Schlocktoberfest II – Day 8: Birdemic

Birdemic: Shock and Terror (2010)

Trailer (this is seriously the trailer, it’s not a joke trailer somebody made to parody the movie):

*Spoilers Throughout*

What’s It About: By now you may have heard of the legend of this picture. Vietnamese-born director James Nguyen has extremely little experience in filmmaking and zero formal training. So things like plot, dialogue, setting up shots, directing actors, pacing, editing, sound, lighting, special effects, and any other essential element of the filmmaking process are essentially left to chance. In spite of this, Nguyen liked Alfred Hitchcock’s The Birds a lot, so he decided to pay homage by making Hitchcock spin in his grave so fast that his body has drilled its way around the crust of the Earth 17 times since filming on Birdemic was completed. The results are not only awful, but mesmerizing. If you’re brave enough, come under my wing and let’s take a look…

The opening scene is on par with Manos the Hands of Fate. Lonnnnng driving sequence. The camera sort of follows a blue Mustang that’s literally going about 15 mph. After driving across 7 different states, our “hero,” Rod (named after Rod Taylor of The Birds, with all apologies) finally arrives at a diner, where he stares at an attractive girl for about 3 hours in a tour de force of editing cuts. I’ve honestly never seen anything like it, and we’ve only just begun.

This picture represents roughly how fast the car was moving.

This movie is to editing what Jason Voorhees is to intelligent conversation. It’s literally almost enough to make me puke. Maybe it’s because I’m really susceptible to sea sickness. Maybe the most horrifically edited scene in the movie is when Rod follows the girl he was staring at, Nathalie, outside and they talk back and forth in 2-second cuts that have completely different sound for each side of the conversation.  If you’re on the brink of insanity this scene may pick you up in its talons and drop you off the cliff of despair.

The first half of the movie really has nothing to do with bird attacks at all. There are a few very quick scenes of terribly shot newscasts that mention birds a little bit, but the first half is all A) a budding-romance story and B) a global warming PSA. It fails miserably on both fronts.

A match made in Satan’s editing bay.

The first half is almost impossible to recap. There’s a lot of slow driving. Rod is a software salesman, and he’s just closed a big deal on a million dollars worth of software. He must work for MS Paint, which was used for the special effects for this movie. Nathalie is a model. She’s incredibly hot and would be miles out of Rod’s league if he wasn’t such a successful MS Paint salesman. She mentions getting a Victoria’s Secret shoot but that’s neither here nor there.

The dates that these two go on are ridiculous, to say the least. They would be awful and boring even if Alfred Hitchcock was directing them, but in the hands of James Nguyen they’re like going on a date with Charles Manson if he didn’t bathe and was throwing dead birds at you the whole time and you were sitting on a chair made of sharpened beaks. For instance, they go to a Vietnamese restaurant and there’s a pan of a Vietnamese mural on the wall that feels like it lasts 20 minutes. They talk about nothing to do with anything, like you’re chaperoning a blind date between the two people you dislike the most at your office. The sound and acting are so bad I thought Rod was calling her “Kelly” instead of “Nathalie.” I don’t think any shot lasts longer than 3 seconds.

In between dates, we finally get to see some birds… flying in extreme slow motion. So in the first 45 minutes of the movie, you see three pleasant birds.

I have to mention the part where Rod and Nathalie go to a “dance club” that’s just a green-screen background. I guess Nguyen couldn’t get permission to film in an actual club. Or maybe he tried to film in an actual club but found that he couldn’t possibly use any of the sound.

Suddenly, there’s a scene where Rod’s friend from work has sex with Vietnamese ladyboy. There’s a very prominent sign in what I guess is this guy’s bedroom or the ladyboy’s massage parlor that reads “IMAGINE PEACE http://www.imaginepeace.com.” Seems a little odd, so I visited that site and was amazed to see that it is Yoko Ono’s website. Birdemic may be the worst thing to ever happen to film, and Yoko Ono may be the worst thing that has ever happened to music, so I suppose I see the correlation.

Imagine you can unsee this. YOU CAN’T.

The next scene is just astonishing. At Rod’s office, the boss announces that Oracle has bought their crappy software company for a billion dollars, and every employee is overjoyed. Everyone in the conference room applauds… and applauds… and applauds… and applauds some more. I think this scene was edited by a wolf with post-traumatic stress disorder. I really can’t do justice to it in words, you have to witness it for yourself:

After the celebration dies down 3 days later, I suppose Rod’s retired. For no real reason, some guy comes over to install solar panels at his house. This turns the dim lightbulb on over Rod’s head and he finds a naive company that thinks solar panels are a revolutionary product and they invest $10 million in Rod’s new solar panel startup. There’s no reason for any of this to be onscreen at all, except for the director to say, “Hey, you know what’s good for the environment? Solar panels.” The environmental message in this is so hamfisted it makes pigs die of dysentery. Rod and Nathalie and Rod’s friend and the ladyboy actually go on a date to see An Inconvenient Truth. That’s exactly the date movie you want to see with a Victoria’s Secret model. It should really make her panties hotter than the greenhouse effect.

After a 19-hour date at a pumpkin festival, Rod and Nathalie wind up at the beach, the same exact location that will be used for 70% of the second half of the movie. A quick word of advice to potential film directors: Do not shoot at the beach if you don’t have the proper technical equipment. James Nguyen didn’t, and the results are catastrophic. Anyway, Rod and Nathalie come across a dead bird on the beach, and Rod tells Natalie not to touch it because “it may be vicious.” I think James Nguyen’s bird knowledge comes from Daffy Duck cartoons.

Finally, in our last date scene of the film, Rod and Nathalie dance all by themselves in a bar to a guy singing solo, who is obviously a friend of the director who wanted to get his music in the movie. He’s like Marvin Gaye if Marvin Gaye were still singing today, and he’s been dead for 28 years.

Apparently this terrible serenade finally breaks Nathalie’s sexual dam, as she and Rod go off to make it with each other. The odd thing is, it seems like they go to a cheap motel to have sex, even though they both have their own homes. I guess it’s not really worth thinking about. Let’s just be glad that Rod and Nathalie have consummated their relationship so we can finally kick off the killer bird half of this movie.

As we fade out of Rod and Nathalie making it with each other, there’s a 92-minute “calm before the storm” pan. All of a sudden the birds attack the town for no real reason. Some of them are kamikazes and explode when they dive into buildings like they’d eaten dynamite. It’s a lot like Angry Birds with much worse graphics.

That’s what this town gets for allowing all of those green pigs to live here illegally.

There are crazed eagles outside of Rod and Nathalie’s motel room. “Oh well, guess we’ll just have to stay inside and have sex all day until they go away,” Rod should have said but doesn’t. Instead, they go into the motel room of a completely random couple and they all take coat hangers to defend themselves, because that’s what crazed eagles fear the most.

Peeping Tom, a hawk.

There’s a lot of swooping in faces, and the birds just kind of hover there while they wave the coat hangers around. This is another scene where words can’t possibly do it justice:

There was better CGI in Birth of a Nation.

Suddenly, somehow they have automatic weapons. I guess Random Guy is in the military? Does it matter?

How about going to someplace with a basement? Problem solved.

They pick up two kids whose mom was killed by birds. The kids cease to give a crap about their mom’s death or the bird attack 2 minutes later. Also, the girl from the random couple completely disappears for a while. Oh well. During this time they go into a convenience store to pick up a case of water and some Kit Kats. They find another Vietnamese guy with his eyes pecked out, but they don’t think too much of it.

In a bizarre coincidence, there was an epidemic of people doing this very thing to themselves right after Birdemic came out on DVD.

Then, they have a lovely picnic. At the beach. Outside. Where birds tend to be. Just……. forget it.

They meet some random old man. He explains “blah blah global warming birds.” “Why can’t we just give peace a chance?” he asks. I hope you die worst of all, sir.

During the outdoor picnic where the birds are, a bird surprisingly kills that random girl who disappeared before. I’ll miss her. The kids kind of disappear during this scene too, then they come back to be bored in the van some more.

As they’re driving along with the windows down, they come across a giant bus with people trapped inside. Random Guy goes in to rescue them while Rod covers him, but on the way out the birds take a giant piss or something on Random Guy and the rescued people. It kills them, somehow for some reason.

Double the decker? Double the woodpeckers!

And then… MORE. DRIVING. They stop for gas and the gas station attendant shakes Rod down for $100 a gallon, which I believe is a pretty small markup in California.

They keep stopping to help people and won’t get where they’re going. But they don’t know where they’re going. A cowboy tries to rob them for their gas can but an eagle cuts his throat. They take off and leave the gas can because they legally shouldn’t be out without a guardian. Then they stop at a creek to get water, even though they took an entire case of bottled water 20 minutes ago. In the woods (where no birds could possibly be) they run into a creepy hippie who bullshits more about global warming. WE GET IT.

“If I don’t stay here, who else will make sweet love to the Redwoods?”

After the forest catches fire somehow they get back in the van, and both I and they still have no idea where they’re going. Eventually, they find Rod’s friend and the ladyboy dead in their car. How did they know they were there? But they’re still going to drive with the windows down.

Imagine staying inside during a Birdemic. It’s easy if you try.

Next they go… TO THE BEACH! There’s an 8 hour scene of them going fishing. Outside. Apparently there’s no food left in the world. To the shock of all, the birds come. They run to the van while the birds dive bomb it… and then the birds just sort of leave. I guess they got over it. (By the way, wouldn’t birds be the species least susceptible to global warming since they can fly wherever they want?)

We’re ALL pretty disinterested.

Rod, Nathalie and the kids stand on the beach and stare at the birds flying away for what seems like 17 days. The end. I guess global warming is officially over.

“Waaaaiiiit! We can stay outside longer, we promise!”

Is It Actually Scary: The only thing you should be scared of is the next edit.

Scariest Moment: When you realize that global warming is INVISIBLE and could strike AT ANY TIME!

How Much Gore: I guess there’s a fairly decent amount, some eyes pecked out and there’s a lot of talon slashes.

Dumbest Moment: Wow, picking the dumbest moment is like picking the prettiest bird in the movie, especially since they’re all the same bird. I suppose it would have to be having multiple picnics at the f-ing beach during a killer bird attack. It’s like having a candlelit dinner at a cemetery during a zombie apocalypse.

Any Nudity: The only thing laid bare here is the soul of Mother Earth. But there’s Nathalie in her bra and panties, which is the only visually pleasing thing in the whole movie. But of course, that’s offset by the ladyboy in a bikini.

Because you guys have earned this.

Overall: Astoundingly bad. HOWEVER, as inept of a filmmaker James Nguyen is, it’s incredible that his $60,000 waste of video has garnered so much attention for being so awful. Much like The Room, it encapsulates the dual magic of a truly horrible movie with a director who actually had good intentions. Your brain can’t fathom that someone could make this movie without deliberately intending it to be as awful as possible, but that’s really the case here. That being said, I don’t think Nguyen actually saw The Birds. I think a bird bit his wiener off and he dreamed this up in a coma, which he never fully came out of.

Score: 0 coat hangers (out of 10). But I’ll also give it an 8 for bewildering entertainment value.

15 thoughts on “Schlocktoberfest II – Day 8: Birdemic

  1. Here’s a good question, will the sequel be even worse and not live up to the original or will it be even worse and tarnish the original’s reputation? Is it even possible to be worse?

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    • Hopefully the guy will try his hardest again and not make something intentionally schlocky. The only way it could be worse is if the soundtrack is all Phil Collins music.

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  2. I am so excited to see this movie and it’s in my queue but I haven’t had time to watch. I think I need an entirely free day so afterwards I can do something nice for myself for having watched it. 😉

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