105 min., 2010
Written by James Nguyen
Directed by James Nguyen
My rating: ★
Not even the bird flu was this bad…
* * *
I have seen quite a few bad movies in my day, ranging from the stupid to the mind-numbingly boring to the just plain dreadful. Birdemic: Shock and Terror, however, is…different. I’d like to quote Amazon reviewer Brian Straight, who put it quite eloquently:
“It is difficult if not impossible to rate a movie like this. On a pure movie-making standpoint this movie achieves negative stars, so many negative stars. It has to. Otherwise giving it even one star would create a wickedly skewed curve in all of movie-creation that makes the worst of the very worst movies you have ever seen Five-Star movies. Yes. This movie is so terrible that it makes EVERY MOVIE EVER MADE a five-star movie. The Room, through Plan Nine, up to Inception on through Citizen Cane [sic] and Casablanca. Every. One. Of them. Now five-star movies.”
This is without a doubt the worst movie I have ever seen. It is where talent, competency, and filmic integrity go to die. Nothing good came from watching this film, except for the unintentional laughter that filled the room as I witnessed the orgy of incompetency occurring before my very eyes.
The acting, particularly from lead Alan Bagh, is about as shit as it gets. I can act better than him. My 4 year-old cousin can act better than him. The Mustang he drove around in gave a more convincing performance than he did. He is Tommy Wiseau bad, I am not exaggerating at all. Not that anyone else in the movie does much better, but I wouldn’t be surprised if Bagh took one look the script, shat himself with laughter, and decided to give a performance worthy of the screenplay he just read.
And oh, sweet merciful Jesus, that screenplay. Not even on my worst day as a writer could I conjure up something as dreadful as the dialogue found in this movie. I could huff a bag of paint thinner and get fucked on Wild Turkey to the point where I’m pissing my pants, and the incoherent bullshit I’d type up on Final Draft in a puddle of my own vomit would be Pulp Fiction compared to the garbage that James Nguyen wrote. I sat speechless as I marveled at what these actors were saying and how terribly they were saying it.
Additionally, the overall skewed story structure is something that even elementary students learn to avoid in basic writing comp classes. This is a movie about killer eagles, but they do not show up until 45 minutes into the film with no earlier mention of them at all. All we see is our “hero” Rod (Bagh) driving for an endless amount of time, going out on a date with a girl named Nathalie (Whitney Moore), Nathalie talking to her mom, an office meeting with the longest and worst edited clapping scene I’ve ever witnessed, an awkward sex scene set to an instrumental of John Lennon’s “Imagine”, and a dance sequence in a bar with green screen effects reminiscent of 1995 public access. It’s not until we see Bagh bang his girlfriend in a hotel that all of a sudden HOLY SHIT IT’S A BIRDEMIC!!!
The theme of the movie is ham-fisted worse than any other environmentally motivated film you can think of. Nguyen had the sheer audacity to not only write the worst script ever, but to also pad it terribly with an environmental message to the point of plugging An Inconvenient Truth, making the eagles (we’ll get to them in a second) crash into gas stations and attack people in cars (although they break that rule by attacking Rod and Nathalie in their hotel), writing that Rod owns a Mustang hybrid that gets 100 fucking miles to the gallon, and having him buy a solar panel and give a work presentation about solar panels despite the fact that I’m pretty sure that’s not even in his job description.
And then there are the birds. Name any B-movie you’ve ever seen, and I can almost guarantee its special effects are Industrial Lights and Magic-worthy compared to this movie’s bird effects. We’re dealing with animators who either purposely set out to create the most obnoxious effects in any movie ever, or assholes who got super baked the night before the final cut was due and just quickly slapped bird GIFs, obvious fake explosions and terrible flash-bang effects onto the footage. If realism was the goal…I don’t want to say they failed, because that would have required some type of actual effort. They negatively achieved. That’s the closest I can go to describing this movie’s effects.
Finally, we are also treated to positively wretched editing and sound mixing. The opening credits show Rod driving his super-environmentally aware Mustang aimlessly for a good 5 minutes while we are treated to music and credits that I’m 95% sure Nguyen got from iMovie. It’s positively embarrassing. That clapping scene in the office I mentioned earlier not only drags on for way too long, but you can also hear the clapping stop and start again, as if Nguyen didn’t know to just film it in one take or properly mix together two separate tracks. There’s also a scene at the beginning where Rod orders food at a restaurant and if you blindfolded me, I would have guessed that the waitress was speaking from the bottom of the fucking ocean. I have very minimal experience making short videos with iMovie, and I’m pretty sure I could deliver sound mixing that sounds positively orgasmic in comparison to this.
So, given what I’ve just said, is Birdemic: Shock and Terror worth seeing? Absolutely! I can honestly say that I’ve never experienced anything like it in my entire life. In fact, it’s a whole textbook of what NOT to do when making a movie. So actors, screenwriters, directors, and production staff everywhere: watch it and take notes. You’ll learn a lot and you’ll laugh your asses off at the same time.Have You Read...?