Birdemic: Shock and Terror


When Global Warming Goes Horribly Wrong

Main Cast: Alan Baugh and Whitney Moore

Director: James Nguyen

Good Lord, this movie. Love it or hate it, you have to give Birdemic credit for one thing: it was quite the spectacle.

I’ve seen this movie three times now. My first exposure to it was in 2013 when the Rifftrax crew screened it live across the country. I then found a cheap copy of the DVD which I quickly snatched up, and I’ve since sat through it with the actors’ commentary, and once on its own, no commentary, no riffing, just me and the movie. I have to say, if you get a chance to see the Rifftrax Live version, which you can buy and download from their site (, do so.

Birdemic is writer/director James Nguyen’s masterpiece of awful and there’s no way a simple review could possibly express just how bad it is. But oh my God it’s bad in all the right ways. The pace is totally off (we’re halfway into the movie before the Birdemic even begins), the acting is stiff, the themes are way too heavyhanded (protect the environment before it turns on us) , and the effects…those have to be seen to be believed. Hell, even the chronology is screwed up. In an early scene a character comments on how it’s winter, then later the two main characters see An Inconventient Truth (which opened in June, 2006) at the theater, then attend the Half Moon Bay Pumpkinfest 2008.

The story is about Rod (Alan Baugh), a software salesman who’s having the time of his life. He meets the woman of his dreams in fashion model Natalie (Whitney Moore), who gets her pictures taken at a My Studio 1-hour Photo before being informed she’s just won a spot as a Victoria’s Secret model, he scores a huge sale at work ($1 million, which he makes by giving the customer a 50% discount), the company he works for is sold leaving him with stock options, and he starts his own green tech company which gets $10 million in funding. Things couldn’t be better.

But one night after he and Natalie spend a steamy night in a cheap motel, they wake the next morning to find birds attacking. People are being slaughtered left and right, birds are exploding on impact, making airplane divebombing noises, and chaos rains down.

Having lost his car keys sometime in the night, Rod enlists the aid of fellow guest Ramsey to help them make their escape. Luckily, Ramsey is ex-military and his van is loaded with guns.

The rest of the movie is a series of adventures as Rod and Natalie, and Ramsey and Becky (his girlfriend) try to escape the birdemic unscathed. Unfortunately, not everyone makes it out alive.

James Nguyen is either a genius or one of the most accidentally lucky filmmakers in history. Birdemic is 90 minutes of terrible, but it’s such a ridiculously bad kind of terrible you can’t look away from it. I’m not talking After Earth bad, more like Troll 2 bad. Nguyen is reaching new lows of incompetence here. But he’s got heart, and you can’t fault him for that.

It’s clear from Birdemic that Nguyen had a vision and he saw it through. It might not have been a cohesive vision, he might not have seen it through in the clearest manner possible, but his passion for the process shines through. Unfortunately, it’s almost as if he’d never actually SEEN a movie before he decided to try to make one.

Nguyen’s insistence on delivering the lines as he’d written them results in some pretty terrible line reads, making the characters sound like they were probably all held back a year, and the guerilla style filming creates even more unintentional plot holes than were already present.

Moore and Baugh try their best, but Nguyen’s total lack of skill prevents them from doing anything other than looking equally silly and ineffective.

It’s hard to praise a movie I know is this bad, but there’s so much joy to be found in Birdemic. At the same time, though, I don’t want that to sound like it’s a good movie and I’m recommending it. Because make no mistake, this is one of the most inept movies you’ve ever seen. But if you can look past the horrible acting, ignore the constantly dropped sound quality, and not laugh yourself into a coughing fit at the “CGI” effects, you might come out of Birdemic with a greater appreciation for the dreck Hollywood churns out on a weekly basis. For all its faults, and there are MANY, Birdemic is the very definition of a cult classic and your movie viewing life is not complete without it, so it earns a very cautious recommend.

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