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Best of Severin Films: ‘Birdemic: Shock and Terror’ – a tribute to Hitchcock’s The Birds

“Like Ed Wood, Nguyen is an auteur with a dream and while we may laugh at the movie, we can’t laugh at the fact that he got the job done…”

Birdemic: Shock and Terror

Directed by James Nguyen

Written by James Nguyen

2009, USA

On the list of movies so bad they’re good, we must now add James Nguyen’s Birdemic: Shock and Terror. The most recent candidate for the title of worst movie of all time, Birdemic has surely carved out a place in the pantheon of midnight movies along side such classics as Ed Wood’s Plan 9 From Outer Space, Troll 2 and last year’s hipster cult sensation The Room. The Sundance reject soars above the terrible movie heavens, opening with extended slow scenes of the hero, cardboard-bland, dim-witted salesman Rod, driving across northern California in his blue Mustang. We meet his girlfriend Nathalie, a hopelessly vapid would-be model. The two apparently have sex (and sleep) with their clothes on as well as hang out at vacant local pubs (no money for extras) with the exception of the lead singer of a local band (minus the band). During the first painfully drawn-out 45 minutes of boy meets girl, we get just that. Plenty of driving, getting in and out of cars, inane dialogue and a dreadfully dull romance delivered with flat, emotionless acting.

While most other bad movies have some redeeming features, Birdemic has none. Birdemic features poor sound mixing, cheap foley work, repetitive, tilted camera framing, stretching tracking shots that pan across restaurant walls and empty vistas, bad musical interludes, horrible editing and imbecilic dialogue that barely resembles how real people talk.

Let’s also not forget the uniformly bad acting; the entire casts seems to insist on reading Nguyen’s script exactly as written. “It’s the human species that needs to quit playing cowboy with nature. We must act more like astronauts, spacemen taking care of Spaceship Earth.”

Look out for the background newscasts about global warming, stranded polar bears and heatwaves. Didn’t you know? Nguyen stuffs his nest with his pro-peace, pro-green message while giving a shout-out to An Inconvenient Truth (a great first date flick) and promoting Yoko Ono’s website, And just imagine – I haven’t even mentioned the poorly rendered CGI eagles and vultures nor the explanation as to why the heroes try to defend themselves with coat hangers or why the birds occasionally spit acid or explode.

Nguyen, a Silicon Valley software salesman by day, bought a camera, and without benefit of any sort of training, decided to film a tribute to Hitchcock’s The Birds in his spare time. On a budget of $10,000 Nguyen’s film may not have any story, nor decent production values, but it does have craft and his DIY fingerprints are in every shot. Like Ed Wood, Nguyen is an aspiring auteur with a dream and while we may laugh at the movie, we can’t laugh at the fact that he got the job done.

Ricky D


Blu Ray Extras:
• Audio Commentary With Director James Nguyen
• Audio Commentary With Stars Alan Bagh and Whitney Moore
• Deleted Scenes
• Birdemic Experience Tour Featurette
• James Nguyen on Movie Close Up
• Moviehead: The James Nguyen Story Teaser
• Birdemic Experience 2010 Trailer
• Teaser Trailer
• Theatrical Trailer
• Electronic Press Kit


About Severin

Since their founding in 2006, Severin Films has become the foremost studio dedicated to rescuing, restoring and releasing the most controversial and provocative features from around the world. With offices in Los Angeles, London and New York, the company’s international successes in DVD and niche theatrical of films from Oscar nominees and cult icons alike has garnered applause in The Hollywood Reporter, The New York Times and The Onion AV Club, and led to proclaim, “Severin Films are well on their way to becoming the greatest indie label of all time.”