Flu Birds (2008)

Flu Birds (2008)

If They Fly You Die

A group of juvenile offenders on a rehabilitation camping trip are terrorised by a flock of birds which have been mutated by some sort of disease. The disease can be passed on to humans – if their victims survive long enough!

 

Remember that big bird flu scare a couple of years ago? Yeah me neither. I guess someone was paying attention to the news though and was scared to death at the thought of being infected with avian flu because here we have a horror film about avian flu, only a couple of years too late. I thought the idea of cashing on something real was to get it made whilst it was still in the public eye? Nowadays we have got to worry more about swine flu (only a matter of time before we have a killer pigs flick…oh wait).

Besides, who would be as stupid and gullible enough to give this sort of story the green light? Oh that’s right, my friends at The Sci-Fi Channel and their single-studio quest to release the most monster-on-the-loose flicks ever. If you’ve seen any films from them or even read my other reviews for their output, you’ll know that I’m not a big fan of their work even though it’s right down my genre alley. They have made one or two decent flicks but the majority out and out suck. Will Flu Birds be any different?

Bottom line: no! I’ll give the film a bit of credit to begin with as it gets straight to the point within the opening few minutes as the ‘birds’ are on screen almost from the get-go by dispatching a pair of hunters in the woods. But the film dispenses with any story, characters or logic by doing so. The teenage offenders group is just a dire way to get people into the woods. My eyes rolled when the offenders are all defined by their crimes including one being a prostitute and one being a computer hacker who got into the FBI’s systems. I don’t see why their crimes should be relevant to anything but defining their character without further dialogue – for instance, you know the prostitute is a slut and thus when she removes her top later in the film, it’s expected. The only character of note here is played by Sarah Butler who is not only cute but at least gives her ‘final girl’ character some common sense and reason.

On the opposite side to that we have Jonathon Trent really pushing the wrong buttons as the ‘I don’t care about anyone except me’ jackass who lasts way too long in the film. Lance Guest is in here too and I’m guessing he’s the token ‘star name’ that these films have to put on the front cover (but star name is pushing it). He’s looking pretty fat nowadays and I’m guessing he needs the work after Jaws, The Revenge killed his career. But he doesn’t do much except drive around in a jeep so its easy money. Rounding off the cast is the usual array of Eastern European actors with really dodgy accents. I’ve stressed this in the past but I HATE having the supporting cast being local actors who can’t speak English very well and sound like they are trying to win an Oscar. Just keep them to non-speaking parts please!

Flu Birds is such a misleading title too as the crow-looking feathered freak on the front cover looks nothing like the pterodactyl-like monstrosities on display here. They are a mixture of CGI and puppetry (and even looking like guys in rubber suits at times) and to be honest, they don’t look that bad. I’ll at least give the film some props for using something ‘real’ and creating the puppets. I don’t get quite how they have been mutated into these pterodactyls but at least they’re hungry, if somewhat stupid. They are well fed throughout the film but aren’t used nearly as much as they should have been. The deaths are pretty gory which is a big plus and entrails and intestines are regularly pulled out by their sharp claws and peaks.

Bizarrely, Flu Birds runs almost like two separate films for the bulk of the running time. Obviously there’s the plot about the offenders being attacked in the woods and trying to escape and survive. But then there’s also a 28 Days Later-like story about the flu breaking out in a hospital and it having to be quarantined. The two run side-by-side for little purpose other than to show the audience that these birds can kill you in two ways: rip you apart or give you some disease. It would have been better had the infected people turn into zombies or something but they just die slowly and horribly which means a lot of scenes of nurses and doctors and dodgy government officials running around trying to cover everything up without starting a panic. I think this part of the film is just to bulk up the running time. The two plots eventually come together at the end when the government wants to destroy the birds and the teenagers must get out of the woods before it’s too late. But unfortunately for them, it’s way too late in the running time to make a difference.

 

Flu Birds is yet another terrible entry into the never-ending slew of Sci-Fi Channel releases. It had odd moments of entertainment and I like seeing ‘real’ monsters as opposed to CGI. But when the story is this weak, the acting is this poor and the whole piece smacks of desperately trying to cash in on a real-life flu scare, then the only thing to do with this flu outbreak is contain it – do not spread this film to your friends whatever you do!

 

 ★★☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆ 

 

 

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