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  • Writer's pictureS.K. Chishty

Trailer Review: Songbird (2020)

The trailer indicates a film confusedly trying to mine the Pandemic.

It was only a matter of time when Hollywood began peddling its own versions of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic. The lockdowns with empty roads and people confined to their homes did make us feel like we were living inside a horror film anyway, so why not?

It is also not surprising that one of the first miners of what could become a small genre unto itself, is Michael Bay & Co. Ever a purveyor of all bad things that await humanity (or one of Illuminati messengers, depending on whom you ask), Bay also produced The Purge series (a fact that the trailer reminds us of, to its own eventual detriment).

The current death-rate is not enough for the producers so the film is set in the future where mankind (read America) is devastated by Covid-23 (cue conspiracy theorists trying to prove how that number is Satanic), a mutated and deadlier version of the one we are suffering today. The military is on the roads and the technology is not only advanced enough to scan and detect a patient at home but it also immediately informs the government of a carrier that promptly arrives knocking on the door.

Potentially scary, yes but unfortunately, there is almost no atmosphere, dread or compelling moments to speak of.

Two lovers (Sofia Carson and K.J. Apa) talk on a phone and as Apa promises to meet his girlfriend, the ominous music drops to faux news footage of the Pandemic.

We focus on two other characters - one exercising at home (Bradley Whitford), I'm assuming is the designated asshole of the piece, and the other is a non-descript woman (well, actually she's Demi Moore but there is no indication who the character is and what her role in the whole thing is). She does appear twice more. Once to deliver the bland line about how 'sometimes we have to do things we don't want to survive' and once, in a shot, to shoot someone.

Most of the outdoor shots are ariel and are ineffectual as there are no details.

The first "scary moment" arrives when there is a loud banging on our Carson's door. She looks through the peephole to see guys in Hazmat suits knocking. In the film's world, there are some people who are completely immune to the virus, and along with the Hazmat suits we have another leery guy.

The biggest failure of the trailer is its failure to communicate any urgency.

We know that the government is coming to take in the sick and our main character's mother contracts the disease, but it is never made clear how being taken away by the medical task team is such a bad thing. I mean what are they doing to these guys that the woman inside is so scared and the hero decides to get on a bike to go 'save the one person in this life that matters to' him.

Not just this, the banging (door's!) happens many times, making an already feeble idea repetitive. There is a promise of a more ripping horror yarn buried in the exposition at the beginning - the disease affects the brain tissue - but this promise is also never delivered. There is a weird moment though where an old man is waving at the heroine through the spyhole. This is like an SNL sketch waiting to happen.

There are some shots that remind one of The Purge series but as said above, it only highlights the blandness of this film.

By the end of the trailer, you are actually wishing for Bay's excesses.

#trailerreview #horror #horrorfilms #hollywood

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