Saturday, 14 June 2014

Thriller for Saturday! - The Birds (1963)

This film, in my opinion is one of the greatest oldest horrors in existence. Now, you may consider this not to be a horror, as I feel that is more a thriller than anything. I seen this film a long time ago, when I was very young and it give me a lot of nightmare's. Also in addition, I felt frightened within a close distance with any type of bird. Although, I am fine now haha.
The film is directed by the famous Alfred Hitchcock, and lasts a whopping 119 minutes, being very long for a horror in contrast to the lengths of a lot of today's modern horrors. The plot revolves around Melanie Daniels (Tippi Hedren) who is a very rich socialite and seems to be a bit of a 'spoiled brat'. After she enters a pet shop, lawyer Mitch Brenner (Rod Taylor) plays a practical joke on her after noticing her, and she decides to return the favour. She travels about an hour north of San Francisco to Bodega Bay where Mitch spends the weekend with his mother Lydia Brenner (Jessica Tandy), and his younger sister Cathy Brenner (Veronica Cartright).
After her arrival, Melanie notices very strange behaviour from the local birds. Suddenly, a seagull attacks Melanie whilst crossing the bay from a boat, and it is soon discovered that something bizarre is occurring after Lynda finds her neighbour dead - seemingly from an attack from birds. Soon enough, the birds begin to attack anyone in public in hundreds and thousands of groups. There is no clear answer to the reason this is happening, but the answer to this question is not necessary, as survival becomes the priority.
Aside the horrors, and thrills you will experience, I feel the plot of this film is fairly appropriate. I also believe that this is one of Hitchcock's most exciting and puzzling films - due to the unanswerable question of why the birds are attacking so viciously.
All the technical elements within the movie itself are also extraordinary. Similarly to Halloween (1978), I feel that Hitchcock completely masters the 'dead silence' in this movie. My frustration with this movie, however is that it takes a long time for any type of fast-paced scenes to begin, which probably has caused a lot of teens to be drawn away from it. But guys, trust me, after about half an hour, the movie is exceptional. There are many very dramatic scenes consisted within such as the playground scene containing immense action, and the fact that we never find out why the birds continue to strike violently creates, and even develops a mysterious and puzzling question.
I also found out that this film, alongside Psycho (1960), this film clearly portrays how Hitchcock effectively creates and develops suspense throughout the film due to the intense silence at times, and the fear develops as the amount of birds continuously attacking develops.
Another feature I was intrigued by is the fact that when the characters stared at the birds, they were as still as a statue, and you believed they would not move. However, they are actually analysing the actions of the characters of Melanie and Mitchel etc. Alongside the perfection of the technical features, the acting was first-class, as we clearly understand the fear and desperation within the central characters as they attempted to escape from the wrath of the flocks of birds stalking them.
Another intriguing element in the film is the conflicting relationship between Mitchell and his mother Lydia, as I feel it made me remember certain aspects of  Psycho (1960), which was therefore clever from Hitchcock.
Overall, I believe this film is one of Hitchcock's masterpieces, due to the way he completely nailed the eerie silence, and tension, which helped develop an intense atmosphere sustained through the majority of the film.
The calm music at the beginning also aided the intense action of the birds due to the loud noises they made, allowing the audience to be startled and feel uncomfortable.
Brilliant thriller, definitely recommended.

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