MasterChugs Theater: ‘Birdemic: Shock and Terror’

Crowd-sourcing continues.


This movie comes by way of an old friend to the guys, Anthony Hicks (“You don’t know who Anthony Hicks is?!!?”). Anthony might be the coolest older brother we know and is the patron saint of bad movies. Just over a little over a year ago, he passed this movie onto me while conversing in a bar. “Chugs, Birdemic: Shock and Terror might be the newest movie in a wave of horrible movies. You must see this.”

Dear honorary brother Anthony, why have you forsaken me?

For its first half, Birdemic isn’t even a thriller at all — it’s a painfully stilted romance between hot-shot software salesman Rod and fashion model Nathalie, who meet under extremely dubious circumstances when he chases her down as she’s leaving a cafe. Their courtship is awkward and uncomfortable, capped off by one of the ickiest sex scenes in recent cinematic history. The only thing clumsier than the romance is director James Nguyen’s depiction of his characters’ professions: Rod gets $10 million in funding for his environmentally friendly technology company on the strength of a single slide projection, while Natalie’s modeling pictures are taken at a place that advertises “one-hour photos” on its facade.

The birdemic itself finally starts at around 45 minutes into the movie, previously hinted at only briefly via a few references to birds dying mysteriously. You’d think that the sudden appearance of killer birds stalking the main characters would make the movie more exciting, but Nguyen manages to make the alleged “shock and terror” of the title just as tedious as the drawn-out courtship. The CGI birds never appear to be in the same frame as the actors, and instead mostly look like cut-outs pasted onto the front of the screen. Mysteriously, the birds cause explosions and excrete an acid-like substance in addition to the standard clawing and biting, all of which is ascribed vaguely to the effects of global warming. The mostly inexplicable animal behavior isn’t chilling as in Hitchcock’s The Birds, though, and nothing about the movie is remotely disturbing or exciting.

Anyone that has ever watched a made for TV movie on the SyFy network is familiar with bad movies. The shoddy special effects and laughably bad acting all seem to be standard affair, but few of them reach that cult status of being awesomely bad and more entertaining and watchable because of it. Birdemic is one of those movies that hits so many new levels of low that it’s almost mind numbing how something can be so terrible. After a while though everything that’s bad about it also becomes endearing in a humorously entertaining way that you are fascinated and intrigued about how much worse it can get. I’m still not sure if I find the ineptitude of Birdemic is sad or some unfounded sense of admiration in something so brilliantly terrible.