Wednesday, April 21, 2010


Bird-brained thriller sets a new standard for zero-budget hilarity

Posted By on Wed, Apr 21, 2010 at 12:00 AM

Make no mistake; this is a crap masterpiece on par with such classics of the genre as Plan 9 from Outer Space, and the current hipster cult fave The Room. Just like '50s horror huckster William Castle used to challenge weak-willed viewers to sit through his latest schlock epic, I triple-dog-dare you to endure the Birdemic, which is perhaps the most inept, stultifying, brain-numbing twaddle ever perpetrated on innocent moviegoers. No, really, it's that bad. For minute after agonizing minute, we watch cardboard bland, dim-witted salesman Rod timidly court a relentlessly chipper and hopelessly vapid would-be model named Nathalie. Their sorry little romance is so dreadfully dull, drama-free and poorly acted I began praying for a flock of savage raptors to descend from the sky and rip their faces off. Amazingly, the bad movie gods honored my wishes, and while the ensuing orgy of avian carnage was really no less idiotic than anything that came before, it was about a thousand times more satisfyingly awesome.

In its own plucky clueless way, Birdemic soars above the rabble into the terrible movie heavens. The first half is loaded with endless slow pans across sleepy northern California locales, and extended scenes of the hero driving around in his blue Mustang. The lead is incredibly bad; it's as if acting, the English language and human emotions are brand-new concepts to him. The sound routinely drops out between shots, and every single footstep foley effect sounds like a coconut being smashed into a bowl of Fruity Pebbles. Then the birds show up and things get real stupid. You see, the birds are pissed at us for ruining their habitats through global warming, which we learn from a professor who only shows up for a bit of exposition, never to be seen again. There's no explanation why the heroes try to defend themselves with coat hangers, and then handguns that fire seemingly unlimited ammo, or why the birdies occasionally spit acid or explode.

A Sundance reject, this flick has become a cult breakout mostly because of its amazing trailer, and the Internet's bottomless desire to be smugly sarcastic. Making fun of a hopeless nincompoop like first-time director James Ngyuen seems a bit like kicking a puppy, until you consider the unintended consequences of crowds flocking to and laughing their asses off through his dread opus. We'll only encourage him to do it again. And he's loving it.

Opens Friday, April 23 at the Burton Theatre (3420 Cass Ave., Detroit; 313-473-9238; along with Warsaw Bridge.

Corey Hall writes about film for Metro Times. Send comments to


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