Fantastic Fest, one of the largest and most revered North American Film Festivals catering to all things good in the weird, wonderful, horrific, and obscure since 2005, has brought in countless cinephiles from around the globe to Austin, Texas. In the most robust offering since that pesky little life-altering pandemic, this year the Fest salutes Park Chan Wook with a Lifetime Achievement accolade with the U.S. premiere of his film, Decision to Leave, hosts David Ferrier’s nearly incomprehensible documentary, Mr. Organ, alongside presenting the U.S. premiere of indie horror phenom, Damien Leone’s, Terrifier 2. But let us not forget Birdemic 3: Sea Eagle – sneaking in under the radar of more high caliber cinema. Birdemic 3 is actually a (somewhat) anticipated sequel.
Back in 2010, writer and director James Nguyen presented unsuspecting fans of lowbrow entertainment with the experience of a lifetime with Birdemic: Shock and Terror. Swooping in with B movie swagger, Nguyen’s original Birdemic quickly found a home on the shelves of countless collectors courtesy of Severin Films, and thanks to word of mouth, many dove in and helped establish its cult status.
After a lukewarm reception to Birdemic 2: The Resurrection (2013), Nguyen was not deterred from completing his trilogy following flocks of angry, killer birds attacking residents of California coastal towns. Gaining enough funds and affirmative head nods to go on and create, Birdemic 3: Sea Eagle, Nguyen did not skimp on what made the original so wonderful. Ripe with abysmal sound, dry acting, and exhaustively long scenes, sprinkled with plenty of awkward dances and romantic advances, B3 is a force to be reckoned with. A force that is very divisive, I will admit. Where my girlfriend won’t let me forget that she will never regain those 83 minutes of her life watching B3, I remember plenty of laughter and applause for the complete absurdity of it all. Birdemic 3 taps into plenty of what made the original so goddamn golden, but in my humble opinion, falls short of what we all hoped and wished for in this third installment.
Let’s face it, we’re all here for the awful CGI birds and their ‘kills’ but unfortunately it takes quite a while for those to make an entrance. Instead, we get an aggressive PSA on global warming and its dangers. I have never witnessed so many random individuals being consecutively concerned, knowledgeable, and opinionated about such a topic thus creating knee-slapping laughter. With dispassionate protesters chanting “Instintinction Insurrection,” to bikers just trying to enjoy a warm Modelo in the woods, B3 can be a beleaguering movie-going experience for some, but for others, it will be one of the best beer-drenched evenings ever.