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Ten thousand dollars straight from director James Nguyen’s wallet was all it took to make the “romantic thriller” BIRDEMIC: SHOCK AND TERROR. And it’s obvious. There are no Michael Bay-esque explosions, no James Cameron-style computerized special effects and no 3-D animation to give the film that extra punch. But there is a fun storyline, lots of birds and plenty of laughs all around. None of the laughs were meant to be intentional, of course, but it’s that unintended humor that has led BIRDEMIC to soar to great cult heights, with some even saying it’s the new PLAN 9 FROM OUTER SPACE.
As in any other true romantic thriller, the first hour of the movie (playing this weekend in New York City and other venues in the future; see details here) is focused on the love affair between our two protagonists, Nathalie (Whitney Moore) and Rod (Alan Bagh). They are two simple people who have “caught the big fish” and are ready for something more in their lives. Then, out of nowhere, a platoon of vultures and eagles start to attack, leaving Nathalie and Rod to fight for survival.
Nathalie and Rod don’t fight the birdemic alone: Along the way, they meet up with heroic Ramsey (a crowd favorite played by Adam Sessa), two orphaned children, a tree-hugger and many others. As the latter suggests, there is a “green” message weaved throughout the film, hinting that the reason for the birdemic has to do with global warming—though the audience never truly finds out what caused the attack. (Nguyen has suggested that the answer may be revealed in the chilling sequel—BIRDEMIC: THE RESURRECTION.)
Despite being a penny-pincher when it came to the actual filming, Nguyen didn’t skimp where the storyline is concerned. It comes off as silly at times, but that’s mostly due to the weak acting by some of the leads. The makeup FX are done well, and even though the computer-animated birds seem a bit out of place in the live-action sequences, they do make quite an impression when they fly toward the screen.
Now, all that being said, this is not a film for moviegoers who are into A-list blockbusters. This is one for the fans of bad cinema and B-movies, who will enjoy the cheesiness and join in with the crowd riffing on it, à la MYSTERY SCIENCE THEATER 3000.
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