Dead Birds (2004) — This western horror horse has gone lame

“Did you hear that?

Kyle’s rating: I’m not a fan of westerns. I’m still not. I never will be. I don’t care if you are or not.

Kyle’s review: Yep. I don’t necessarily hate westerns, but I would prefer not to watch them. I liked the television show Brisco Country, Jr., and in fact will always remember that after it and The X-Files premiered I said to my dad “I liked those both, but I doubt X-Files will last at all. Brisco County will be on forever, though!” Good instincts, right?

I only rented Dead Birds because Justin told me someone had recommended it to him and he thought it sounded like something I would dig. Well, okay: I only rented Dead Birds because months after Justin told me about it, I realized he had mentioned it like ten times and decided I really wanted him to shut up about it.

It’s lame. I don’t know. If you like westerns and/or ghost stories, you might like it. There are a few interesting visuals and the atmosphere is perfectly executed. But it’s all lost on me. It’s cool that the main guy was Elliott in E.T. and that his younger brother was the main kid in Almost Famous and that the girl they both obviously have a thing for is smokin’ hot. In fact, thinking about those facts are what got me through the film. Oh, and one of the minion guys was Detective Flass in Batman Begins, which is fairly cool, I think. Batman Begins is awesome. That sentence will be Justin’s favorite of this entire review; I guarantee it.

I think the problem goes beyond the western thing. Dead Birds tries hard to be a solid horror movie, but when stuff like Asian horror and American films ripping off Asian films is out there, the lack of innovation or anything unique in Dead Birds is disappointing. Haunted house, vague mystery involving the people who used to live in the house, ironic twist that brings elements of the plot full circle… seen it all before. I guess the western angle was supposed to be the amazing hook to hang everything else on. Since I’m not big on westerns, the film just slid down the wall to the ground. Lame.

But if you’re down with westerns and like the additional fun of demonic horrors, Dead Birds might be in the older releases section and should be pretty cheap to rent. Not too offensive, not too bloody, and if you’re into old time stuff you’ll enjoy a glimpse at life without cell phones, personal hygiene, or common sense. Otherwise, don’t waste your time. And don’t wear a cowboy hat, if possible. Just go with a Cubs hat or something. Come on, people!

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