The Birds Review
Updated: Dec 12, 2020
So, a few days ago I watched the Birds. After hearing things from both my family and general commentary, I went in expecting to be scared. I was sadly disappointed. Instead of exploring the horror and disaster that would occur if all birds turned on mankind at once, Hitchcock instead uses the first half of the movie to explore the flirtation between Melanie Daniels (Tippi Hedren) and Mitch Brenner (Rod Taylor). Now their acting is spot on and the story was entertaining, as a RomCom, but just didn't fit into the horror film that was advertised. Also, if a girl ever tracked me down like that and broke into my home just to deliver birds based on a slight comment I made in a store, I would't chase after her to see where it goes. I'd file a restraining order. But that's just me. The suspense build-up for the attacks is pretty good. The crow scene in the playground, where they slowly all fly in behind Melanie, who remains oblivious, was well done as were some other scenes. The problem was it didn't really follow up. When the birds attack, stabbing with their beaks and slashing with their talons, you expect people to be covered in scars and cuts. But most only seem to get light scratches. Sure, there is the one scene where a man's eyes are gouged out. But that's pretty much it. Even when a main character is killed off, her body seems remarkably in good shape. And the actual bird attacks are just lame, due to poor CGI but I do understand that given it was 1963, they didn't have much to work with. That and the Hays Code (film production code from the 1930s to 60s censoring films) prevented Hitchcock from going full horror. Still, I was disappointed by the end. I read the short story it was based on and even that 30 page piece was better than this, really playing on the terror of these bird attacks and fully describing the gruesomeness of the birds' victims. The only problem I have with that story was it was too short. The film had a long runtime, but didn't do enough with it. The acting was good, the story was entertaining. But it didn't really reach the heights I was expecting. For something Hitchcock called 'the most terrifying motion picture I have ever made,' I really wasn't scared at all. I'm just going to cross my fingers and hope some director or movie executive takes a look at this and decides to remake it as a full-on horror film.