Birdemic: Shock and Terror (AKA Birdemic for short) is a 2008 American independent romantic horror film written, directed, and produced by James Nguyen. Inspired by Alfred Hitchcock's The Birds, Birdemic tells the story of a romance between the two main characters as their small town is attacked by birds.
Birdemic was made with no studio support, largely self-financed and produced through Nguyen's Moviehead Pictures company for a budget of less than $10,000. After a limited theatrical release, the film gained a cult following and was picked up for distribution by Severin Films in 2010. A sequel called Birdemic 2: The Resurrection was even made.
Rod (Alan Bagh) is a young software salesman living a successful life in Silicon Valley. He meets up with old classmate and aspiring fashion model Nathalie (Whitney Moore) and begins dating her. Things go well for the couple, with Rod receiving a large bonus that he uses to start his own business, while Nathalie is chosen as a Victoria's Secret model. As they grow closer, the couple remains oblivious to signs of something going wrong around them, such as unexplained wildfires and the carcasses of diseased birds turning up on beaches.
After consummating their relationship in a motel, Rod and Nathalie wake up to find that their town is under attack from eagles and vultures that spit acid and explode into flames upon striking the ground. Rod and Nathalie escape from the motel by joining up with an ex-Marine named Ramsey (Adam Sessa) and his girlfriend Becky (Catherine Batcha). As they leave town, they rescue two young children, Susan (Janae Caster) and Tony (Colton Osborne), whose parents have been killed by the birds.
The group proceeds to drive from one town to the next, fending off more bird attacks along the way and briefly meeting a scientist named Dr. Jones (Rick Camp) studying the phenomenon. Becky is killed by the birds, and Ramsey, in an attempt to exact revenge, tries to save a busload of tourists. As they leave the bus, Ramsey and the tourists are doused in acid excrement by the birds and all die.
Rod, Nathalie and the kids continue to flee from the birds, driving into a forest where they briefly meet a "Tree Hugger" named Tom Hill (Stephen Gustavson), who explains to them that the birds have only been targeting gas stations and cars and that the attacks are the result of global warming. After escaping a forest fire, the quartet ultimately settles on a small beach, where Rod fishes for dinner. As they prepare to eat, they are attacked by the birds, which are suddenly—and for no explained reason—chased away by doves. The film ends as Rod, Nathalie and the kids watch the birds fly off into the sunset.
Why It Sucks
- The acting is horribly awful.
- The computer-generated imagery of the birds is putrid, very jarring, and doesn't properly fit into the movie, think cut-and-paste from other sources.
- Terrible editing in both the film and the sound, including the infamous "HI!" from the beginning.
- In-your-face and preachy "environmental message."
- The characters are idiotic. For instance, when so-called "Birdemic" happens, Rod, Nathalie, Ramsey and Becky hide in a motel to stay safe. Instead of just staying in the motel until the "Birdemic" is over, they go outside to attack the birds with coat hangers.
- Scenes that drag on for way too long.
- The birds barely appear in the movie. In fact, the actual horror aspect doesn't occur until around the 45-minute mark.
- The poster is very cheap, it looks like it was made in Microsoft Paint.
- According to actress Bonnie Steiger, who played a tourist in the film, none of the actors, actresses or child actors involved received any payment as promised. Nguyen had initially promised her $100 for her part but later refused claiming to have no money to pay at the time.