathered friends turning on us and taking over. Only the actual ‘birdemic’ doesn’t happen until almost an hour into the movie and then only intermittently becomes important. Every time the terribly rendered CGI birds show up to flap awkwardly over the “actors” you sort of think, “Oh yeah, this movie is about birds attacking humans. I just thought it was a bunch of people driving around aimlessly.” However, if you like truly bad movies that have zero production value then Birdemic: Shock and Terror is for you.
The writer/director James Nguyen was a software salesman working in northern California before he decided to become a filmmaker. This becomes apparent when we meet the main character Rod…who is a software salesman working in Northern California. He talks about the software business a lot in the movie. In fact, there might be more screen time spent on the ins and outs of the software game then on the whole birds suddenly attacking people thing. That and lots and lots of real time driving and parking scenes. Anyway, Rod begins dating a model who delivers her lines as if she just stepped out of the OR after a lobotomy. AN HOUR into the movie, the birds finally attack. They are mostly eagles and buzzards rendered in CGI so bad that it looks like it was rendered by a 12 year old on an early computer modeling program running on Windows 95. The birds start attacking people, tearing out their throats and scratching them with their talons. I guess. It is all so badly done that I can only infer what these birds are doing. Rod and dumb girl escape along with some random people they meet and they find out from a weird hippie and a random professor that the birds, (who can explode on impact with things somehow), are targeting gas stations and power plants because the whole thing has something to do vaguely with global warming. Then, one day, the birds just fly away and stop attacking. What? Yes.
I just explained the plot to you as I understood it. Does that make sense to you? No? Well, believe me when I say that my explanation is more coherent than the one on the screen. But even that isn’t the worst thing about this movie. Nor is it the fact that the audio is constantly going in and out. It isn’t even the effects that make most sci-fi parody pornos look like Avatar. It’s the acting. Forget delivering their lines, the actors look weird even walking down a sidewalk or drinking a glass of water. Every second is more awkward than a junior high dance at a nudist colony. It would be easy to dismiss this movie’s badness by saying that it is ‘supposed to be bad’. I’m not so sure. In fact, I’m pretty certain that Nguyen was trying to make a quality sci-fi/horror/romance. He failed in the sense that it is a terrible movie but on the other hand he finished it, got it distributed, and a sequel is premiering this month at The Tromadance Film Festival. There is also a fantastic version done by Rifftrax, which are a few guys from Mystery Science Theater 3000. In a way, guys like Nguyen are the only true indie filmmakers left. Is that a good thing? I don’t know. What I do know is that this is a fun movie to watch with friends and copious amounts of alcohol.