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File:Birdemic 2893.jpg

A film introduced to the wider world by Tim Heidecker and Eric Wareheim of Tim and Eric Awesome Show, Great Job!, a basic plot synopsis would be... well, all you need to know is that it starts as a terrible romantic comedy about a young couple in love and abruptly shifts at the middle to a terrible B-action movie about killer birds with a green agenda. It's sort of a homage to Alfred Hitchcock's The Birds, only really badly made.

It was shown at a couple festivals in 2008 and 2009, and then had a small theatrical run in 2010. It was released on DVD and Blu-Ray in February 2011. Since its premiere its been Snark Bait for all the usual suspects.

A sequel, Birdemic 2: The Resurrection was released in 2013.

Tropes used in Birdemic include:
  • All Men Are Perverts: Rick thinks "a day without sex is a day wasted." (This character was reused from the other film by Nguyen, Julie And Jack.)
  • Artistic License Biology: Did you know eagles could hover in midair like hummingbirds? According to Word of God "Global warming has caused them to be mutant, toxic, and flammable. That's why, when they take a kamikaze drive, they explode, and when they drop bird fluid on some of the cast, they get burned." Genetics and evolution don't work that way outside of X-Men.
  • Audience Participation: Coat hangers and applause.
  • Author Appeal: Green Tech - to the point of giving Rod a (totally fictitious) hybrid Ford Mustang.
    • In California, all cars can be converted to hybrid or full electric. However, it's expensive.
  • Author Avatar: The protagonist of this (and those of the director's other two films) are tech salesmen. Guess what profession the director used to work in? Said protagonist attracts a Victoria's Secret model by creepily stalking her.
  • Author Filibuster: Straight out of nowhere, characters we've never seen before stop and rant about how global warming will kill us all.
  • Blind Idiot Translation: Nguyen's dialog writing is hilariously bad - and made even worse by the actors slavishly sticking (or being forced to stick) to the script as written, verbatim.
  • Bottomless Magazines: Not once do you see Rod or Ramsey reloading their weapons, and they fire a truly psychotic number of rounds at the birds. Just dozens and dozens of bullets without cease.
  • Bus Full of Innocents: More like a Bus Full of Idiots.
  • Captain Obvious: The back of the DVD cover describes Nathalie as "a sexy lingerie model", as opposed to all those plain, unattractive lingerie models we see so often on the Victoria's Secret catalog covers.
  • Chuck Cunningham Syndrome: After the birds attack Nathalie doesn't even mention her mother, much less the fact that she's probably dead.
  • Contrived Coincidence: It turns out Rod's best friend and Nathalie's best friend are dating. This has absolutely nothing to do with how they meet.
  • Covers Always Lie: "From writer/producer/director/visionary James Nguyen The Master Of The Romantic Thriller comes the story of a sexy lingerie model (Whitney Moore) and a successful software salesman (Alan Bagh) on a weekend getaway to a quaint Northern California town. But when the entire region is attacked by [1] their picturesque paradise becomes a winged hell on earth. Can mankind now survive the avian onslaught of BIRDEMIC? Hollywood legend Tippi Hedren of Hitchcock's The Birds [2] in the global cult movie phenomenon that Videogum says [3]
  • Deus Ex Machina: Rod, Nathalie and the children are saved by doves who chase off the eagles. Never mind the fact that eagles prey on doves.
  • Developing Doomed Characters: It takes half the movie for the eponymous Birdemic to appear.
  • Dull Surprise: Most...no, all of the cast.
    • Tree-hugger Tom Hill casually announces that a mountain lion is approaching. He then strolls off screen in an equally unconcerned way.
    • Rod's muted reaction to Nathalie walking out of their hotel bathroom in her underwear ('You look fine'). You'd expect more enthusiasm from a man who has gone to a hotel room with a Victoria's Secret cover girl.
    • Ramsey doesn't seem terribly upset over Becky's death. But neither is the audience since the suspenseful music is playing for a good 15 seconds before the bird actually kills her.
  • Fan Service: Nathalie in her underwear.

 Kevin: (seeing Nathalie) What were people's complaints about this movie again?

Bill: Well, that the acting, dialog, special effects, script, sound editing were all really, really terrible.

Kevin: Yeah, it is pretty great, isn't it?!

  • Funny Background Event: Well, mainly attributed to the terribleness of the film. There are numerous points during the bird attack where people, cars, and actual birds can be seen simply going about their daily business in the background. During one scene, normal highway traffic is passing -- in both directions -- during a scene in which everyone was supposed to have evacuated the city.
  • Gaia's Vengeance: It's implied or rather hammered into your skull that the birds are attacking due to global warming.
  • Genre Shift: So abrupt you can practically hear the gears shifting.
  • Green Aesop: A lot of characters rant about environmental destruction in a way that's totally out of place in the rest of the movie. They mishandle this trope about as much as possible.
    • They don't even give mankind a chance to show its hubris. Rod invents cheap solar power, a company shows interest and is getting ready to distribute it and then the Birdemic happens. The moral of the story apparently is it's already too late.
  • Halfway Plot Switch: The first half of the movie is a romantic comedy. The second half is a horror movie.
  • I'm a Man, I Can't Help It: Rick thinks "a day without sex is a day wasted."
  • Improvised Weapon:
    • They use coat hangers to fight off the birds in the first scene with them. The coat hangers weren't part of Nguyen's original script. Rod and Nathalie were supposed to grab a shower rod from a room to fend off attacking birds. There were no rods available at the Motel 6 where they were filming the scene, but there were coat hangers. The actors were aware of the Narm.

 Whitney Moore: There's not a lot you can do to prepare yourself for something like swatting away non-existent birds with coat hangers. At that point in the shooting, I was pretty much just along for the ride.

    • In Birdemic II coat hangers will be replaced with umbrellas.
  • Improbable Aiming Skills: Averted. The heroes can’t seem to hit birds hovering directly in front of them, with either guns or coat hangers.
    • Later, simultaneously averted and played straight, when the characters shoot at birds in front of a bus. Some shots hit the birds; many others miss, without damaging the bus or hurting the people inside. This means that every shot fired either hit a bird without creating an exit wound, or missed both the birds and the bus completely.
    • As Obscurus Lupa pointed out, Ramsey fires several times and hits nothing, but when Rod shoots once, he gets one. Ramsey had a machine gun and Rod had a pistol.
  • Incest Is Relative: There's hints of this in the song Hangin' Out with the Family which chronicles a family gathering where "...the brothers can't wait to hook up" and "...grandma gets to pancin', to make sure, the fellas, don't try any glancin'!"
  • Informed Ability: All over the place.
    • Perhaps the worst example is Rod who somehow invents cheap affordable solar power between scenes. He comes off not even being intelligent enough for his former salesman job.
    • The actress playing Nathalie is plenty attractive enough to play a model but for someone who just landed a Victoria's Secret gig no one seems to have any confidence in the future of her career.
    • According to Nathalie, Rod is intelligent and charming. We never see any evidence of this.
  • Insurmountable Waist High Fence: Dr Jones is guarding a bridge across two small ponds which would take only a few minutes to walk around.
  • Leave the Camera Running: Many times, most obviously the ending.

 Mike: More drama! He parked in a space for compacts even though his car is not technically a compact.

Kevin: Make sure to get the office number of the office building or they won't know where the building is!

  • Made of Explodium: The birds.
  • Mood Whiplash: As mentioned in the description, the movie shifts abruptly from poorly executed romantic comedy to all out bird assault at the halfway point. The only hints of the Birdemic are in the title of the movie itself and a single brief encounter with a CGI bird carcass on the beach. Although by the time the Birdemic happens, the audience is probably wondering if they're sitting in the wrong movie theater.
  • My Beloved Smother: Nathalie's mom, who -- despite saying she is happy about her daughter's success as a model and her new job as the cover girl for the Victoria's Secret catalog -- is extremely vocal about her belief that Nathalie should give up modeling to go into real estate. There's just something about moms and financial security in movies like this.
  • No Budget: Oh, Great Odin's Raven, yes!
    • Most of the interior scenes were clearly shot inside businesses that were closed for the night, and this is most apparent when Rod and Nathalie go out to a bar & grill after Rod meets Nathalie's mom. The only other people we see in the restaurant are the waiter and the singer!
    • See the above example for Improvised Weapon. According to Whitney Moore, James Nguyen elected to have the actors use coat hangers as weapons rather than a shower curtain rod as scripted. Why? Because the Motel 6 they were filming at didn't have rods in their showers and apparently it would have broken the film's budget to go to a hardware store and spend $8-$16 to buy one.
    • The film has no music budget either, because most of the music is taken right from a catalogue of royalty-free production music and reused blatantly, give or take a few original compositions (and Hangin' Out). Riff Trax notices this right away:

 Bill: (as Nguyen) Hi, I'm making a film and I'd like to pay you for a full score... wow, that much, huh? Well, how about a one minute song and we pause it and loop it again? Deal!

Mike: (as Nguyen) Hi, I'm making a film and I'd like to have it open on one of those long driving shots, you know, where you follow the car from above through a nice landscape... ooh, wow, that much, huh? How about if I just shoot from inside the car with a crappy home video camera? Deal!

    • During the "news" segments, viewers will notice that Nguyen couldn't even afford to have the Getty Images watermark removed from the stock footage.
  • No Ending: The movie does not so much end as coast to a stop.
  • Padding: Dear God, yes. About 90 minutes of it. Including a boardroom scene that, as Joel McHale pointed out, just wouldn't stop. Also, you will eventually reach the point where every time a character enters a car your body will tense up as though your torturer has just returned with heated pliers.
  • Noisy Nature: The "golden eagles" and "turkey vultures" make a constant, repeating seagull cry while attacking.
  • Parody Retcon: Averted! Despite how ridiculously cheap the movie is, James Nyugen -insists- that it was meant to be serious all along.
  • Police Are Useless: The police apparently need to be called because they didn’t notice the birds attacking buildings and exploding.
  • Product Placement:
    • Cameron's Pub (where the bar date with Rod and Nathalie took place) has actually received a small popularity boost from the film, and has even recently held a Birdemic Fest with James Nguyen and "Just Hanging Out" singer Damien Carter.
    • Also inverted with many brand logos being blurred out.
  • Reckless Gun Usage:
  • Right Through His Pants: Apparently how Natalie has sex, given how she wakes up in the hotel. Credit must be given to Rod, though, who apparently had sex wearing a tanktop, slacks, and a belt.
  • Rule of Cool: The hawks make divebomber sounds when attacking buildings. They also cause the buildings to explode.
  • Sanity Slippage: Ramsey suffers one, and "rescues" some people best left unrescued. And the audience.
  • Shout-Out: Several.
    • At one point, the characters go out on a double date to see just An Inconvenient Truth - reportedly one of James Nguyen's favorite movies of all time.
    • There's also several references to another one of Nguyen's favorite films, The Birds.
      • Both movies start out as romances then suddenly change into horror films at the halfway mark.
      • Both films have a dead shopkeeper with their eyes pecked out.
      • The male lead is named in honor of Rod Taylor, the actor who played the romantic lead in The Birds. Nathalie's name could also be a reference to the actor who played the female lead of that movie - Nathalie "Tippi" Hedren.
      • Both films have an environmentalism theme, though Hitchcock's ecological message was subtler by far. Hitchcock had the birds attacking whenever smoke was visible in the background. Nguyen just has random fires and smoke clouds show up.
  • Space Whale Aesop: If you contribute to global warming, the polar ice caps will melt, pine beetles will breed out of control, and angry, exploding animated .GIF birds will attack you.
  • Stalking Is Love: Most models aren't charmed by tech salesmen following them around. Granted, Bagh's bad acting makes him seem creepier than he might be, but his behavior is still odd.
  • Stock Footage Failure: Some of the stock footage shown on the news has a great big Getty Images watermark emblazoned across it, indicating that the movie was too cheap to just buy the footage.
  • Stock Sound Effects: Bicycle bells are bizarrely used as the sound effect for phones, and birds sound like World War II Japanese Zero dive bombers.
  • Suckiness Is Painful: James Nguyen built his own 3D rig for the sequel. If it's done with the care and quality of the first film's special effects, this trope could be literally true.
  • Suspiciously Similar Song: Sometimes the score will sound suspiciously like Vangelis' theme to Chariots of Fire then John Lennon's "Imagine" (shamelessly called "Imagine Peace") at the most inappropriate times.
  • Suspiciously Specific Denial: Unintentional example. Becky gets attacked by a bird. Nathalie empties her gun into the bird sitting on Becky's face, then runs back to the car screaming "She's dead! I didn't do anything!"
  • Technical Pacifist: Ramsey says he left the military because he was tired of all of the killing. Yet, as Phelous snarked, he keeps a loaded M4 and several pistols (and apparently LOTS of ammo) in his van.
  • The Unintelligible: Rod at times, especially when he's talking about his great inventions, slrpnls.
  • X Meets Y: The Birds if it was made by Strong Bad.

Notes

  1. Read two dozen badly done superimposed CGI birds, while real birds go about their business ignoring the human characters
  2. Meaning appears in archive footage. From Nguyen's other film. On a television screen. For one scene.
  3. They were being sarcastic.
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