BIRDEMIC : SHOCK AND TERROR

birdemic

BIRDEMIC : SHOCK AND TERROR (2010)

IMDb Rating: 2.0 / 10

Tagline: Who Will Survive?

We admit it. We’re in shock. And terrified. We have been falling for a long time through the chasm of bad film. Just when we expected to hit the ground, along came another monstrosity that redefined how bad cinema can be.

But we’ve just hit the bottom.

Hard.

And we’re badly injured.

Birdemic.

We salute you.

We despise you.

We could easily write 1000 words on the awful title alone. Perhaps when we have recovered fully, we will. In the meantime, let’s talk about the film itself.

But with Birdemic, where the hell do you start…?

BIRDEMIC

James Nguyen: Avian Auteur

Let’s start with writer, producer and director James Nguyen. A man who ripped the word ‘incompetence’ out of the dictionary, before dropping said tome, tripping over it, and falling down the cellar stairs.

When a man spends a reported $10,000, supposedly all of life savings, to pursue his dream, is he to be commended? Or ridiculed?

Of course, you don’t want to see anyone lose all their money in some quixotic project.

Until you’ve sat through Birdemic.

You don’t build your own house if you don’t know how to lay brick. Surviving a hit and run doesn’t make you a stuntman. Turning a camera on most certainly doesn’t make you a director.

As Birdemic will testify.

It’s a film that makes The Room look like A Room With A View.

It makes Haunted Boat look like The Love Boat.

We are reeling.

Birdemic is without doubt the biggest gap we have seen between ambition and competence. We’re not saying the director is mental. We’re just assuming he is.

Nguyen drove a van covered in fake birds around the Sundance film festival to drum up publicity for his movie. He handed out flyers with the film’s web address on them. He misspelt them.

Hundreds of flyers stamped BIDEMIC.COM were circulated, giving but a hint of the bad film masterpiece that lay ahead.

In the past, we have mocked poor lighting, shaky camerawork, risible acting… and much worse, but Birdemic recalibrates the meaning of ineptitude. Nguyen simply hasn’t got a clue how to physically, technically, or logically make a film. He doesn’t know how to separate pictures and sound- every edit sounds like someone coshing a kitten over the back of its fluffy head.

It’s akin to handing an abacus to an Orang-Utan and asking him to complete your tax return.

Framing and focus appear to be entirely optional. Audio is unmixed and effects unrendered. Every shot is 2 seconds too long. The actors stop talking and…wait….have they forgotten their lines…?

No, it’s the end of the scene apparently…

It’s like a glorious nightmare….

…like someone crapped out their nervous breakdown onto a DVD.

The story? Obviously there isn’t one. Just a series of things happening in a row, some of which feature the same people.

The ‘actors’? Well Whitney Moore as ‘Nathalie’ is as beautiful as she is useless.

However, Alan Bagh, as the wooden leading man ‘Rod’, looks staggeringly bewildered by everything asked of him. And everything going on around him. As though he was clubbed just before the scene began and is mildly concussed.

He can’t talk naturally. He can’t walk naturally. He can’t even LOOK naturally. His baffled gaze; like he’s walked in on his parents’ fetish party and is trying to focus intently on the ceiling.

Rod is a newly minted millionaire via ‘business’. The scene in which ‘the deal’ is ‘announced’ may be the most astonishing any one has ever seen with their eyes:

In your face Wall Street

Nathalie has just secured a contract as a Victoria’s Secret model. She and Rod date. They get it on.

Bearing in mind their combined income, for some reason, they choose to finally consummate their relationship in the kind of sticky, scummy motel you might rent by the hour. The kind where you BOTH sleep in the wet patch…made by the previous occupants. Obviously she keeps her underwear on. It’s not that kind of film.

It’s not ANY kind of film.

And then after the most extraordinary 47 minutes we’ve ever endured…

The birds arrive.

Why? Who knows? Who cares? The effects are…well…how do you describe them? Disappointing? Underwhelming? Bat-sh*t crazy?

Eagles and vultures that look like something from a Spectrum 48k game appear, hovering, spitting acid and dive bombing our heroes (complete with WWII Battle Of Britain sound FX.) These birds are SO deadly, they explode like grenades on impact with the ground.

David Attenborough would be tumescent.

It’s the pinnacle of our Bad Film journey so far.

Where do they come from? None of our business apparently. They just…do.

The film is certainly trying to be an allegory. We know this as on several occasions, the film grinds to a halt so our heroes can meet a variety of nutters who spend five minutes giving them (and us) environmental lectures that are pitched at the level of a nursery school trip. However, all of these people look like a court has decreed they should be at least 200 yards away from children at all times.

Here’s a guy talking about the importance of solar panel installation.

Here’s one talking about forest husbandry.

Here’s a man on a bridge.

‘Mummy, I’m scared…’

Despite the apparent danger of these killer birds, our heroes seem to spend their entire time outside. A woman they meet along the way is savaged to death by the birds while having a poo in a field. Oh, the humanity!

Nguyen has achieved something astonishing. It is absolutely impossible for any aspect of his film to be any worse. Remarkable.

It gives amateurishness a bad name.

After the interminable driving montages, (complete with a fuel stop, shot in real time), the bizarre performances, the madness, the illogicality, the imbecility, and gloriously, the extended visit our heroes make to a giant pumpkin festival, we find ourselves asking a fundamental question:

Is this actually a film?

Birdemic asks profound epistemological questions about the nature of art.

When the doves arrive at the end of the movie to chase away the eagles, we are too exhausted to even ask how…or why?

People often champion the democratisation of technology.

BUT THEY’RE WRONG.

LOOK WHAT HAPPENS.

BIRDEMIC HAPPENS.

As a film, it fails on every conceivable level.

As an infomercial for idiocy, it is unsurpassed.

A selection of the very best clips from the very worst film

One Comment

  1. Becky Garrett says:

    On the one hand, that scene where the birds attack felt like the longest minute of my life (I include all the minutes giving birth to my daughter). On the other hand, I think I’ve just found my husband’s surprise birthday present. We have a saying in our famil, ‘Surprise the one you love with a punch in the face’. This could take our marriage to a whole new level…

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