For the first time in my life, I’m speechless. How the heck do you even begin to sum up the utter insanity that is Birdemic: Shock and Terror? I thought I was prepared for this. I’ve seen The Room like five times, for goodness’ sake. But this is something altogether different.
Just to give you some idea of what you’ll be reading about, it usually takes me 3 – 4 hours to prepare to write one of my posts about a bad movie. That’s when I watch the film and stop to make notes and take screenshots. I usually end up with 4 – 6 pages of points I want to hit. Birdemic took me six hours and I have 12 pages of notes. All of this despite the fact that at least 20 minutes of this 91 minute movie is awkward pauses and slow pans over pointless objects.
So what exactly is this film?
It’s a fucking trainwreck is what it is.
Birdemic is somehow the third film directed by James Nguyen, who was also the director, producer, and sole financer. If this reminds you of another independent filmmaker famous for awful movies, let me stop you right there.
Tommy Wiseau is mega-Spielburg compared to James Nguyen.
The Room may have had dialogue reminiscent of a quadriplegic dog flopping his head against a keyboard, but you could at least hear the damn thing. It was also (relatively) competently shot and had actors who didn’t appear to be lobotomized (sans Wiseau himself). Some people say that The Room fails in every conceivable way, but those people have never seen Birdemic. Unlike every other movie I have ever seen, nothing was done right with this picture.
So the plot of this beast is that Rod is a software salesman who falls in love with Nathalie, who’s a model. Their burgeoning relationship is put to the test when birds all around California turn into GIFs and start throwing acid on people. As Rod and Nathalie struggle to survive this apocalypse a ton of random shit happens.
I don’t know what else to say; let’s just dive into this. As always, I want to remind my readers that I really strive for accuracy in these bad movie reviews. Everything in quotes was actually said, and when I say that Nguyen pans over a mural for 23 fucking seconds I rewound the film to make sure I kept time correctly.
You better believe we’ll get back to this piece of shit mural.
Let’s do this.
MY RECAP / REVIEW OF BIRDEMIC
So the movie begins with our main character Rod driving. We’re treated to this music as nothing happens for a full minute.
Just keep playing this the whole time you read this post to get a taste of what I went through.
“But wait,” you unaware masses are certainly protesting. “Surely you don’t mean nothing happens, Ryan. The credits must be rolling.” No, you’re wrong and stupid. Let me walk you through this.
For 56 seconds Rod drives his car with only the music going. The melody then cuts out and we’re treated to 9 seconds of nothing but the noise of Rod’s car rolling down the street. Only then, after 1 minute and 5 seconds of watching a man drive aimlessly down a back road, do we see this.
Rod then drives around for more than two and a half minutes with the credits going and that music on an endless loop. Nearly four minutes into the film, Rod eventually steps out of his car and the result is pathetic.
I didn’t think it possible, but I realized he was a bad actor before he even opened his mouth.
I have never seen anyone walk so awkwardly in my life. His arms barely move, his gaze is locked absolutely straight on some unseen object, and just look at that collar.
It cannot be stressed enough how bad of an actor Alan Bagh is. I didn’t think it humanly possible to fail this badly at being human. In addition to casting a pod person as his lead, James Nguyen also apparently duct-taped microphones to Rod’s feet, because the only thing you hear is loud crunching of gravel as he robotically strolls down the sidewalk.
“Wow Ryan,” you lucky souls basking in ignorance surely proclaim, “you’re being really harsh here. Things must get better in the next scene.” No they most certainly do not.
So Rod enters a restaurant and this is the result.
How do you even begin to analyze that? There’s the awful sound cuts, the awful visual cuts, the wooden acting, the atrocious dialogue, and a ridiculous Russian accent. All in 14 seconds! I’d like to say we’re moving on, but that just means we’re skipping to the next major issue which takes place about 3 seconds later.
Rod notices a hot girl eating by herself. Instead of just taking a casual peek at her now and again like a gentleman does, he leers at her for 25 seconds.
Subtlety is neither Rod’s nor Birdemic‘s strong suit.
This girl leaves the restaurant, Rod leers some more, and then he decides to just chase after her. Except that chase is the wrong word, because he ends up shuffling after her with a psychotic stare.
Learn to walk!
The rest of this scene is horrendous. Rod catches up to the woman, named Nathalie, and tries to hit on her, except the actor flubs his lines. Nathalie then walks away, we get 9 more seconds of Rod leering after her, and then he chases her down yet again. Instead of calling the cops like a normal person she gives him her number.
Up next is Rod at home watching the news which only ever deals with environmental issues. It turns out that birds and polar bears are dying because of global warming.
“Many are dying because of the difficulty of finding enough food, such as seals.”
I’m so glad MNN’s chief reporter decided to get that specific with polar bears’ diets. I get the feeling that Rod was supposed to be upset about this piece, but fun fact: Alan Bagh is incapable of showing emotion.
Because we haven’t gotten our driving fix yet, we get another two solid minutes of Rod heading to work. This may seem like an utterly mundane task, but if you closed your eyes and listened to the music playing you’d think Rod was punching cancer and using its remains to desecrate Hitler’s corpse.
I’m not great at similes.
The only thing of note that happens during this drive is Rod passing by a sign showing ludicrously high gas prices.
This might pass as a subtle hint at an environmental message if the camera didn’t accidentally pass the sign, jerk back, and then stay fixed on it for four seconds.
Up until now most of Birdemic‘s problems have been with sound mixing, editing, acting, and cinematography. You know, really minor stuff. But once Rod gets inside his office we get the first taste of how truly awful of a writer James Nguyen is.
“What does it take to win your business today? Mm-hmm, mm-hmm. I’ll give you that and a 50% discount. Can we close the deal today…great, we appreciate your business. Woo-hoo!”
Why in all that is right with this world would you offer someone a 50% discount on top of what they asked for. They were the ones asking for something. All you had to do was give them that! That’s not even business sense, that’s fucking regular sense.
What makes this worse is when Rod reveals this sale was for a million dollars. Which means he just lost his company half a million dollars.
Now we switch gears to Nathalie, who is going for her fashion shoot at…oh jeez.
I’ve seen a lot of other reviewers note how ridiculous it is that the fashion shoot is at a 1 Hour Photo, but no one seems to mention how it’s also apparently a convenience store.
Nathalie’s outfits start out normal enough but takes a possibly racist turn?
Why would I say that? That doesn’t have to be racist.
Nope, that’s racist.
We’re then treated to a sixteen second long pan down a wall to a “Dream Models” secretary. This woman calls up Nathalie to let her know that Victoria’s Secret wants her to be their cover girl model!
OMG you guys!
We switch views back to Rod who calls Nathalie up and once again horribly flubs his lines. The awful acting and sound mixing would be bad enough, but this where the film starts up its trend of having cringe-inducingly long awkward pauses. Eventually Rod remembers his lines and asks Nathalie out. Up next is the best basketball scene since Catwoman.
If you pay very close attention, you’ll realize that this scene isn’t actually a single shot.
Okay, so maybe Nguyen can’t top that. But we do get 15 seconds of Rod’s friend Rick guarding him before Rod throws the worst shot I’ve ever seen.
After that workout these guys need a break. What follows is more of Nguyen’s classic subtlety.
Rod: “Whoo, this heat’s killing me.”
Rick: “I know, man, what’s with this weather? A heat wave in winter?”
It should be noted that Rick is possibly the greatest cartoon character since Mike from The Room.
“A day without sex is a day wasted, man!”
Rod heads home and watches another environmental news broadcast, but this one is the best thing ever. Why? Because the footage has “Getty Images” plastered across it.
You will never understand how happy this made me.
Rod’s interrupted by a guy from Solar Power Accessories coming to install his solar panels. Now we’re over 17 minutes into this movie, so I was starting to get a little upset that there wasn’t a birdemic happening yet. But it’s okay, because instead we got a discussion of where Rod’s new solar panels would go.
Right over there.
When Rod asks if there’s any way to lower the $20,000 price, the salesman says, “For you, sir, I’ll knock off a thousand dollars.” What is it with salesman in this movie and haggling?
All this waiting is worth it because we now finally get to advance the plot a bit. Not with the birds, of course. Don’t be silly. But we do get to see Rod and Nathalie’s first date!
Way to be an asshole, Rod. She’s gong to have to carry that flower around all night.
When Natalie shows up they head inside a restaurant. This is where we get that mural pan I mentioned earlier.
23 seconds. Just sit there and count to twenty-three; you’ll realize how ridiculously long this is.
Rod decides to give a long-winded speech to Nathalie about his job. We’re now twenty minutes into the movie. This is where I started screaming and throwing things at Rod. I hate his face, I hate his voice, I hate his words, and I hate how fucking long it takes the actor to say them.
Rod: “I work at a start-up company called N.C.T. Software. Got the stock option. Hopefully if the company makes it big by being bought out or going public, I’ll exercise that stock option, cash out, and walk away with tons of cash. My silicon valley dream.”
Shut up shut up SHUT THE FUCK UP!
After dinner Nathalie and Rod go for a walk. This is where we get our first taste of this movie’s incredible ornitholgical visual effects.
No words…should have sent a poet.
We continue this life-like visual design when our couple heads to a green screen nightclub.
James Cameron would be proud.
At last, the date comes to an end.
What did I say about that flower?
In all honesty, I’m amazed Nguyen got that bit of continuity right. I guess it’s the one detail he refused to let slip through the cracks.
Sometime later Nathalie goes to meet her mom who is just the most ridiculous person.
Love the awkward pause at the end.
What’s amazing is that that clip isn’t the strangest part of this scene. I spent so long just staring at my monitor wondering if that kitchen was green screen or not.
It’s that shelf above the mom’s head. It doesn’t look right and her head is disappearing behind it.
If anyone knows if this was green screen or not, please tell me. I need to know. I have no idea why you would need to use a green screen for this when Nguyen could have just used his own kitchen. There’s no reason he couldn’t do this; after all, it’s obvious Nathalie’s mother is played by one of the crew member’s actual moms. At least, I hope that’s the reason why she sucks.
Ya caught me.
Nguyen wisely decides to switch gears for his next scene. We pay Rob’s friend Rick a little visit. A woman is giving him the sex while wearing a bikini.
As women are wont to do.
You’ll never believe this, but that girl is Mai, Nathalie’s best friend. This means they can all go on a double date!
Toat’s magoats OMGs again!
Now, at long last, it’s time. No, not for the birdemic part of the movie, don’t be an idiot. It’s time for the infamous boardroom scene. Rod’s company is being sold for a billion dollars and everyone involved is now rich, so of course they celebrate.
I don’t know…just watch it.
It should be noted that after all this clapping ends there’s still another 25 seconds of absolutely everyone in this boardroom shaking each other’s hands. There’s a ton of bad dialogue to focus on in this scene, but I think the worst belongs to Rick. When Rod says that he’s not interested in buying a new car, Rick tries to murder him with his eyes. Also he says this.
“When are you gonna grow up, man? Chicks love cars. If you want to get into their pants, you better have a nice, hot Ferrari.”
That’s a weird way to describe a car but I’m pretty sure that’s the least of this film’s problems.
So let me level with you guys here. You know how I’ve been joking that you all are stupid for expecting there to be birds in this movie?
We’ve been on a hell of a journey together, we have.
I’ve been playing it cool, but the truth is that by this point in the film I was screaming, “Where are the fucking birds?!” every thirty seconds. We’re more than a half hour deep into the film and there’s been absolutely no signs of any -emic, bird or otherwise. I just wanted to let you know that I shared in your pain and that, eventually, the birds will come.
But for now, let’s get back to the story. Rod, Nathalie, Rick, and Mai go out on their double date. They all see a movie (which of course is An Inconvenient Truth). This is the last we’ll see of Rick until the end of the movie, but you can be sure he leaves us with a bang. Literally.
Rick: “Mai and I got to get back to work, so uh…just trot off.”
Rick: “Yeah, you know, sensual work.”
Ugh. Later on, Rod decides to use his new found wealth to start up a green tech solar panel company. He manages to get a major investment deal, but not until after we see him give a one minute and forty second long speech on why Rod’s nanotechnology solar panels are better than traditional silicon solar panels.
After that Nathalie and Rod finally go on a date because we haven’t seen that two times already. This was where I absolutely began losing it. 34 minutes into the film we spend ten seconds staring at a banner…
Over a minute walking through a harvest festival without any dialogue…
Still no birds.
And a giant pumpkin.
I want some fucking birds I paid $3 for this!
The absolute only thing to note during these scenes is that Rod suddenly has a herpe.
Just throw some Herpex on it.
After touring this festival Nathalie and Rod head over to the beach. This is where the sound mixing goes from beyond awful to rage-inducingly craptastic. It is completely impossible to hear what these idiots are saying; the sound of the waves completely drowns them out. Almost as interesting is the fact that there are real birds in this scene.
Admire them while you can; the rest are GIFs.
At long last, after 38 minutes of waiting, we get the tiniest semblance of plot. Nathalie spots some dead birds in the sand.
So after they finish this date Rod finally meets Nathalie’s mother. There’s nothing much to note here except that the words “retirement” and “retired” are said 5 times in 22 seconds, but come on. No one’s expecting remotely competent screenwriting anymore. Nguyen hammers this point home by having our heroes go on yet another date!
Now there have been crazy scenes before. We all had a good laugh at that first restaurant scene with the Russian girl. We reveled in how strange things were in the boardroom. But what happens next transcends insanity. I give you the completely random 2 minute dance scene.
What is going on?
I’ll tell you what. Just hanging out with my family.
After this, Nathalie and Rob finally make sex. Their kissing is extremely loud and awkard but I just want to get to the birds so we’re glossing over it.
Yes, it’s finally time for the birdemic. I’d say brace yourselves, but you’ll have plenty of time to. That’s because before the birdemic starts, there is 1 minute and 8 seconds of absolutely silent panning over random locations. But the end is worth it.
Just to clarify, there are 35 seconds of panning before this video begins.
So, so many things to note here. First of all, that noise is beyond loud and annoying. Second, why do birds make airplane noises? Third, why do the birds explode? Fourth, literally everything else about this.
How do you even analyze this?
So the birds start emicing. Nathalie and Rod are trapped inside their hotel room. They block the window with their bed and wait until the birds leave, but they can’t escape because Rod is a fucking dumbass who lost his car keys and Nguyen can’t write for shit. Rod and Nathalie seek help from another couple, Ramsay and Becky.
Ramsay is an ex-marine and quickly takes charge of the group. He’s actually surprisingly competent, suggesting that the group gather weapons and fight with their backs to each other so they can see in all directions.
This makes it even stranger why Ramsay suggests using clothes hangers for weapons. There are literally infinity better options, including the bar the hangers are hanging on.
As you might guess from that screenshot, this leads to another of Birdemic’s most famous scenes: the clothes hanger fight.
A few more things:
1. Eagles can’t hover like that.
2. There is no impact from the hangers.
3. That’s not how you try to open a car door.
4. This is fucking stupid.
Once they manage to get inside the car it’s revealed that Ramsay carries an automatic assault rifle with him.
This just makes me sad. Blank 5.56 x 45mm cartridges are 20 cents each. Nguyen couldn’t even afford that.
After escaping the hotel, our group stops to check some dead bodies on the side of the road. You get the feeling that things are supposed to be very barren and post-apocalyptic, but that illusions is somewhat shattered by the dozens of cars loudly driving past the actors.
Rod and Ramsay manage to save two kids, Susan and Tony, whose parents were just killed. It should be noted that Susan is an even worse actress than Alan Bagh.
The kids get hungry and need food because they suck, so the group stops at a convenience store. While Ramsay does the smart thing and stands guard at the entrance, the rest of the crew lolls around like they’re doing their weekly grocery shopping.
Hey idiots, there’s an apocalypse outside.
Up next our heroes stop at a park and have a picnic. Outside. Where the birds are.
You’re better than this, Ramsay.
Rod notices an “old guy on the bridge,” so he and Nathalie invite him over to talk. Becky gets her first real line of the film.
“Don’t you know these birds are attacking people?”
Evidently you don’t, because you’re sitting outside. Dumbass.
This ornithologist is the absolute craziest person I have ever seen in any real or fictional medium ever. Just listen to his epic monologue.
Really soak it in.
There is way, way too much to go over here. I’ll just repeat that last utterly insane quote in case you were too dumbfounded to register it (or you couldn’t hear it).
“It’s the human species that needs to quit playing cowboy with nature. We must act more like astronauts and spacemen taking care of our spaceship Earth.”
So then the doctor leaves, rendering this entire step out pointless. A bit later, Rod and Ramsay have a talk while Becky and Nathalie go to the bathroom. Rod asks why Ramsay left the Marines, and Ramsay replies, “I just got tired of all the fucking killing in Iraq. Why can’t we just give peace a chance?”
Is there no societal problem that Birdemic can’t conquer?
While Nguyen puts The Hurt Locker to shame, Becky promptly dies.
Goodbye, Becky. We hardly knew ye. Seriously, you had like two lines.
Ramsay’s fury at his lost love leads him to grab his assault rifle and begin the greatest action scene of all time.
Ramsay’s blood lust is only temporarily satiated, however. When the group stumbles across a tour bus about to be bombarded with eagles, Ramsay insists that they help. Rod, proving once and for all that he is a total asshole, shouts back, “We can’t. We have no room. It’s full in here.”
You’re driving an SUV, Becky’s death freed up a seat, and there are only three people on that bus. Really, Rod?
Ramsay refuses to condemn everyone on Earth who can’t fit in their car, so he tries to help. Thus begins yet another classic Birdemic battle scene.
Love how Ramsay ends up throwing crying people to their deaths.
Perhaps the best part of this scene is that we get to see more of Rod’s boundless empathy.
Rod: “I’m going out there to save them.”
Nathalie: “Don’t go, if you go out there you’ll die. They’re dead already.”
Rod: “Yeah you’re right.”
So I know this is going to be hard to believe, but the next scene is one of the strangest in this film. Rod drives the SUV to a convenience store to gas up and get supplies. When they pulled into the parking lot I expected the place to be abandoned (like the last convenience store they visited), but this one is still being manned. The result is ridiculous.
“Hi. The eagles killed our friends. Uh, do you have a phone I can use to call the police?”
That wasn’t a typo, by the way. There’s so much to love here:
1. We get to see more of Rod’s empathy.
2. I love that Rod starts with a calm, “Hi.”
3. Why / how is this store still operational?
4. What does Rod expect the police to do about his dead friends?
5. I adore that this man gives absolutely zero fucks about any of this.
Rod wants to buy some gas, but the clerk will only sell it for $100 a gallon because:
“Well, you know from the eagle attack we are on short on gas.”
Seriously, look at that guy. He’s dishing out negative fucks. Like a sucker, Rod agrees to pay $100 instead of reminding the clerk that he has a gun. Meanwhile, Nathalie and the kids are being stupid. She tells Tony and Susan that if they grab some water they can get some candy for themselves.
Everyone around you is dying can you not smile that wide?!
Seriously, no one seems to care that the world is going to shit and all their friends are getting brutally murdered. These kids especially have not mentioned their dead parents once since they’ve been rescued.
At last they all leave the gas station behind and spot a man on the road. He wants to buy gas from them but Rod insists he has none to spare. This being a disaster movie, you know where we’re headed.
“You’re going to sell me some gas now!”
At least this asshole is insisting that he pay Rod. After getting the gas this dumbass starts walking away from both their vehicles and gets killed by an eagle.
The real animal is man!
Then, being a dumbass himself, Rod runs back inside his car, leaving the gas and the man’s gun behind.
Rod resumes driving everyone to who knows where. Seriously, at this point I realized there is absolutely no purpose to any of this. No indication is ever given as to Rod and Nathalie’s end goal. I have no idea if they’re trying to get home or what. They just keep driving and meeting different idiots.
Speaking of which, Rod pulls over because he spots a creek. He insists they can get some fresh water there. I have no idea what these people’s obsession with water is. As far as I can tell it’s still the first day of the birdemic. They’ve already grabbed a 24-pack of water from the first convenience store and multiple gallons from the second. How much do they need right now?
At any rate, they enter the woods and the camera focuses on a random tree for ten seconds.
You thought we left this crap behind when the birdemic started, didn’t you?
The group spots a crazy guy who lives in the woods and is the most obvious pedophile I have ever seen.
I don’t care if you molest children or not. You look like this, you’re a pedophile.
Two amazing things happen in this ridiculous scene. The first is, bar none, the worst acting from Susan that has ever existed.
“Yes that’ll be fun!”
The second is another ridiculous monologue from a lunatic.
He’s right, the bark beetles are really the major issue right now.
This is followed up with the film abandoning any last pretense of subtlety.
“This damn global warming. It’s the cause of dry climate and bark beetles and death of the trees and forest.”
The pedophile leaves, and for absolutely no reason a forest fire starts as Rod and Nathalie lead the kids back to the car.
There’s no stopping this maelstrom!
You’ll never guess what our gang does next; they drive around some more. After a while Nathalie points out a lighthouse and says that’s where Mai lives.
That’s really random but…okay.
We finally catch up with Rick and Mai, but of course they’re dead too.
Oh no I don’t care.
Finally, the group stops driving for good, but only because they run out of gas. They’re stranded at a beach and the kids are, once again, hungry. Nathalie and Rod don’t have any food. I have no idea how they keep running out of things so quickly but whatever, this movie’s almost done. Rod searches the back of the SUV and finds a few helpful items that Ramsay left behind.
“Hey look, a fishing rod. I can go catch some fish. Oh look, a stove. We can cook it.”
What a fucking moron. Everyone heads down to the beach which means that once again we can’t hear anything over the sound of the waves. Rod catches a fish and Nathalie manages to snag some rad seaweed. They prepare a meal for the kids, who of course act like dipshits.
“Yuck, I want a happy meal.”
Okay I don’t want to eat seaweed either but fuck both of you. You haven’t given a shit about your dead parents so you’ll eat what you’re given.
Oh no the birds are back!
What a new twist!
Everyone retreats to the car, but Rod runs out of bullets. As everyone prepares to take their final stand, a slew of doves show up and chase the eagles away.
What a stupid twist!
No effort is made at all to explain why doves save the day but I’m long beyond caring. Everyone heads back out to the water and watches the eagles soar away. For 54 seconds, the four survivors stand silently and watch the birds fly away.
Just like in the beginning, no credits.
Then the credits do start rolling as they all stand there for just under two more minutes.
You know how some people will say a movie would be only half its length if it cut out some repetitive elements? I always thought sayings like that were an exaggeration, but I get it now. If you took out all the awkward pauses, pointless pan overs, & silent moments of just standing around, this film would probably be under an hour.
Should you watch Birdemic? Yeah…I don’t fucking know. The Room had some awkward sex scenes to get through, but every other moment was bad movie gold. Half of this movie is lines you can’t hear or long shots of random objects. There’s tons of highly amusing stuff, but it’s buried deep under a pile of boring shit.
Birdemic: Shock and Terror gets 7 / 10 Cages – Amusingly Peculiar
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