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BIRDEMIC: SHOCK AND TERROR – CHODIN’S REVIEW

By / 03.11.10

A bird for a bird. Well played ‘Birdemic’, well played.

*stands up, clears throat, wipes sweat from brow*

Hello everybody, my name is Chodin…and I….I’ve seen Birdemic: Shock and Terror.

Phew, now that I’ve gotten that out of the way, I think it should suffice to say that I’m an expert when it comes to watching movies about renegade birds that sh-t fireballs. That said, I’d like you all to know that there are really only two appropriate environments in which one can experience Birdemic. The first would be from a hospital bed, as you lay there helplessly with a brain hemorrhage, waiting for the good Lord to finish you off. The second reasonable setting would be inside a cramped theater, fifteen minutes past midnight, while chugging 12 ounces of “movie reviewing juice” from a Tecate Light can. I, my friends, have taken the latter.

I came, I saw and then I came again, during what quite possibly may have been the most absurd, yet enjoyable, screening of my having-been-to-so-few-screenings career. Like a movie night for the patients of Shutter Island, the screening for Birdemic: Shock and Terror was a god—mn madhouse. The entire night my eyes darted back and forth between the unruly audience and the theater ushers, just waiting for one of them to give me the go ahead nod to start cutting up the seats. I mean, f—k me running, I had no idea, NO IDEA, of the emotions that Birdemic could cattle prod from its audience. Werewolves we were, every last one of us.

For what began as an independently produced, four-year-long production, I really do kind of feel bad for dunking my figurative movie-reviewing-balls in writer/director James Nguyen’s eye sockets, but I guess that’s kind of what he did to me, so in all fairness I think we can call this round a “draw”. Birdemic comes as Nguyen’s third submission to Bob Saget film (and I am using the word “film” incredibly loosely here; think Daytona Beach stripper loosely). Inspired by his favorite director, Alfred Hitchcock, Nguyen notes both The Birds and Apocalypse Now as inspiration for his latest feature. And really folks, how could you not take notice of such cinematic influences, I mean, we are talking about an open-faced, sh-t sandwich here.

Director James Nguyen explains ‘Birdemic’ to some lady who surely queefs gravel.

By the time the house lights fade, it’s now a quarter past midnight (or as I like to call it “that time of the night when my mother and Ted stumble home”). The movie is introduced by some 30-year-old, hipster theater employee who trots his cardigan down to the front of the stage and begins a brief explanation of what we’re all about to witness. Hipster guy is very adamant that Birdemic was intended to be taken seriously and even goes as far as to say, “I’ll put it this way, he [Nguyen] edited it on a PC.” – OH NO YOU DI’INT! Sweet burn, 30-year-old in Converse sneakers, sweet burn! As he finishes his monologue, I can’t help but spend the next three minutes fantasizing that theater hipster was going to go home and give his clef-lipped girlfriend the best missionary of her life. I truly hope he did.

Anyway, so duder finishes his monologue and begins to scamper up the side of the aisle, when I flag him down with a simple hand gesture (I pantomimed holding two penises and making them touch heads) and ask, “Excuse me, what’s the format we’re about to watch? Is this a 16mm projection? DVD?” Theater hipster scoffs at me and replies, “It’s HD Blu-Ray”. Oh…right, like I’m the a–hole. For a second there I completely forgot that I was watching mother fu–ing Birdemic. Forgive me, Lord Byron.

As Birdemic begins to project on screen, it becomes immediately apparent that my review is going to be one part hate, one part rage. The opening titles contain no less than ten minutes worth of footage of someone driving around town with a camera rocking bad and forth on their dashboard. The crew titles battle each other to fit onto the screen, several even fading in to reveal that they are cut off half way through. The title for “casting by” shows up and several voices boo loudly from the back, as another viewer in the front screams, “Where are the f–king birds?!?” It’s a beautiful start to an enchanted night.

The titles end and just as this car we’ve been watching drive around for the last ten god–mn minutes gets somewhere, the screen sh-ts itself and we’re plunged into darkness. THE HIGH DEFINITION BLU-RAY COPY OF BIRDEMIC IS SO ADVANCED THAT IT’S KILLED THE PROJECTOR! Perfect, absolutely perfect. Already the screening was eight times better than The Happening. People are screaming, the same voices are now shouting, “I can’t see the f–king birds?!?” as another random exclaims, “Thank God!”.

Eventually they get the sh-t running again, and after a brief uproar of cheers and laughs, the depressing reality of the situation sets in: oh, right…now we have to actually watch Birdemic. Well sh-t.

At its core, I guess Birdemic contains a message of environmental awareness, but that’s neither here nor there, because taking note of such an insignificant detail would mean that you somehow were able to overlook the barrage of farts that just unfolded on the screen. To begin and explain the actual plot of the film is so utterly pointless, Birdemic’s own website seems to have even given up on itself:

SYNOPSIS

A platoon of eagles & vultures attack the residents of a small town. Many people died. It’s not known what caused the flying menace to attack. Two people managed to fight back, but will they survive BIRDEMIC?

Well said, professionally designed website, well said. Like an hour and a half’s worth of pornographic movie dialogue, Birdemic keeps you expecting a gang bang to unfold at any minute, until you finally realize that all of its awkwardly delivered dialogue is simply that: just awkwardly delivered. The clip below pretty much sums up every scene from the film, though heed my warning, the birds don’t actually show up for the fist 30-45 minutes of the story. Now just watch this and try to tell me you weren’t waiting for a heavy bass-slap to fade in over the soundtrack.

Just one of the many, many scenes exactly like it. Adobe After Effects, represent.

Mazeltoff! You’ve just survived over two minutes worth of Birdemic: Shock and Terror! You’re fearless! Now grab that rifle, let’s go to Iraq!

As a whole, the movie is a complete and utter calamity, but as discussed with Vince as we lounged in a hammock sipping faggy umbrella drinks this has to be the distributors selling gimmick: to encourage as many people as they can to get together and watch the horrible movie they’ve all been hearing about. My initial fear was that director James Nguyen had intentionally set out to make a “cult classic”, something that I believe critics and fans should determine. But I can assure you, just as hipster theater guy assured me, there is a small remnant of some kind of conscious production effort here that unexplainably does grant some level of justification to its viewers.

Alone in your apartment, you’d be just another guy with 14 cats watching Birdemic: Shock and Terror, but in a social setting, the experience is hard not to enjoy. Whatever the f–k it is that Nguyen set out to accomplish with his film, I have no idea, but just like the title suggests, Birdemic keeps you captivated using two key terrorist tactics: waterboarding shock and terror.

Final grade: D+ but only because you cheated off of that kid in the wheelchair.

-Chodin


TAGSBALLSBirdemicCHODINDEPRESSIONJAMES NGUYENreviews

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