The Birds (1963) Horror Movie Review
Written By: Grave Reviews Staff
Director: Alfred Hitchcock
Producer: Alfred Hitchcock
Screenplay: Evan Hunter
Based on Novel: The Birds by Daphne du Maurier
Date Released: March 28, 1963
Tippi Hedren as Melanie Daniels
Jessica Tandy as Lydia Brenner
Rod Taylor as Mitchell Brenner
Veronica Cartwright as Cathy Brenner
Suzanne Pleshette as Annie Hayworth
Rating = 4.5/5 Graves
***May contain some spoilers***
The Town of Bodega Bay, California is a quiet and peaceful community until a swarm of birds start to terrorize and attack the men, women and children of this neighborhood. The Birds (1963) follows the story of Melanie Daniels (Tippi Hedren) who meets and courts attorney, Mitchell Brenner (Rod Taylor). The two begin a romance and soon, Melanie is introduced to Mitchell’s family. But, the birds surrounding the neighborhood are starting to act strange and begin attacking everyone in mass coordinated attacks. Melanie and the Brenner’s manage to make it to their farm home and bord the walls and windows. Together, they must try to survive the infestation of birds that surround the home.
In the 1960s, any blood and gore that was portrayed was a big deal. But when Lydia Brenner (Jessica Tandy) find one of the farmer’s eyes gauged out from a bird attack, this was shocking and disturbing to most. But even for todays standards, the makeup and special effects used in this scene were believable and impressionable. Director Alfred Hitchcock had a way of using these kinds of scenes that were never over the top, left a lasting impression. Today’s films often over compensate with heavy special effects and prosthetic work that overshadow the plot, dialogue and/or acting which often takes away from the artistic side of creating a quality work. The Birds (1963) provides a nice balance between the storyline and gore.
The Grave Review
The ability to turn something beautiful like birds into something terrifying is often very difficult to do. Hitchcock has a way with his works that captivates the audiences and makes them believe something that is not real. In this film, The Birds (1963) gives us the idea that at any moment, for any or no reason, nature can turn on us in seconds. It is a terrifying thought to have which is what made The Birds so scary to watch. The only criticism I have about the film is the ending. At the end of the film, Melanie and her companions are seen walking slowly to their vehicle surrounded by seemingly calm birds. The ending felt unfulfilling in that there didn’t seem to be much significance to this scene, since the birds did attack the town on numerous occasions. As a result, the ending scene felt inconsistent with the rest of the film.
It was revealed years after its release, that there were many inappropriate gestures made by Alfred Hitchcock against Tippi Hedren who played Melanie in this film. With the MeToo movement and the Harvey Weinstein scandal in swing, these series of events would have never happened. A film called The Girl, released by HBO in 2012 explores the disturbing and vengeful tactics that Alfred Hitchcock committed against Tippi Hedren. However, with that said, the film itself, will forever be remembered as one of the most prolific horror films of all time.
For the foregoing reasons, Grave Reviews gives The Birds (1963) four and one-half graves out of five graves.
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