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Birdemic 2: The Resurrection


2013 | 78 min | Not rated | 1.85:1

Birdemic 2: The Resurrection

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Theatrical release date


 26 April, 2013

Country of origin


 United States

Technical aspects


3D (converted)

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Birdemic 2: The Resurrection Preview  

4
 / 10
Preview by Brian Orndorf, April 25, 2013

The key to 2010’s “Birdemic: Shock and Terror” was its sincerity. It was a genuinely awful feature from an enormously incompetent filmmaker, a man who thought he could match his idol Alfred Hitchcock in the suspense department, only to make a mind-numbingly tedious, technically disastrous picture about global warming, attacking birds, and young people dealing with vaguely defined vocational triumphs. Of course, it was hilarious to watch, leaning into every last creative pothole writer/director James Nguyen created, studying a movie that had absolutely no ambition beyond being a movie, and it often failed at that. Molded into a midnight movie phenomenon, sold on its badness, “Birdemic: Shock and Terror” transformed into something of a hit. And with any unexpected cinematic success comes a sequel, whether we want one or not.



Bill (Thomas Favaloro) is a struggling Hollywood director eager to overcome his previous failures and rebound with the indie production, “Sunset Dreams.” Requiring financial help from buddy Rod (Alan Bagh), Bill is able to make his filmmaking dreams come true, moving forward with a cast that includes Rod’s girlfriend Nathalie (Whitney Moore) and waitress Gloria (Chelsea Turnbo). As the shoot commences, other troubles quickly pop into view, with a downpour of blood rain unleashing the horror of prehistoric eagles and vultures from the La Brea Tar Pits, with the winged menace taking to the skies once again to destroy all humans. Teaming up with key production personnel and Jessica the Cowgirl (Brittany N. Pierce), Rod, Nathalie, Bill, and Gloria slip into survival mode, seeking shelter on movie backlots, while visiting old friends such as Tree Hugger (Stephen Gustavson), Dr. Jones (Rick Camp), and Nancy (Patsy van Ettinger). And if deadly, explosive birds weren’t enough of a threat, two violent Neanderthals and a pack of zombies move in for the kill as well, forcing the gang to shoot, punch, and clothes hanger (and karate and tripod) their way to safety.

To put it simply: “Birdemic: Shock and Terror” was a joke, “Birdemic 2: The Resurrection” is in on the joke. Profiting from ridicule, Nguyen has returned to the site of his greatest shame, only here the tone is tongue-in-cheek, with full awareness of audience anticipation driving the sequel’s sense of recycling and ridiculousness. It’s disappointing to find the helmer electing a self-parody route for his second “Birdemic” adventure. At least, I hope it’s self-parody, watching the film revive atrocious sound recording, random camera moves, static acting, and appalling visual effects (we have the birds, but also a CGI ambulance and an “underwater” jellyfish attack) to set the mood, essentially reprocessing soiled elements that defined the original “Birdemic” viewing experience. Nguyen adds a distinct wink to the proceedings, carefully managing the movie’s imperfections in a manner that plays to the fanbase instead of occurring naturally. One would think that hindsight alone would be enough to keep “The Resurrection” miles ahead of its predecessor, but people won’t pay to see basic directorial aptitude. They want awful.



“The Resurrection” is a rehash, once again greeting ambitious men on the hunt for success and the subservient women who love them. Switching the setting from Half Moon Bay (the original battleground for avian-based panic that nobody seems to remember) to Hollywood shakes up the visual possibilities of the franchise, moving away from lonely roads to the Universal backlot, where the bird busters do battle with their hovering foe on the “Jaws” tram tour set, also visiting a western location as the team marches their way across town (the potential for a “Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure” romp through various studio sets is cruelly avoided). A few technical advancements also separate the movies, observing more greenscreen used during “The Resurrection,” while animation on the prehistoric sky demons is slightly more detailed. And for audience members who felt a little shortchanged in the exploitation department during “Shock and Terror,” the sequel provides a little nudity and a newfound interest in gore, with slashed necks and acid-blasted faces littering the landscape.

For Nguyen, the return to “Birdemic” also allows for additional tributes to his cinema influences. A tinny Herrmannesque score carries throughout the feature, while a shot of Tippi Hedren’s Hollywood Walk of Fame star is highlighted. Backgrounds display Hitchcock posters as well, and “The Resurrection” concludes with a motel pool homage to “Sunset Boulevard.” It’s interesting to note this reverence, as Nguyen has clearly studied the finest moviemaking masters during his life, yet he can’t even keep his own picture, his fourth film(!), in focus. Perhaps technique was lost in translation.



The acting is catastrophic, editing was likely achieved while blindfolded, the science is dubious, the ecological message is blurred, and the death birds arrive in more of a cameo role, refused their rightful place as the primary antagonist (once again summoned after a chaste sex scene, though the script keeps blaming global warming for their arrival). The addition of zombies and Neanderthals is more distracting than vital to the madness of the picture, attempting to make the endeavor more meme-worthy, aiming for slapstick in a movie that’s already spent its allotment of silliness. Nguyen also exits without an ending, though that really shouldn’t come as a surprise.



“Birdemic 2: The Resurrection” is simply too aware to be of much value, trading blissful ignorance for a more calculated attempt to transform into a cult oddity. Fans of the original picture should get a kick out of seeing old friends, enemies, and singers (Damien “Just Hanging Out” Carter returns with more music to stop the movie with) again, but the screwball trainwreck magic is missing, replaced with a nagging comedic consciousness that suggests Nguyen understands his specialized malarkey a little more than he’s been letting on.

Starring: Whitney Moore, Alan Bagh, Chelsea Turnbo
Director: James Nguyen

» See full cast & crew


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