Friday, January 18, 2013

Kickass Movie Scene List #88: The Birds

I remember not liking The Birds at all the first time I saw it. I was promised a scary movie, not... whatever that was. It didn't even have an ending.

Of course, I was a stupid kid the first time I saw it. I'm still not as big a fan of the movie as some of Hitchcock's other stuff, but there's a creep factor here that's hard to put your finger on.

Take this scene, for example...

They're, uh... flocking this way...

Whatever other failures this movie might have, this scene is perfect. She sits down on a bench just outside the playground. A crow lands on the jungle gym. Children sing in the nearby building. She has a quick smoke. Another crow lands on the jungle gym. Every time the camera pans away, then back to the jungle gym, there are a couple more birds on it.

Suddenly, one in particular catches her eye. She follows its flight to the jungle gym and...

Holy shit.

The reveal (the jungle gym is covered with dozens of birds) is great, and her reaction is, as well. The nagging sense of unease is built up so nicely in the scene that to have that cathartic and sudden a reveal is excellent. Of course, it's all just setting the stage for the part everyone remembers (the birds attack the kids running from school) but I actually like the setup a lot more than the payoff.


  1. Funny. When I was a kid this movie creeped the hell out of me, then when I saw it as an adult I was like. "Okay, so there's, uh...birds."

    This scene's pretty nifty, though.