Zombie 5: Killing Birds (1988)

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Overall Rating 34%
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Ranked #4,488
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Connections: Zombie

In Louisiana, a soldier returning from Vietnam finds his wife in bed with her lover and he kills them both as well as a couple of friends, but he is attacked by a bird and he loses his eyes. Years later, the bodies have not been found and the former soldier is now a bird specialist (Dr. Fred Brown) living in a house nearby the swamp. When a group of college students go to the swamp on an assignment to research a species of woodpecker that is almost extinct, they head to Dr. Brown's house to get some tips of how to find the rare bird. They drive through the swamp where they find the house where the murders happened and they decide to stay there. During the night, weird things happen. --IMDb
Lara Wendel
Lara Wendel
Robert Vaughn
Robert Vaughn
Timothy W. Watts
Timothy W. Watts
Leslie Cumming
Leslie Cumming
James Villemaire
James Villemaire
Review by Tristan
Added: June 11, 2007
A Vietnam veteran returns home from the war where he discovers his wife in bed with another man. The vet, still carrying his knife, decides to tend to the situation by slitting the man's throat whilst his wife is still asleep. After she wakes up and sees this mess, she runs outside where she meets her husband and he makes short order of her, while surrounded by her many bird cages.

As all of this is happening, his wife's parents are pulling up to the house, carrying his son, and what the hell, he kills them too. But he's no savage, and he lets his son live. Nice guy. He then proceeds to start killing his wife's birds, or at the very least it's implied. He forgets one though, and it swoops down on him, removing his eyes. We see him in the next scene with his eyes all bandaged, saying goodbye to his son. This entire sequence is filmed where you don't see the veteran's face. Why they went this route is beyond me. It's not overly suspenseful, and shortly afterwards, you know who the character is. This is really the first of many things that bothered me about this movie.

We then jump ahead around 20 years or so, to a college where Steve (Timothy W. Watts) has just been approved for his grant, credit, and equipment to search for an Ivory Billed Woodpecker thought to be on the verge of extinction. He rallies up a few of his friends, including Anne (Lara Wendel) who is covering their story for the school newspaper.

Also accompanying them is Brian (Sal Maggiore), who is in charge of the van supplied to the group, and must "go where it goes." His character is the one the audience roots for to die first, with his ridiculously stereotypical chauvinist comments, and awful harmonica playing. The reporter in the team has a list of the last people to see this mystical bird and it just sop happens to be on the way, so the team makes a quick stop at Dr. Brown's (Robert Vaughn) house to get a few pointers. This Dr. Brown is none other than the 'Nam vet who killed his family and has been blind ever since.

Cue the montage! That's right, a montage. A delightful mid-movie montage of stupid kids taking pictures, recording sounds, and that asshole Brian playing the harmonica. The movie takes a bit of turn when the group stumbles across an old truck in the middle of the woods, with a nice little surprise in it. Shortly after, they come across a house in the middle of these same woods, and after further investigation, we see that it's the house where the vet killed his wife and her parents, and has been abandoned for roughly 20 years or so. Or as one genius in the group puts it, "centuries".

As you may have noticed, I have made no mention of a zombie. As this movie was released as Zombie 5, the average person would assume there are zombies in the film. Well after 50 minutes, the only thing we see that resembles a zombie, might not even be one. In all honesty, it's not a zombie flick. It's more of a haunted house movie. If the title was just Killing Birds, then sure, do what you want with it. But if you're going to tag Zombie 5 onto it, at least deliver the goods.

The one thing I liked about this movie was the camera work. It was surprisingly good. For the type of movie. It was obviously low budget, and the acting/story was pretty poor, but the camera work really got me. Lattanzi is no Spielberg, but he knew how to mix up some camera styles so it wasn't complete garbage. Overall, I'd have to say that while the storyline was weak, and the acting was understandably bad, I was very entertained with this movie. Considering it's a "zombie movie" and there wasn't really a zombie aspect to it, it did a good job of holding my attention for 90 minutes.

Chad #1: Chad - added 10/07/2007, 02:50 PM
8/10 - two points short of a perfect film? You poor, poor guy.

I'm going with a 5/10, and even that is generous, but I liked a couple of scenes and some of the gore effects were neat.
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