I hate Birdemic: Shock and Terror. I hate it, I hate it, I hate it. Where most midnight movie lovers embraced its incompetent “so bad, it’s good” charm, I found it to be furiously annoying and “so bad, it’s bad”.
How anyone thought that Birdemic: Shock and Terror was releasable is beyond me. You would think director/screenwriter James Nguyen must’ve had that thought cross his mind between takes of his actors swinging at invisible birds with coat hangers or in the editing bay as his editor was inserting the same sound loops back-to-back and so on and so forth. But, he didn’t and unfortunately Birdemic: Shock and Terror was born.
Because of the high acclaim the first film received and Nguyen’s non-stop desire to pay tribute to Alfred Hitchcock, we now have a sequel titled Birdemic 2: The Resurrection.
Birdemic 2: The Resurrection broke me, which only occasionally happens when a film is this boisterously unaware of its sheer ludicrously. But, there is a a major difference. I wasn’t finding myself irritated by Nguyen’s sequel to a point where I had to pause the movie and clear my head as I did with the first Birdemic. The lousy sound loops had been toned down slightly and the quality of the CGI had been slightly improved – but only slightly.
I found myself understanding what movie goers found redeemable in the first movie as I found myself laughing at the stilted acting, Nguyen’s awkward dialogue, and weird technical flaws that left me speechless.
The sequel isn’t as unknowingly obnoxious as the original because it’s obvious that the actors realize the quality of Nguyen’s movie. Most likely because most of them have lived through the hype of the first outing. At first, the performances are flat and wooden. But, the “give away” is the amount of high-fives. When our two leading males celebrate, they high five and hold their smiley, wide-eyed post-high five position for a while as they wait for Nguyen to yell “cut”.
There are more “give away’s” too. Like, when our band of heroes constantly check dead bodies to see if their breathing and remind each other that “they’re dead”. James Nguyen may feel like he knows what kind of movie Birdemic 2: The Resurrection is, but the cast are five steps ahead of him.
This movie can only be watched from behind your fingers as you hold an infamous face palm position. In Nguyen’s defence (and believe me, those words are like vinegar), he gives the fans what they want. Former characters return and the director lets “popular” scenes roll and roll – such as a dance sequence where we hear another full length song from musician Damien Carter.
There are even some meta moments here and there. Bill, a recovering director played by Thomas Favaloro, reminds financiers that movies shouldn’t be about babes, boobs, and blood. A while after, Nguyen presents a scene where three topless actresses bounce around trying to fight killer birds inevitably leading to bloody results. If the film wasn’t so embarrassing and dim before this, I would think this is James Nguyen’s attempt to be clever.
There’s also an eye-roll inducing scene after a chaotic bird attack where one of the fighters stops and talks about how making a movie about vicious birds would be a great decision. Bill even chimes in that it could be the next Saw franchise or the next Paranormal Activity franchise. Subtlety is not James’ strong suit, is it?
Nguyen may know what fans want, but his vision is still clouded by bad decisions – choices that seriously hampered Birdemic: Shock and Terror – and his willingness to cater to his fans drifts his main focus away from the prize. A brief scene taking place at Los Angeles’ Cinefamily theatre featuring movie goers being attacked by birds may be a generous “thank-you” from the director/screenwriter, but a following scene featuring a random zombie attack is as out of place as it sounds.
And, of course, Nguyen’s eco-friendly messages barge into the film via long winded monologues by babbling, uncomfortable actors. The film may think it’s being informative by stopping the movie to explain why it’s important to “go green”, but it’s an ultimate buzzkill – especially with how the audio has been recorded and worked with in post-production.
I’m sorry to add that Birdemic 2: The Resurrection is also James Nguyen’s The Empire Strikes Back. Without spoiling the non-ending too much, it does leave the audience on a halfhearted cliffhanger – which is bound to disappoint the eagerest of fans.
As for the overall film, I got a few stunned laughs out of Birdemic 2: The Resurrection and my head wasn’t pounding by the credit crawl. But, when the best thing you can say about a movie is that you leave without a headache, how good of a compliment is that?