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Dead Birds
Dead Birds
Actors: Henry Thomas, Patrick Fugit, Nicki Aycox, Michael Shannon, Muse Watson
Director: Alex Turner
Genres: Westerns, Horror, Science Fiction & Fantasy, Mystery & Suspense
R     2005     1hr 31min

When a group of criminals on the run after a bank robbery take refuge in an abandoned house, they have no idea what evil they have come upon. Isolated and presumed deserted, the house is anything but safe...As the night we...  more »


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Movie Details

Actors: Henry Thomas, Patrick Fugit, Nicki Aycox, Michael Shannon, Muse Watson
Director: Alex Turner
Creators: Isaiah Washington, Ash R. Shah, Barry Brooker, D. Scott Lumpkin, David Hillary, Douglas Wroan, Simon Barrett
Genres: Westerns, Horror, Science Fiction & Fantasy, Mystery & Suspense
Sub-Genres: Westerns, Horror, Science Fiction & Fantasy, Mystery & Suspense
Studio: Sony Pictures
Format: DVD - Color,Widescreen - Closed-captioned,Subtitled
DVD Release Date: 03/15/2005
Release Year: 2005
Run Time: 1hr 31min
Screens: Color,Widescreen
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 2
MPAA Rating: R (Restricted)
Languages: English
Subtitles: Chinese, English, French, Korean, Portuguese, Spanish

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Member Movie Reviews

Donna M. (charmedig) from SWEETWATER, TN
Reviewed on 7/3/2013...
what a great, little heard of gem of a horror movie. I was pleasantly surprised with the special effects of Dead Birds. I won't give away the plot but I will only say get this won't be sorry....
1 of 1 member(s) found this review helpful.
John H. (johnniemidnite) from LYNNWOOD, WA
Reviewed on 4/26/2009...
In the realm of horror films, there's a lot of junk out there not worth watching. This, on the other hand is a great gem. A civil war ghost story with good creepy atmosphere and some really good shocks and scares. Take chance on it. You won't be disappointed.
3 of 3 member(s) found this review helpful.

Movie Reviews

Not So "Sweet Home Alabama"
Elaine | The Deep, Dark, Gothic South, USA | 03/16/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)

"I LOVE horror movies and can usually watch them without hiding my eyes but this one...brrrrrr!!! SUCH a sense of dread about it! And the wonderful setting in an old Alabama plantation. AND the absolutely horrific creatures! I think this is one of the most truly original horror movies I've ever seen, directed by first-time feature film director Alex Turner and written by Simon Barrett with the unique setting of the Civil War South. The cast is great, led by Henry Thomas ("All the Pretty Horses", "ET"), Patrick Fugit ("Almost Famous"), Isaiah Washington ("Ghost Ship") and Nicki Aycox ("Jeepers Creepers II") and the production design by Leslie Keel ("May") is wonderful although I believe that, like the remake of "Texas Chainsaw Massacre", most of the movie was filmed in the actual plantation. Which makes the atmosphere all the more realistic. The cinematography is amazing as well, done by Steve Yedlin ("May", "Toolbox Murders" [2005]) in a sort of sepia tone that brings the era to life. The plot is fairly simple - a band of Confederate deserters bloodily rob a bank of it's gold and hide out in a plantation that one of the men had been told about by a former war comrade. A storm traps them there and then the "fun" begins as they each start suspecting the other of things that are happening around them (sinister noises, disappearances, ghastly visions, etc.). Claustrophobic, creepy, horrifying images, gore - it's all there for horror fans. HIGHLY recommended!! And VERY disturbing - DON'T look under your bed after watching this! OR go playing in a cornfield!"
A creepy film that really delivers the goods
Daniel Jolley | Shelby, North Carolina USA | 06/08/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)

"The black heart of horror no longer beats in Hollywood, as none of the major players even try to come up with original, let alone good, horror films these days. All is not lost, however, as indie filmmakers have risen up to carry the dark banner. Do not look askance at all of today's low-budget, direct-to-video horror offerings, for only here can you find new horror films of substance and genuine creepiness. You would do well to start right here with Dead Birds, as director Alex Turner has given us one gem of a horror movie.

Things start off with a bang - well, several bangs, really - as a group of no-good outlaws rob an Alabama bank in 1863. These guys are free and easy with their trigger fingers and knives, leaving a real mess of blood and gore in their wake. It's bad enough that they slaughter innocent civilians, but they go too far when they also kill a group of Rebel soldiers trying to deposit two bags of Confederate gold. Thus it was established that, whatever happened to them, these guys would get no sympathy from me. I was actually a tad concerned about the gore in this early scene, though - it was effective but a tad gratuitous (does a head really explode in such a complete manner from one well-placed shot?), and I worried that the filmmaker was trying a little too hard to play up to us gorehounds. Such concerns quickly fell by the wayside, as the rest of the film is masterfully done.

The gang (which includes a woman as well as a black man) rides off in search of a certain plantation house the leader learned about from a fellow wounded soldier, planning to bed there overnight before heading off to Mexico with their new riches. Personally, I would have taken one look at that deserted plantation house and kept on riding, but the gang moves on in for the night. They find respite from an approaching thunderstorm, but there will be no rest for the weary tonight. It's pretty easy to see that this house just isn't right; heck, some unclassifiable beast runs out of the cornstalks at them before they even get close to the front door. One by one, these hardened outlaws are given glimpses of the dark history of the place - it starts out with the usual kind of stuff (e.g., giggles, voices, creaks, etc.) but the cinematography makes it work like gangbusters. Eventually, ghostly images appear and, more often that not, morph into frightening demonic creatures. The CGI is rather Grudge-ish, yet it is very effective. Of course, the key to good horror is not the ghostly manifestations, it is the atmosphere and level of suspense that precede and accompany them - and this is where Dead Birds truly excels. If you're like me and watching this movie alone, odds are you will find yourself advising the characters on screen not to do this or to stay away from that or to simply run like the dickens (or words to that effect) on more than one occasion. The characters, I can assure you, will not heed your advice, even as things get spookier and more dangerous as the night wears on.

Some of the movie descriptions that I saw led me to believe the characters all turn on one another - this is misleading. Naturally, any group of outlaws hovering over two big bags of gold are going to be suspicious of one another (and there is also a touch of racial distrust for the black man thrown into the mix), but you won't see these characters act on their suspicions and become the agents of their own destruction. The threat here is external and very, very real.

Aside from a somewhat shaky start, the actors really grow into their respective roles, and that makes the horrors all the more effective. You may recognize Henry Thomas, the fellow playing the leader of the gang - I knew he looked familiar, but I didn't recognize him as young Elliott from E.T. until I discovered that piece of information in another review. The female character, Nicki Aycox, looks a lot like Lisa Marie Presley, but that's neither here nor there. I must admit, though, that the film's title, while catchy, is a bit of a puzzler, as only one oblique reference is made to dead birds during the film.

Is the movie scary? Not necessarily. It is, however, thoroughly creepy, and I much prefer a creepy movie over a scary one. A good scare can be exhilarating, but it's over and done with in a hurry. Creepiness, in contrast, works its way into your bones, where it is distilled into something that stays with you long after the original source of the creep factor is gone. That, if you ask me, is what horror is really all about - and, I am glad to say, that is also what Dead Birds is all about. That is exactly why I love this movie."
Very well done!
Zombilicious | Raleigh, NC United States | 07/08/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Bank robbers stumble upon an abandoned house and decide to rest there for the night. However, they soon find out that they are not alone in the house.

When I initially purchased this movie, I saw a couple of good reviews about it. I really expected it to be a low-budget cheesy B movie, but was pleasantly surprised at how good it was as a movie itself. Keep in mind that it IS a low budget flick with campy special effects, but you barely notice it. The circular ending was very well done. I actually applauded at the end....which is unusual for me. I would highly recommend this movie."