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Hurts So Good - BIRDEMIC

So I’ve been hearing people mention this BIRDEMIC film for a few weeks now and having never seen it, it began to spark my interest. I managed to find it on Netflix and while I was somewhat prepared to take in all the horridness that was being discussed, I was still quite taken aback at what was presented to me on television screen.

Having read Robert Rodriguez’s REBEL WITHOUT A CREW and subsequently watching his Spanish language masterpiece EL MARIACHI, I was fully aware of what could be done on a tiny budget. Sure it’s difficult, but for a sub $10,000 budget, the man responsible for a few of Hollywood’s recent gems, proved that it is possible to create a film that isn’t total shit. With BIRDEMIC, however, directory/producer/writer James Nguyen managed to turn his $10k investment into one of the most horrendously ridiculous filmic bowel movements I’ve ever encountered. Luckily for us, it is another one of those “trash that’s treasured” flicks made for those who can look past what it tries to be and value what it actually is.

Right from the start, with the obviously basement bottom musical “score” on loop, you pretty much know what you’re getting into. Even the opening credit sequence text is grammatically incorrect, listing non featured actors as the “supporting casts.” While most will look past these minor details, or not notice them at all, to the trained eye and mind, its somewhat of a warning as to what is to follow for the next 93 minutes.

As a romantic thriller, BIRDEMIC is equal parts romantic and thriller. The major issue with the film, however, is that neither side truly correlates to the other. The first half of the film is purely romance, introducing the audience to our characters and showcasing their courtship. Rod (Alan Bagh), a software engineer turned salesman and Nathalie (Whitney Moore), a fashion model, meet outside a restaurant and a rekindle a flame that apparently was missed during their shared high school days. They exquisitely wine and dine each other via montages, showing their budding relationship quickly blossoming. One thing leads to another and they eventually find themselves at a sleazy motel.

And then it happens…

Some quaint establishing shots of familiar landscapes– a staple of the film at this point– turn into terror as the brief intermission unveils the “thriller” portion of the film. Horribly animated CGI birds – for all intents and purposes: eagles and vultures - take over the city, flying about and dive-bombing themselves into all the people, places and things about. Rightfully so, the ferocious fauna wouldn’t be complete without the capabilities of inciting fear by sounding like fully equipped B-52 bombers. It is truly a birdemic, indeed. Fortunately for our couple, they manage to make friends with another pair staying at the hotel who happen to have concealed submachine guns on hand, and apparently, the cheat code for unlimited ammo. From here on out, it’s a kill or be killed scenario that produces some of the worst visuals known to mankind. Mix this in with some other ridiculous scenarios – Nathalie goes from taking photos at a small boutique to being the cover girl for Victoria’s Secret; Rod’s entire life resolves around extremely simple, round numbers; etc, al. – and you’ve got all the ingredients for disaster.

On top of the whole plot amounting to be ornamented fecal matter, the “actors” are atrocious. Our male lead, Rod comes across as being completely inhuman. Moving about as quite mechanically, he acts as though he’s never had any form of social interaction with other earthly beings. He walks in the most uncomfortable fashions, almost as if rails and tracks bind his movements, and he talks like he’s a societally functional retard. His “way too hot for this film” female counterpart, Nathalie (Whitney Moore), seems a bit more human, but it is still blatantly obvious that she has had minimal experience in the realm of acting. The fact that her resume lists any acting gig following this movie is quite surprising to me. Giving them the benefit of the doubt, though, the only reason it isn’t heart wrenchingly painful to watch the two of them interact is because of how beautiful their awkwardness’s play off one another, like watching two cars collide in slow motion set to a fine orchestral piece. The point I’m getting at can best be summed up in this one particular scene in which the couple engages in a bit of dancing. I’m not going to try to describe it, as words wouldn’t even do it justice. You’ve just gotta see it for yourself…

Furthermore, the remainders of the supporting cast members come across as buffoons. From missed cues to slurred and misspoken lines to the over and under uses of emotion, all across the board it seems as though nobody knows what they’re doing. Sadly, I can’t place all the blame upon the on screen chaps, as I’m sure a lot of their mistakes should have been left on the cutting room floor, but as the beneficiaries of all bad production decisions, they look like total shit.

Speaking of total shit, the birds are just that. Calling the visual effects bad would be the ultimate exercise in understatement, akin to calling the ocean moist. I think I read somewhere that Nguyen paid a student animator $100 to create the birds in the film, and I’d venture to say he got exactly his money’s worth. Aside from the birds being so obviously computer generated, their movements are extremely stiff and unnatural. Not that it even matters, but the fact that the vultures look exactly like their eagle counterparts, only black, makes for an even more unrealistic scenario as does the fighter jet noises that they squawk and their ability to spit acid and explode into balls of fire. Yes, it’s all bad.

        

On top of all that, the film is riddled with an environmentally friendly “go-green” message. While it is true that it’s the only thing that ties the two completely differing portions of the story together, it might be the unintentionally funny element of the film. From the subtle promotions solar panels as the energy of the future to the blatantly upfront choice of film for their double date night, AN INCONVENIENT TRUTH  (one of the films that Nguyen claims inspired this work), there’s a definite green undertone that builds as the film goes on. Ultimately culminating in a meeting with the self-proclaimed tree hugger, Tom Hill (Stephen Gustavson), in the middle of the forest, one can only deduce that our filmmaker is a eco-crisis fearing man, who is afraid of the consequences of mankind’s poisoning of mother nature. The manifestation of this terror in BIRDEMIC adds yet another botched layer to a film that manages to totally blunder at every turn.

When all is said and done, BIRDEMIC is up there amongst the best of the worst films of modern day. Combining horrendous acting, a lackluster – at best – plot, and some of the worst CGI I’ve seen since my undergrad years, its definitely something you should check out. Hop on Netflix and give it a whirl, just prepare to take what’s presented to you with a grain of salt. While James Nguyen’s intentions might be unknown, the result of his labor tops the charts in the category of films that truly hurt soooooo good.

 

Deuces.

-Jon Doe

Follow me on Twitter.

Readers Talkback
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  • June 27, 2012, 2:33 a.m. CST

    1rst

    by EyeForgiveMelGibson

  • June 27, 2012, 2:35 a.m. CST

    How did this get made

    by maxin n relaxin

    This truly is a classic best worst movie. Check out the HDTGM podcast for some of the funniest commentary ever. First!

  • June 27, 2012, 2:42 a.m. CST

    $10K can't get you so far anymore

    by A_Banned_Apart

    That said, what a glorious and magnificent pile of shit this film is.

  • June 27, 2012, 2:43 a.m. CST

    straight to youtube

    by Balkin Flabgurter

    new category.

  • June 27, 2012, 2:50 a.m. CST

    Best way to watch Birdemic

    by Zauriel

    Is the Rifftrax version. That's how I watched it the first time. I don't think I could stand to watch this one on its own merits.

  • Where the hell did all the money go?!

  • June 27, 2012, 3:11 a.m. CST

    My Bad Movie Marathon (review)

    by kenchun24

    I was sick this past weekend and decided to knock out a bad movie marathon.So I finally watched... "The Room" - Yes it was bad.But kind of boring too.Lead chick had nice boobs.But it was a bad skinemax movie overall.I didn't know what all the hype was about this one being a fun so bad it's good movie.I guess I gotta go to one of "The Room" midnight shows out here in L.A. with the crowd and all. "Troll 2" and "Best Worst Movie"(the doc about Troll 2)- Saw Troll 2 many times as a teen.My friends and I used to always rent Troll 2 and The Adventures Of Ford Fairlane from Hilltop Grocery for some laughs.Which when you are 15 and have no drivers license Hilltop Grocery was the only entertainment you had as I grew up in the boonies. Half Off Fried Chicken & Jo Jo's after 9pm,the occasional trucker who would buy us some beer while we waited out back and the best VHS rental selection for a hybrid gas station/mini mart in the middle of bumfuck Egypt. Lots of Cannon/Menahem Golan & Yoram Globus movies,Faces Of Death series,cool samurai flicks and even a copy of Treasure Of The Four Crowns! (crazy Italian adventure movie from the early 80's). Troll 2 is still better than The Room IMHO.And Best Worst Movie is a great companion piece to Troll 2.Never saw it before this past weekend and really liked it. "Birdemic" - Reminds me of the time a bird shit on my head.It came out of nowhere on my way to a play rehearsal and I had to tell my fellow cast members about it.I will be telling friends about Birdemic as most folks have NetFlix instant stream...it's pretty friggin' bad.Acting,sound mix (or lack thereof)editing,music choices (especially the Chinese Restaurant date scene haha!)Favorite bad line,"A day without sex is a day wasted." Honorable mention so bad it's good movie - "No Retreat No Surrender" starring Jean Claude Van Damme in his first acting role (I think).Find it and enjoy...it has a Bruce Lee cameo. That was my So Bad It's Good Movie Marathon Review.

  • Yes...the random eco stuff was funny.I felt like this movie was a corporate video production to promote eco awareness under the guise of When Animal Attack.Lead girl was hotter than the lead girl in The Room.Funniest scene to me was the conference room. Clapping (camera pans) clapping (pans again) clapping (again)...

  • June 27, 2012, 4:48 a.m. CST

    Ahh, the unconfortable semi-nudity. Chortle.

    by higgledyhiggles

  • June 27, 2012, 6:03 a.m. CST

    RIFFTRAX is the only way to watch this.

    by Dr_PepperSpray

  • June 27, 2012, 6:21 a.m. CST

    makes a great doublebill with THE HAPPENING

    by Spandau Belly

    Man, this was a funny movie.

  • June 27, 2012, 6:33 a.m. CST

    Check out a film called "Stryker"

    by seansarto

  • June 27, 2012, 7:32 a.m. CST

    Wow

    by Pete Michaelson

    The buzz for this movie died like a year or so ago at least. Definitely check it out on Rifftrax; hilarious.

  • June 27, 2012, 8:09 a.m. CST

    Birdemic 2

    by Essemtee

    Yes, IMDb states there is a sequel in the works, the birds attack Hollywood!! Anyway, I watched this turkey with some friends, and there were many squinted eyes of disbelief, laughter at actors reacting to CGI birds who flapped their wings, yet remained in the same exact spot. This led to a discussion on horribly bad movies that we've seen, including the 80s filmography of Linda Blair: Chained Heat, Red Heat, Savage Streets, Night Patrol, Hell Night, Bail Out...

  • June 27, 2012, 8:10 a.m. CST

    I cringed so hard watching that clip...

    by quicksilver80

    I think I got a herniated disc...

  • June 27, 2012, 8:22 a.m. CST

    I recall people mocking the hell out of this movie a few years back.

    by fat_rancor_keeper

    Is this an old article? Anyway - I have yet to see it, but I do want to check it out for the sheer shit factor alone. Possibly rifftrax will be the way to go. Clearly Hitchcock's Birds has some laughable competition.

  • June 27, 2012, 8:25 a.m. CST

    A "made for SyFy Channel movie classic"

    by Arcangel2020

    Wow! What an utter craptacular-craptastic film!! I was surprised to not see that this was a film that was made for the shitty SyFy Channel...I mean it has the title, the plot, the really bad acting and above all else? Really shitty looking special effects judging by the photos above and from the review too! James Nguyen looks to me like he is aiming to be the new Uwe Boll...god help us all if that's the case!!

  • June 27, 2012, 9:09 a.m. CST

    REBOOT

    by Party_Animal_IV

    Time to reboot the franchise. Get Marky Mark to do motion capture for the birds.

  • June 27, 2012, 9:21 a.m. CST

    I fourth/fifth the RIFFTRAX recommendation.

    by where_are_quints_hobbit_set_reports

    I've somewhat outgrown enjoying "so bad they're unbelievable" movies, but Rifftrax makes stuff like this, The Room, Avatar:Airbender etc. worth watching.

  • June 27, 2012, 12:41 p.m. CST

    Haters are gonna Hate

    by The Cheese Grommitt

  • Hope you are feeling better btw. And THANK YOU for bringing up Treasure of the Four Crowns. I saw that in 3D when it came out in theaters and am still scarred. Totally fucked me up. I think that was the first migraine I've ever had. Been bugging me ever since as I guess my subconscious blocked the name out.

  • June 27, 2012, 12:54 p.m. CST

    Cue bitchy talk-backer comment...

    by Blood Simple

    OLD NEWS.

  • June 27, 2012, 1:08 p.m. CST

    I saw this in a packed theater a couple of years ago...

    by fustfick

    ...and you'd swear they pumped nitous into the joint. If you ever get a chance to see this with an audience...do it. So much shock and terror. So goddamn funny. Can't wait for Birdemic 2.

  • June 27, 2012, 1:15 p.m. CST

    Showed Rifftrax version to nieces...

    by Phloton

    ...they couldn't breathe because they were laughing so hard (they're 12 and under).

  • June 27, 2012, 1:25 p.m. CST

    Maybe Battleship will be better on Rifftrax. Or the Amazing Spider-man.

    by Tikidonkeypunch

    Can we get a rifftrax on that 25 min preview?

  • June 27, 2012, 1:48 p.m. CST

    Marvel at this pic of Birdemic Director James Nguyen & David Lynch

    by SigourneyWeavers3Dbeaver

    http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_rFw6xdsCoKo/S8oy0v8s5tI/AAAAAAAAAaQ/bXj7Yg7wCOY/s1600/Lynch-Nguyen.JPG

  • June 27, 2012, 2:25 p.m. CST

    I'll second How Did This Get Made

    by The Funketeer

    Funniest episode they've done so far. Not sure if it's better to see the movie and then listen or the other way around but both are worth your time.

  • June 27, 2012, 2:30 p.m. CST

    Is it as excellent as Jaws: The Revenge? That film is awesome.

    by jellypop

    It leaps! It roars! It came after her! It blows up after being speared by a piece of wood! Classic Hollywood-I love you!

  • June 27, 2012, 2:46 p.m. CST

    Movie nerds-I need your help.

    by jellypop

    Speaking of films such as Treasure of the 4 crowns, there is a film that I rented in my childhood but I cannot remember its title. Perhaps a true movie wizard could help me out based on my fairly vague memories? Was either italian/Spanish ( I think) with an English dub about a young boy and girl on a quest to recover/find/discover a magical/mystical stone type thing. Only two scenes really really stick out in my memory- One a skeleton sitting on a gigantic pile of coins/gems/treasure in a cave. I think he may have been a king or something and... a scene were the two kids hide out on a farm, avoiding the bad guy and his men. They hid in a pig pen and got covered in mud. It was shown on BBC T.V. in England many, many years ago..late 80's early 90's. And that's all I have. I didn't dream it...I know its out there...its bugged me for years.

  • But yeah, remember Birdemic?

  • Yeah, riiiiiight.

  • June 27, 2012, 10:55 p.m. CST

    how did AICN get so popular???

    by encord

    um, birdemic has been out FOREVER. so has THE LOVED ONES. and sarah palin should not be praised EVER. and if you are going to have a dvd review column for what's new WATCH THE MOVIES AND KEEP IT UP TO DATE!!! Is this really so much to ask?? At least tell us what is on the dvds i.e. special features, etc. Anyone can start a stupid website and say, "oh this movie's coming out, but i haven't watched it, but the cover looks cool! so follow the link and buy the movie so i can also have some money!!" BOOORING!!!!!!

  • I did the same with this movie I saw in the early 80's with my dad about an American that goes to Japan and needs to get this samurai sword...found a link that fit the movie and that was it.The Challenge starring Scott Glenn.

  • ...especially the end with the spinning head flame thrower possessed leader of the Treasure Hunters.That movie has to be playing at some AICN type festival of weird movies from back in the day.

  • June 28, 2012, 12:29 a.m. CST

    Over at Chud

    by robbles

    I reviewed this awhile back. I had to share.

  • June 28, 2012, 12:29 a.m. CST

    The review

    by robbles

    http://www.chud.com/42477/dvd-review-birdemic-shock-and-terror/

  • June 28, 2012, 6:39 a.m. CST

    Ain't It OLD News

    by DukieMichaelNamondRandy

    I've seen this twice, the first time in March 2011. Why hasn't their been an article on this before? Like back when it came out on DVD? The Sequel is being "worked on", which I can't wait to see...I love how terrible this movie is. It's like a college project. But that doesn't mean we should let James Nguyen quit! we want MORE!

  • June 28, 2012, 8:13 a.m. CST

    @Kenchun24

    by jellypop

    I have thoroughly searched it mate...without success. 4 months back I spent 3 hours trying to track it down. The magic stone/rock/gem thingy may have formed the title and it may have been something like, Sun stone, Star stone Sun star or something along those lines. I'm pretty sure though that the title may have been translated into English from its actual given title. It's funny as the plotline for Treasure of the four crowns actually came pretty close to how I remember the story panning out to a certain point-the hunt for magic stones/gems etc. but beyond that I'm not sure.

  • June 28, 2012, 4:24 p.m. CST

    OLD?

    by Marcus Thomas

    for everyone commenting that this review is "old", take a moment to look at the rest of the HURTS SO GOOD entries here on AICN. trust me that there is a common theme amongst them, but rest assured that it has nothing to do with the movie's date of release and/or (for encord) it being on dvd. here's a hint: the column is called HURTS SO GOOD.