Dead Birds follows a group of Confederate soldiers who rob a bank and attempt to hide out in an abandoned farm. The derelict house seems like the perfect place to lay low, until the supernatural forces of the house come out. The crew begins to unravel as the greed for the haul blends with the fear of the spirits of the home until it begins to boil over.
Dead Birds Review
Dead Birds is filled with memorable faces of unmemorable names. The only actor I could recall from memory was Michael Shannon. But I recognized most of the lead cast. Michael Shannon's role in the film as a scarce supporting character dated the movie, as this was before it was discovered that Shannon was more than apt at carrying a film on his own. So we're left with the faces without names to fill the script, with only Mark Boone Junior of Sons of Anarchy and Isaiah Washington of Ghost Ship and the amazing Blue Caprice worth noting.
Okay, that's a bit harsh. I searched through the filmographies of the cast, as I recognized a decent chunk of them. Patrick Fugit was in Gone Girl, Horsemen and Almost Famous. Henry Thomas was in Don't Look Up, Gerald's Game and Ouija: Origin of Evil. Nicki Aycox had roles in The Girl on the Train, The X-Files: I Want to Believe, Jeepers Creepers 2 and Perfect Stranger. These people aren't without their credits, but they are also aren't exactly pulling in fans on name recognition.
And unfortunately the writing and directing of Dead Birds drags the entire cast along for a drab haunted house film. This isn't exactly a film on the top of any of their resumes. The haunt goes about as expected after an initial scare that teases something greater than what we get. Seriously, if the rest of the movie had lived up to the creature we are exposed to at the beginning, it would've easily held my attention better than it did.
The plot is interesting enough, but the delivery of its mystery and predictable scares make it nothing more than a dime-a-dozen haunted house flick. It isn't bad, but it's no where near good, even for the subgenre it competes in. And that's truly disheartening considering how much the cast grabbed my interest as my mind began recalling their faces.
The twist is just baffling because it's more confusing than surprising. I just thought, "why?" You can't make a twist without explanation, and I could be wrong, but I saw no call for it. I became desperate for screentime for Washington and Shannon, but given Shannon's overly bigoted character, it was hard to even enjoy that. But you can't have a movie with oldschool confederates and not have a bigot or two, right?
Horror Qualifier: 9/10
Horror Quality: 5/10
Film Quality: 4/10