I’ve only got 5 Hitchcock films left on the list to review, so i figured I’d start up a second Hitchcock-a-thon of his later masterpieces. First up is what I believe was the first Hitchcock film I ever saw: The Birds. A sure-fire classic if there ever was one.
One thing you can always count on from a Hitchcock film is that it is well crafted and entertaining. The film starts off like a standard romantic drama, and the film continues in this fashion for a good clip. It’s the signature Hitchcockian touches that there’s something slightly wrong that dot the landscape of the film, in this case of course the titular birds. And then comes the birthday party, and all hell starts to break loose. Hitchcock draws out the suspense between attacks as elegantly as he does when the attacks come on. The whole film is a practice in drawing out suspense, and it is one that works wonderfully. One quibble I did have was that the film seemed much more deliberately acted than most films, let alone Hitchcock films. You could tell the actors were acting, which to me is a sign of bad acting, but it wasn’t necessarily bad, just forced. The overdubbing of the young girl’s lines was rather unorthodox and distracting, as well.
As far as the film goes, it is a first-rate thriller that will have you on the edge of your seat once the action starts flying. The screeching of the birds becomes almost like cackling laughter at the pitiful humans trying to hole themselves up against their mighty forces, and even the tiniest flutter of wings is enough to set your pulse racing. Hitchcock knew that what scared you wasn’t when it happens; it’s the possibility of what might happen, and it’s a principle that too few horror films these days are apt to realize. The film works on every level, and it has one of the most deliciously ambiguous endings of any Hitchcock thriller. This is an unqualified masterpiece, and is one that is definitely not to be missed.
Arbitrary Rating: 9/10