The Birds Reviews
It's often said that a Hitchcock film has two plots: in the beginning there is an innocuous plot, but then something unexpected happens that overtakes the film. For example, Psycho is about a woman stealing money from her employer until Norman Bates appears thirty minutes later. Notorious is about a love story between Cary Grant and Ingrid Bergman until it becomes a spy flick about thirty minutes later. The Birds follows this formula, but the problem is that the initial story is so damn boring. The love story between Mitch and Melanie gathers no steam, and the Breaking Bad credits have more chemistry than Rod Taylor and Tippi Hedren. Once the birds start pecking away at people's eyes, I had already given up on caring about these characters.
Also, the film refuses to answer why the birds go nuts, and while I don't think it's necessary that the film answer this question, the film's steadfast apathy for wherefores got overbearing when a character asked why for the fourth or fifth time.
What I can say about the film is that Hitch's work changes the way people look at the world. The Birds is not a strong film, but I did notice myself paying closer attention to birds as I drove to work. It's irrational but also the mark of director who can affect his audience in mysterious ways.
A wealthy San Francisco socialite pursues a potential boyfriend to a small Northern California town that slowly takes a turn for the bizarre when birds of all kinds suddenly begin to attack people there in increasing numbers and with increasing viciousness.
Before and since "The Birds", you've had all manner of creatures to make their impact in horror films. The brilliance of Alfred Hitchcock is that he doesn't go for the obvious - the great white shark, the rampaging gorilla, or the Jurassic dinosaur. What could be more welcome than a few songbirds to brighten up and add some cheer to an otherwise ordinary day? As the crows congregated in the schoolyard it seemed like they exuded evil in a strange way, foreshadowing an event outside the normal scheme of things. With all the slash and gore spectacle prevalent in horror films today, one has a keen sense as a viewer that nothing presented on screen is real. But take one look at the plucked out eyes of farmer Dan Fawcett slumped against the wall of his home, and you begin to wonder, wow! could something like that ever really happen?
Offsetting the grim spectacle of the bird attacks, I thought Hitchcock did a nicely nuanced job with some offbeat humor that might not seem obvious at first. Would a pair of caged lovebirds really respond to inertia the way the ones in Melanie's car did taking those curves on the road to Bodega Bay? I thought that was a neat touch. And how about shortly after the sparrow attack at the Daniels home, when the diner waitress orders baked potato with the fried chicken? Hitchcock's little way of a preemptive strike on the feathered set before things really get going.
As for the players, Tippi Hedren did a commendable job in virtually her very first screen role. There was something mysterious to her persona that might have been construed as to contributing to the bird attacks. That idea was voiced later in the story by the panicked mother who wanted to leave town as quickly as possible with her daughter. I couldn't really warm up to the idea of Veronica Cartwright and Rod Taylor portraying a brother and sister with the apparent age disparity, but that wound up working out OK.
Before closing I have to throw out this bit of ornithological trivia, and I'm curious why Hitchcok didn't use it in the film. There was in fact a reference to a flock of crows in the picture, but the more accurate description would have been a 'murder of crows'. Seriously, you could look it up, the term came about because a group of crows is known to kill an already dying animal in order to feed. A whole bunch of them looks kind of spooky too!
Although it kept me interested the storyline was pretty terrible and the ending was pretty abrupt as well.
Not to sure id recommend this to anyone.
While Shymalan tried to horrify us with the wind and plant pollen, Hitchcock decides to remind us of how many more birds there are than humans, and how sharp beaks are just as capable of plucking out eyes and stabbing flesh as they are at pecking seeds. If you scoff at the idea of birds being deadly...well, imagine yourself in any of the various terrifying and menacing situations that these characters face throughout The Birds. The last 15 minutes are as tense as almost anything I've ever seen in movie
The ordinary and frivolous opening of the story is a perfect segue into the unexpected horror that descends on the small coastal town of Bodega Bay. There's a slow, menacing buildup to the action, and it definitely serves to lull you into an easy calm that shatters all the harder once the feathers start flying. And we never know why. Great movie.
If you like great horror movies, I definitely recommend getting "The Birds." Don't think that just because it was made in 1963 that it's not a good horror movie, because it is, it's a classic from Alfred Hitchcock. Hitchcock definitely did a good job directing the movie, and everybody in the movie did a good job of acting. All the horror scenes, especially the one where the birds are almost pecking through the wooden door and the major attack on Melanie at the end of the movie are well done. NOTE: That was my Amazon review from the year 2000. I still remember the night I watched that movie...extremely memorable and if you think about it, scary...just think if animals decided to turn on us like that! And seagulls have always been my favorite type of bird!