Thursday, September 26, 2013

Halloween Countdown Day 34 - Dead Birds (2004)

“You have to follow certain rituals to be heard. Most think of them as spirits or ghosts, but they’ve always been here. They exist in a world around our own. They want to change this world.” - Clyde

Greetings again my fated, faithful followers. I've got a film that perhaps a few of you haven't heard of. A little movie by the name of Dead Birds. This is the only film directed by Alex Turner that I've seen, and when I've tried mentioning it to others, I usually get blank stares and raised brows.

Dead Birds is a very odd duck amongst horror films (hehe). Or more precisely, you don't get very many historical horror movies floating around. So, it gets points for uniqueness early on. While I usually stray from plot examples, in this case I wouldn't be spoiling much for you in fact, it has a plot that is reminiscent of a Vault of Horror or Tales from the Crypt style story. A bunch of Confederate Army deserters hold up a Confederate bank to get gold, kill some people along the way and hide in an abandoned farmhouse for the night. As these are some not very nice people in a horror flick, you'd be same in assume some very, very, bad stuff is about to happen to them.

A lot of stuff is going on in Dead Birds. You obviously have the deserters turned bank robbers (who don't trust each other very far to begin with) staying the night in an abandoned, creeky farmhouse. But then characters start seeing and experiencing odd phenomena. They chalk it up to certain members of their little group trying to psyche out the others, or nerves. Of course, we know that that isn't the case because it's a horror flick.


Speaking of nerves, Alex Turner knows how to turn on the tension. While this film takes a while to get cooking, when it gets started it goes! Atmosphere plays a big part of this film. Characters move in and out of grainy shots in oddly lit rooms, the doors and floorboards creak, the walls are stained with who knows what, and the only light are the flickering lanterns held by our unfortunate would-be robbers.

While the pacing can be a bit odd, and a line here or there can seem off or a little filled with cheese, it isn't an overall detraction from Dead Birds. Plus it has Michael Shannon in it. What else could you want?


Until next time.

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