Bird’s II: Land’s End, The (1994)

The Birds II: Land's End (1994)

History Has A Nasty Way Of Repeating Itself.

A family decide to spend summer on the island of Land’s End but when they get there, they find that birds are starting to attack people.

 

When talking about random sequels, surely The Birds II: Land’s End must crop up there in the conversation. Made thirty-one years after Hitchcock unleashed his feathered friends upon Bodega Bay, this pointless sequel wasn’t even deemed worthy enough to be turned into a cinematic release, instead ending up as some half-baked TV movie.

The first thing you’ll notice (or maybe not originally notice…but now you will since I’m drawing your attention to it) is the directing credit. The actual credit is Alan Smithee, a well-used pseudonym taken on by directors who are too ashamed of the final cut of the film for whatever reason and decide to hide their identity – and the Director’s Guild prohibits the disclosure of such reasons. Well to name and shame him regardless of reasons, it’s Rick Rosenthal! Now I’m not saying that Rosenthal thought that this was a total pile of a crap (well you don’t need to think it, it is) and therefore he removed his name from the credits to avoid embarrassment. It may turn out that the film has been cut or censored in some way without his involvement and therefore he has some reason to disown it. Ah who am I kidding – the film is a complete turkey and Rosenthal knows it.

There’s no reason for The Birds II: Land’s End to exist except for shameless cashing-in purposes. There was no story left to tell – the bird attacks were simply a random event and, as the ending showed, it all seemed to sort itself out. But here the bird attacks are shoe-horned into the whole ‘nature getting revenge for pollution’ motive which immediately kills any sense that these are random attacks. Once the script starts explaining the reasoning, there’s no sense of mystery and a logical solution (stop polluting) is found. The Birds II: Land’s End also brazenly rehashes most of the original’s best moments but fails to recapture any of the suspense, tension of general eeriness that the original had. You just know that by the finale, the main characters are going to barricade themselves in an isolated house in an attempt to wait out the birds.

There are a couple of obligatory and quite pointless side stories that are there to fill the gaps in between the bird attacks. It’s your usual TV movie drama filler designed to get us emotionally involved with the characters……ya ya ya. The sentimental and emotional heartstring tugging is all a bit forced down our throats for the sake of it. Heck, they even use the ‘mayor refuses to accept the presence of a monster because it will hurt the town’s economy’ Jaws-formula which was a bit weird to see.

The bird attacks do get a bit gorier – thirty-one years after the original, there’s no way that they were going to be any less brutal. I say ‘bird attacks’ though because the complete lack of birds means that there’s only a handful of them doing the attacking at any one time. There are nowhere near the massive flocks of birds that attacked in the original. But at least this was made before the advent of CGI cheapies so the birds are all real, when you eventually get around to seeing them attack people. The last ten minutes or so are actually reasonably entertaining but it’s a pity that no one bothered to make sure the rest of the film was entertaining.

Tippi Hedren also shamelessly makes a cameo appearance as a totally unrelated character to the one she played in the original, though at least she has said since that it was absolutely horrible and it embarrasses her horribly. Rod Taylor was still kicking around at the time (not that he was dead at the time of writing) so it’s a wonder they didn’t just bring them both back and do a proper sequel with the same characters or even descendants of the pair. It would have been a darn sight more interesting than what we get here.

 

The Birds II: Land’s End is just a wholly pointless and feeble rehash of the original with loads of B-movie clichés thrown in for good measure. Remaking and rehashing Hitchcock’s classics can be done with certain degrees of success as some of the Psycho sequels proved – you just need to have money, talent and passion to do it (things that no one here displays).

 

 ★★☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆ 

 

 

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