Dead Birds

2004

Dead Birds

Critics Consensus

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50%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 8

40%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 8,508
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Movie Info

A handful of thieves discover they have more to worry about than the law in this independent horror story, set during the Civil War. William (Henry Thomas) is the leader of a group of runaway Confederate soldiers who, with the help of an escaped slave and an Army nurse, stage a daring robbery at a bank holding a cache of rebel gold. The heist does not go smoothly, and William's associates soon fall into in-fighting as they head toward Mexico with their stolen fortune. Needing a place to rest for the night, the criminals set up camp in a mansion overlooking an abandoned plantation, but it soon becomes obvious that the old house is not as empty as they thought, as a handful of angry ghosts make their presence known while William and his cohorts fight over the gold. Also featuring Isaiah Washington, Patrick Fugit, and Michael Shannon, Dead Birds was the first feature film from director Alex Turner.

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Critic Reviews for Dead Birds

All Critics (8) | Fresh (4) | Rotten (4)

Audience Reviews for Dead Birds

  • Mar 21, 2014
    I find that the effective depiction of horror remains elusive for the vast majority of those in the trade. I truly believe that they have forgotten what is truly scary. Here we have a story with promise..ghost house with criminals hiding out in it with an H.P. Lovecraft feel. Then it descends into unnecessary gore and bad special effects to unravel completely by the end.
    John B Super Reviewer
  • Sep 19, 2013
    This was really an interesting Horror Movie I have seen since long time.
    NaWie M Super Reviewer
  • Aug 03, 2011
    5.4/10 "Dead Birds" is the kind of flick that you want to like, yet don't end up very disappointed when it turns out that you don't. And believe me when I said that I didn't like the film; but also believe me when I say that it's better than it needs to be. It was essentially another one of those direct-to-video horror films, but it's more watchable than say, "The Sick House" or "The Hills Run Red". This is a well-made, well-acted, interestingly conceived film that lacks the story-telling and proper character development that could have made it a winner. I admire what it's doing and what the filmmakers are trying to do, but with a bit of luck, I think they can do a little better. So I'll try to be as optimistic as possible about the movie. I have no doubts that some horror fans will be all over it for its choice to drown us in jump-scares and "atmosphere" instead of gore. However, this is a haunted-house movie, and it's a better-made one than most, but most of it is purely visual; thus, nothing is ever truly scary. No thought goes into the horror, and no thought goes into the story. It's simplistic, and at the same time, it tries to be something more. But as I said; it's a decent movie. It is competent, but it just kind of fades, not long after you've seen it. The film starts out interestingly enough with a party of named-but-uncharacterized bandits robbing a bank and escaping town, thus evading the law. The weather is not on their side, and it begins to rain that very night. They camp out in an old, abandoned mansion; which is close-by a creepy cornfield; reminiscent of most classic movie creepy-cornfields. However, after a game of cards, some love-making, and a whole lot of pointless exploring; the bandits soon discover that they're not alone. Something terrible occurred in that house and in those cornfields; a murder, an execution, and demonic possession. Beings from hell now inhabit that house, and they are very much prepared to do battle with the heroes of the story. I wouldn't have a problem with that being "it" for the film's story, since that pretty much IS "it" when it comes to that, but the film consistently hints at making itself some complex, well-researched...thing; but it's just not that. I wouldn't say it's necessarily lazy when it comes to building tension, but it never gets that feel that it's edging towards the entire time. It's not scary, it's not always eerie, and it's basically just a visual orgy of undeniable creepiness; but that isn't enough for me. I was overjoyed to see talented actors such as Michael Shannon and Patrick Fugit involved in the film. Each talented actor is indeed talented; and they bring...at least their B-game to the film. Yes, you won't find anyone's "best performance" here, but for a not-so-well-known and more-so-obscure horror movie, you've got to give the director credit for at least containing these performances and these actors. There's some good cinematography, some decent effects, and some first-rate ambition. I'd say that more could be done with this premise, and I mean it, but I don't necessarily want a remake when I say that. "Dead Birds" might as well be good for what it is, but I found the characters so grossly undeveloped, and the story so absurd at times, that it just wasn't believable enough. It wasn't aiming for camp; it was clearing trying to be a real, scary movie; something that it's not. Critics say it has scares, and I wonder what they mean by that. Do they refer to the demons with the hollow eyes and the sharp fangs hiding under the bed? Do they refer to the demonic-dog-thing that pounces on the heroes in the beginning of the film? None of that should be considered scary. There is a difference between jumping and being truly frightening. "Dead Birds" is not the slightest bit thought-provoking, and at the same time, it's not the slightest bit dumb. I have sympathy for it, just not too, too much.
    Ryan M Super Reviewer
  • Jun 08, 2011
    This movie is SCARY. It is very slow paced but the pace quickly picks up. The scary and disturbing imagery in this film are amazing...and the acting and setting is pretty good too. It's not the bloodiest movie in the world, but it sure is one of the creepiest.
    Jacob P Super Reviewer

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