BIRDEMIC: SHOCK AND TERROR
- Written and directed by James Nguyen
- Starring Alan Bagh and Whitney Moore
- Classification: NA
Alfred Hitchcock's The Birds: Good movie. James Nguyen's Birdemic: Bad movie. The former, an influential classic from one of cinema's great artists, still has the power to terrify and delight, with Freudian subtext pecking away as the murderous fowl terrorize Tippi Hedren. The latter, with its poorly rendered CGI eagles and vultures "swooping" down like a flock of benign desktop icons on automaton-like actors, is simply foul.
But that does not necessarily mean you should run away from Birdemic as fast as you can with your arms over your head. The flick has, in fact, been gathering cult cred south of the border.
We all know a movie can be so bad it's good - in a perversely entertaining sort of way. And we have our favourites. Some prefer the grand malfunction of big-budget baddies like Battlefield Earth and Showgirls. Others prefer the earnest charm of ultra-low budget stinkers like Troll 2, the subject of Best Worst Movie, a fun 2009 doc that reveals how copies (and copies of copies) were passed around enough that Troll 2 achieved a minor cult status.
Birdemic, which horror webzine Bloody Disgusting called the "best worst film you'll see in 2010," was made for $10,000 by a filmmaker who did not let a Sundance festival rejection stop him from driving up to Park City to hawk his creation. The horror zine crowd took a shine to this doo-doo in the rough, and it's now on the circuit until the distributor (yes, it actually got picked up) hatches a special edition DVD.
But when it comes to bad movies, it's best not to suffer alone. Communal viewing is essential to bad movie appreciation. Without it, a bad movie is just boring. Birdemic has the bonus of tons of gaps in the sound mix, allowing ample room for witty audience comments.
As for the plot? Well, it doesn't really have one. During the first painfully drawn out 45 minutes, boy meets girl. There is lots of car driving, getting in and out of cars and inane dialogue. Then, just when you thought you were watching the wrong movie, the badly rendered CGI birds appear outside the couple's motel room during a trip to a California coastal town. The rest of the movie is another long drive in a van with a couple they just met. They sometimes shoot birds with plastic guns. They rescue two children. They meet two "wise" men who pontificate about global warming, etc.
Birds of a feather will flock to Birdemic: Shock and Terror. You know by now if you are one of them. Otherwise, move along, folks, nothing to see here.
Birdemic opens in Toronto on Friday. It opened in Ottawa on May 28; other Canadian cities will follow.
Special to The Globe and Mail