A wealthy San Francisco socialite pursues a potential boyfriend to a small Northern California town that slowly takes a turn for the bizarre when birds of all kinds suddenly begin to attack people there in increasing numbers and with increasing viciousness.
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Melanie Daniels is the modern rich socialite, part of the jet-set who always gets what she wants. When lawyer Mitch Brenner sees her in a pet shop, he plays something of a practical joke on her, and she decides to return the favor. She drives about an hour north of San Francisco to Bodega Bay, where Mitch spends the weekends with his mother Lydia and younger sister Cathy. Soon after her arrival, however, the birds in the area begin to act strangely. A seagull attacks Melanie as she is crossing the bay in a small boat, and then, Lydia finds her neighbor dead, obviously the victim of a bird attack. Soon, birds in the hundreds and thousands are attacking anyone they find out of doors. There is no explanation as to why this might be happening, and as the birds continue their vicious attacks, survival becomes the priority. Written by
Birds don't just go around attacking people, do they?
I still have quite a few of Hitchcock classics to see, but I can already rest assured that "The Birds" will remain my all-time favorite effort by this legendary director. Being primarily a horror movie junkie, I consider this milestone to be the pioneer in the delicious 'nature revolts' sub genre. For reasons that remain unexplained throughout the entire movie, birds spontaneously launch virulent and aggressive attacks against the inhabitants of Bodega Bay; a little seaside town 90 miles away from San Francisco. Still several years after the release of this film, clever and ingenious independent horror film directors borrowed this formula and used it as an excuse to manifest practically every species of the animal kingdom as vicious killing machines, usually because of the ongoing pollution by mankind. But "The Birds" remains the original classic even though the story develops itself very slowly and the script refuses to give any type of explanation whatsoever. For nearly a full hour, the film simply focuses on the bizarre love-story between the spoiled daughter of newspaper owner and an arrogant crime attorney. She drives out to his parental house in Bodega Bay, where he spends all of his weekends, to play out a practical joke. "The Birds" then subsequently unfolds itself as a strangely compelling romance between the two aforementioned characters, but also the embittered local school teacher and the attorney's frigid mother. The interactions between these four unusual characters are often downright eerie and there isn't even a bird in sight at that moment! Meanwhile, however, the menace of our 'feathered friends' is continuously present and noticeable. The attacks gradually increase in number and intensity, like the birds are putting up some sort of strategy even though there's no obvious motive. After the virulent attack during a child's birthday party, the thriller definitely shifts into high gear, with many sequences that are righteously considered as classic by now (the schoolyard, the phone booth, the exploding gas station). Hitch's nickname 'The Master of Suspense' is justified through many individual moments here in this film, like when the entire community seeks shelter inside the café and accuses the girl of bringing this mayhem upon them. The film's brilliant anti-climax, with thousands of birds just sitting and suspiciously waiting outside the Brenner house is legendary and imitated copious of times. "The Birds" is a perplexing Hitchcock landmark, with a couple of surprisingly shocking make-up effects and a truly ominous atmosphere that still manages to send cold shivers of fright down your spine.
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