Go Back  DVD Talk Forum > Entertainment Discussions > Movie Talk
Reload this Page >

Dead Birds is excellent!

Movie Talk A Discussion area for everything movie related including films In The Theaters

Dead Birds is excellent!

Old 03-27-05, 01:29 AM
  #1  
DVD Talk Legend
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Jul 2000
Location: Arizona, USA
Posts: 23,466
Received 7 Likes on 1 Post
Dead Birds is excellent!

Wow - I'm really impressed at this little indie film. It's a 2 million dollar budget horror film set in 1860s Alabama starring Henry Thomas (that kid from E.T.). Henry and his gang of deserters knock over a bank and escape out of town... they head to an old deserted farm house to hide out for the night. Soon they come to realize this house is the last place they want to be. I don't want to give anything away, but it's got a little bit of everything... with touches of Ring, Evil Dead 2, and The Others.

The acting is pretty average... I felt the actors failed to convince that they were reacting to the horrors being shown on screen, but rather something much less horrifying. Still, the horrors were bad enough that I didn't need to be convinced that they were horrible. This film had two of the most chilling moments I've ever seen put on film. This film had an excellent gore factor in it... there was plenty of blood and dismembered body parts. Also - the creatures were fantastic.

Reading reviews around the web I see that many people left this film feeling a bit confused... I think the filmmakers had a very clever script and they even managed to convey the right things the right way and set things up properly, but I think the problem was they didn't really allow anyone in the film to understand what was really going on so it's hard for the audience to feel like they do. It's like the audience wants to second guess themselves.

I really urge you all to go check this film out - it's a bit of a slow burn and fairly amateur, but it still manages to be scary and excitingly gory and refreshingly clever. I give it a 7.5/10 and a . Mainly this film got a few points off for the acting and some for the misfires with the way they unraveled the story... overall though I really liked it and highly recommend it. Fans of indie horror films like May or Ginger Snaps will love this (as long as you don't love those movies just because you think the young starlets are hot, but rather because you love solid indie horror flicks). I know a 7.5/10 doesn't sound like an excellent score, but you know not every great film has to be a 9 or a 10.

So now - anyone else who has seen it...

Spoiler:
what did you make of the ending?
I'd like to hear your thoughts before I share mine... but basically I figure Henry Thomas was a demon and didn't know it (it was hinted at when he walked by the upstairs window and his reflection was a demon) and that there were two planes of existence at that house where the owner had been sacrificing people. However, knowing just that much leaves more questions than answers.
Old 03-27-05, 01:31 AM
  #2  
DVD Talk Legend
 
Matthew Chmiel's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2000
Location: Las Vegas, NV
Posts: 13,262
Likes: 0
Received 1 Like on 1 Post
So is it a dark comedy-horror blending like May and Ginger Snaps? Your description of the flick makes it sound more like a "play it straight" horror film more than anything else, but it does sound interesting....
Old 03-27-05, 01:46 AM
  #3  
DVD Talk Legend
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Jul 2000
Location: Arizona, USA
Posts: 23,466
Received 7 Likes on 1 Post
Not really much comedy-horror... it's pretty straight forward. I guess I referenced those films more because they were similar production values and also had a 'hidden gem' quality to them.

I think you would like it - we often have similar tastes it seems.
Old 03-27-05, 08:42 AM
  #4  
DVD Talk Hero
 
TomOpus's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2002
Location: Kansas City, MO
Posts: 40,141
Received 1,300 Likes on 944 Posts
Thanks, Trigger! Big fan of May and the Ginger Snaps trilogy here.

I saw this at Wal*Mart yesterday and almost picked it up. I was going to check it out but this sounds like as good a recommendation as any. Now I'll look around for the best price.
Old 03-27-05, 05:42 PM
  #5  
DVD Talk Legend
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Jul 2000
Location: Arizona, USA
Posts: 23,466
Received 7 Likes on 1 Post
I don't know if I'd suggest everyone rush out and buy it... I liked this film because it made me scream like a little girl more than a few times. And I mean, I had to stop the DVD a few times and rewind to watch the horrors again and even scream like a little girl again. I'm gonna buy it, but without other people around here saying they've seen it and saying it's good - I don't want to be held responsible for other people buying it and not liking it.
Old 03-27-05, 06:56 PM
  #6  
DVD Talk Hero
 
TomOpus's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2002
Location: Kansas City, MO
Posts: 40,141
Received 1,300 Likes on 944 Posts
Okay, just to let you off the hook, I checked around for reviews:

Gruesome.com , Horror Channel , Bloody Disgusting and Monsters and Critics all gave it a big . Creature Corner said it was neither great, nor bad. I linked the reviews incase others might be curious.
Old 03-27-05, 09:35 PM
  #7  
DVD Talk Special Edition
 
Join Date: Oct 2004
Location: Kentucky
Posts: 1,628
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I approve this thread.
Old 03-27-05, 09:41 PM
  #8  
DVD Talk Legend
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Jul 2000
Location: Arizona, USA
Posts: 23,466
Received 7 Likes on 1 Post
The poster has that - crappy straight-to-video look to it. Usually when you see a cover that looks cool like this featuring the creature that's supposedly in the film, what you end up with is a pile of low-budget crap. The effects in this more than back up the coolness of the cover.

Old 03-27-05, 10:33 PM
  #9  
DVD Talk Hero
 
PopcornTreeCt's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 25,913
Likes: 0
Received 2 Likes on 2 Posts
Kid from Almost Famous is in it.
Old 03-27-05, 10:36 PM
  #10  
DVD Talk Limited Edition
 
Join Date: Jan 2001
Location: Bay Area, CA
Posts: 5,069
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I rented it this past week... i liked it. Good commentaries too from first time director. Worth checking out.
Old 03-27-05, 11:04 PM
  #11  
Needs to contact an admin about multiple accounts
 
Join Date: Sep 2003
Location: Las Vegas, NV
Posts: 2,730
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
"There are worse things than dying"


Last edited by scott shelton; 03-27-05 at 11:11 PM.
Old 03-28-05, 01:05 AM
  #12  
DVD Talk Legend
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Jul 2000
Location: Arizona, USA
Posts: 23,466
Received 7 Likes on 1 Post
well... there are... :/
Old 03-28-05, 07:31 AM
  #13  
DVD Talk Hall of Fame
 
LiquidSky's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 1999
Location: Pokey Dot Lounge, Nashville, TN
Posts: 9,199
Received 3 Likes on 3 Posts
Originally Posted by Trigger
Spoiler:
what did you make of the ending?
I'd like to hear your thoughts before I share mine... but basically I figure Henry Thomas was a demon and didn't know it (it was hinted at when he walked by the upstairs window and his reflection was a demon) and that there were two planes of existence at that house where the owner had been sacrificing people. However, knowing just that much leaves more questions than answers.
Spoiler:
Trigger, I agree with you. I feel like some of the characters turned into demons and others were sacrificed. Didn't Henry Thomas or one of the other's shoot a creature/demon when they first arrived near the farm house? (I cannot remember if they shot it or just found it dead). At the end, Henry Thomas is shot because he was seen in creature/demon form.
Old 03-28-05, 07:58 AM
  #14  
DVD Talk Gold Edition
 
Join Date: Jul 2002
Posts: 2,065
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Cheers for the review. I thought about buying this, but I think I'll wait until it drops in price a bit
Old 03-28-05, 09:15 AM
  #15  
DVD Talk Special Edition
 
Join Date: Jun 2001
Location: Virginia
Posts: 1,114
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I've had this in my Netflix queue for a little while, may have to move it to the top of the list.
Old 03-28-05, 09:50 AM
  #16  
DVD Talk Legend
 
d2cheer's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 1999
Posts: 11,476
Received 263 Likes on 191 Posts
I thought it was OK nothing great... and I will mention I do like movies like this. I thought May and Ginger Snaps were great. I do agree with Trigger about the ending.

I watched this and Tope Hoopers The Toolbox Murders and I enjoyed the Tool Box Murders a lot more. BTW the gal from May is the star of the Tool Box Murders...

Dead Birds I would give a 5 1/2 out of 10
Tool Box I would give a solid 8. A lot better than I could have hoped...
Old 03-28-05, 12:35 PM
  #17  
DVD Talk Legend
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Jul 2000
Location: Arizona, USA
Posts: 23,466
Received 7 Likes on 1 Post
Well now I have to watch Tool Box Murders to see if I like it so much more than Dead Birds.
Old 04-02-05, 01:44 AM
  #18  
DVD Talk Godfather
 
The Bus's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2001
Location: New York
Posts: 54,916
Received 19 Likes on 14 Posts
A Most Disappointing Film!

I usually hold opinions here in high regard, and am able to sit through indie/slow films without a problem. (For example, I enjoyed Frailty). But Dead Birds is one of the POOREST "serious" horror movies I have seen in a LONG time. I'm a fan of all types of horror, and I think the premise of Birds is a bit hackneyed (terrible thing happens to family,
Spoiler:
they come back as ghosts
). That said, the material is somewhat fresh and inventive (set in 1860s, stolen gold subplot), and the director completely wastes it. Just utterly wastes the potential.

Let's go through some key points.

You need to have a scary house. Just because a house is remote, or big, or empty, or poorly lit, doesn't make it scary. In this movie, the house is as bland as possible. It's just a dirty plantation home that is poorly lit! There's nothing scary about it. The only establishing shots of how ominous it is are all from the exact same spot, catching the house at a quarter profile, with the shot from underneath. If it wasn't for the poor maintenance or overgrown grass, you'd think it was from a real estate brochure. Inside, the camera keeps a personal distance from each person, but never fully pulls back and lets you explore the space. The end result is a bunch of mediocre actors standing in what looks like a dirty tarp. In a house this huge, we should get a feeling of how alone and isolated everyone is. We don't. The camera is relentlessly in your face. I think there's probably 4 long shots in the movie, if that.

The storm. Are you kidding me? To make this scary, you want to make it a dark and stormy night? The storm has no effect on the characters except they deciding that they can only move on "once the storm has died down" and with the exception of some foley effects and flashstrobes to represent thunder and lightning, nothing else happens. People get outside and get wet in a mild shower. You couldn't ride the horse if its drizzling? Look at the storm in the Texas Chainsaw Massacre remake. Look at the rain in Argento's Suspiria. Those are STORMS! Give us that, not an inconvinience.

The editing and pacing. This was the most atrocious, and absolutely killed the movie for me and for the people I was watching with. When a movie that is only 90 minutes make you check the time at 15 minutes, you know it's plodding along. I could very easily cut about 20 minutes off of and not affect anything about the movie. The interminable shots of people walking through a dark house (that somehow seems cozy!) are grating after you see the first two.

Special effects. This gets a good grade. The technical aspect of the effects was extremely good considering the budget.... But... We've seen these before. We've seen Ring. we've seem Grudge. what is so scary about a face with a scary mouth?

I'll probably edit more tomorrow. My review is for 4/10 stars. Don't believe the hype... please.
Old 04-02-05, 06:05 AM
  #19  
DVD Talk Legend
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Jul 2000
Location: Arizona, USA
Posts: 23,466
Received 7 Likes on 1 Post
This is why I suggested a rental. I had a few of the same problems with it that you had, but none of it 'ruined' the film for me. I mean, this thing was made for 2 mil which is nothing for any movie in general much less a film like this. Part of me agrees with you on the way they filmed the house - it was a little bland... but then again, that's more authentic for the time period I think. Also, the fact that they kept it tight on the characters gave me more of a clausterphobic feeling. Sometimes haunted house movies where they focus on the house itself and give the sense of large open spaces and lots of detail take away all of the scariness for me... like with that shitty Haunting movie with Liam Neeson. Old farmhouses don't always have to have tons of character. And besides - even though this was a haunted house type movie, it was more psychological and had to do with the characters rather than the house.

Another thing about the establishing shots of the house - they said the corn field was like 200 yards away from the house which is why they had to film it at that angle.
Old 04-11-05, 11:47 AM
  #20  
Moderator
 
Giles's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 1999
Location: Washington DC
Posts: 33,630
Received 17 Likes on 13 Posts
Originally Posted by The Bus
The editing and pacing. This was the most atrocious, and absolutely killed the movie for me and for the people I was watching with. When a movie that is only 90 minutes make you check the time at 15 minutes, you know it's plodding along. I could very easily cut about 20 minutes off of and not affect anything about the movie. The interminable shots of people walking through a dark house (that somehow seems cozy!) are grating after you see the first two.
I agree, I thought that after thirty minutes into the movie it almost came to a complete stop. It could have easily been trimmed of an additional ten minutes. Other than that I thought the only other tiny flaw was the casting. All in all, I thought it was pretty inventive and fun, but it could have been better.

grade: C
Old 04-11-05, 04:11 PM
  #21  
DVD Talk Legend
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Jul 2000
Location: Arizona, USA
Posts: 23,466
Received 7 Likes on 1 Post
Originally Posted by d2cheer
I thought it was OK nothing great... and I will mention I do like movies like this. I thought May and Ginger Snaps were great. I do agree with Trigger about the ending.

I watched this and Tope Hoopers The Toolbox Murders and I enjoyed the Tool Box Murders a lot more. BTW the gal from May is the star of the Tool Box Murders...

Dead Birds I would give a 5 1/2 out of 10
Tool Box I would give a solid 8. A lot better than I could have hoped...
Watched Tool Box Murders the other night... I thought it was terrible. Bad sets, continuity errors that were blatant and laughable, awful acting across the board, really stupid premise and set-up, and generic and predictable everything. So much of the film was just so silly that I couldn't get past it. The film's only saving grace were a couple of the murders - and they only come alive in the deleted/extended scenes where they can be viewed in all their bloody glory. Even so, it's not worth watching just for that. The trailer gives away every single death and even the ending. It's kinda similar to the 78 film of the same name, but with things added to the script - like a curse they never really resolve and a backstory for the killer that doesn't really make any sense. I appreciate the recommendation and don't want to discourage more, but this one was lousy IMO. I watched half of Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 after watching this and was still so focused on continuity and whatnot coming off the first film that I almost forgot why I liked TCM2 - until they get to the family's hideout.
Old 04-24-05, 12:04 PM
  #22  
DVD Talk Limited Edition
 
Rival11's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
Location: Western N.Y.
Posts: 7,356
Received 191 Likes on 128 Posts
I would ike to first say that this is one of the best horror flicks I've seen in a long time...so good in fact that I won't even bother reading any negative reviews about it.

It creeped the shit out of me and made me jump more than once (something that rarely ever happens).

I would have to say the thing I love most about this film is that it stays and holds you at 3 levels: fucking dark, creepy, & disturbing. The film never really gives you a break, you're always locked into it and after a scare, you're only allowed to turn to another dark room (you'll know what I mean when you see it) very few horror films operate this way anymore.

Some may complaing about the films pace but I found it just right and really wanted it to move slow once they found the house.

Dead Birds is an excellent film, plain and simple. Just buy it.

Trigger -
Spoiler:
The house turned them into demons. I don't remember the dialouge word for word but there was a part where one of the crew said that they (the demons) were messing with them and that they would not make it alive (it was that sam dude when he was possessed). If you think about it, the fat dude that was pulled into the well killed the black dude (corn field) the dude at the end killed the girl before she could kill him (no noise when she ran past him) basically to me, the demon was jumping from body to body and everytime he tried to escape (the demon that is, remember he was stuck to) and was almost there.......here come some newbies again to try their shot at the house and killing him (the skinned beast) in the process.
Old 04-24-05, 11:31 PM
  #23  
Banned
 
Join Date: Aug 2002
Posts: 890
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I completely agree with The Bus..... The pacing was terrible. I kept looking at the clock wondering when the damn thing would be over. I was completely bored. There was too much walking around the house and not enough back story. Maybe that was on purpose so they could do a sequel who knows.
I'd give it a C-......
Old 04-25-05, 09:42 AM
  #24  
DVD Talk Ultimate Edition
 
Join Date: Apr 2004
Location: Rampaging across DVDTalk.
Posts: 4,046
Likes: 0
Received 2 Likes on 2 Posts
I was looking at buying this blind, but after some of the comments above I think I'll just wait and rent instead. Thanks for the heads-up!
Old 04-25-05, 01:17 PM
  #25  
DVD Talk Legend
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Jul 2000
Location: Arizona, USA
Posts: 23,466
Received 7 Likes on 1 Post
Yeah - it's not guaranteed to blow everyone away - some will love it, some won't.

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Terms of Service -

Copyright © 2024 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.