Title: Birdemic: Shock and Terror
Genre: Action, Horror
Starring: Alan Bagh, Whitney Moore
Director: James Nguyen
There are many people who would call themselves a fan of 'bad films,' and what they usually mean is a fan of films so bad they're amusing. Going into this film on the other hand, you don't need to prepare yourself for some chuckles as much as you do some fairly hefty masochism, as Birdemic tells two different stories. Sure, there's the core story of a budding young romance which turns into a nightmare when acid-pissing eagles begin to explode in their neighbourhood, attacking everyone for no apparent reason, but look beyond that and you'll something more. For in this day and age, anyone with the willpower and a little bit of money can make themselves a film, whether they should or not. I don't have a clue how to work many of the more detailed technical details; how to write computer graphics, construct mechanical props and effects, effectively work lighting or have any experience with sound control, but these little details don't stop everyone, as this director proves.
From a technical perspective, the flick looks like it was made in the 90s (it was actually released in 2010), except even in the 90s they knew how to do things like camera angles that don't bore the shit off you, maintaining a constant background noise rather than intermittently cutting in out and out of the sound of traffic and the like, or use special effects that – ironically – look about as good as it gets for a computer game back then. I will happily go on the record and say that these are probably the worst effects I have ever seen in a film, through all the no-budget trash make-up work, chicken suits and magical bullets, this one really takes the prize home with them. Apparently when asked why the eagles exploded, or why our heroes magically found themselves with machine guns, the director would just respond “cos its a movie!” In fact it's so awful, when the eagles doing the damage realise how shitty they look, they bugger off in shame and leave our heroes to survive. That's how bad they are.
The acting is stiff and wooden, and despite not being helped by the awkward pauses whilst the director switches camera angles, it also isn't helped that there is less talent on display than a secondary school drama class. When you could say with complete sincerity that you could probably do a better job than the lead actor, you know there's a serious problem. The dialogue fares little better with it at times coming across as a beginners foreign language, when you're first learning how to say things like your name, job and hobbies, which seeing as the director/writer is Vietnamese, and apparently vehemently against tampering with his script, might actually be the case! Even at its best it's so mind numbingly bad that it'll have you rolling your eyes at the screen, though on the plus side at least you aren't missing much visually in doing so.
The pacing and plot is drearily slow; what feels like an extensive opening scene of a man driving yields the title credits, looking slapped on using the free editor on a windows 95 with a plain white Time New Roman font, and we spend the first half of the film getting to know our two characters like a bad dating video. Except at least with a dating video they cut to the chase, rather than try to interest us in pointless and irrelevant scenes of you eating and working your boring ass job. Even when the action finally kicks in around the half way mark, he still finds the time to deliver extensive monologues about the hazards of global warming and the horrors of Iraq, delivered in such an obvious and poor way that I'd be far more inclined to start burning CO2 canisters on his doorstep just to see his reaction than make any positive change. The question that burned in the back of my mind going in was simple: is this the worst film ever made, and the answer is no; there is the occasional chuckle to be had amidst this hour and a half of torment, we are given a gorgeous female lead to look at, and it could serve as a useful instructional tool for film-makers wanting to know precisely how not not to make a film, ultimately giving it multiple uses. It may not be the worst, but that ain't through lack of trying.