I feel like in the Pantheon of Missed Opportunities, Songbird is going to go down as one of the Biggest!!!
I wasn’t going to bother reviewing this one.
I have been quoted as saying more than once that one of the things I am worried about on the other side of this god awful year we call 2020 is going to be a barrage of Pandemic Covid Lockdown movies. I mean lets be clear these movies are going to happen because the Industry thinks that is what we want. This was one of the reasons I went into Shudder original flick Host thinking ‘okay then lets see how terrible this is’. Then Host surprised me and did something really original, it played on natural fears and the whole pandemic was just a behind the scenes C-Plot which made it all the more intriguing because instead of being what the movie was about it became more the circumstances it was made in. These Actresses had to do everything themselves including camera and stunts during a lockdown and that is impressive.
Maybe I was wrong!!! Maybe we are going to get some absolute bangers come out of this situation, after all it does kind of lend itself to a whole host of genres and sub genres when you really think about it. Then Songbird came out and confirmed my fears, there are Filmmakers out there who will undoubtedly take advantage of this uncertain situation and use it as a plot device to some awful scripting and mildly passable acting just to bring us some absolute Pish. Am I being to harsh there??? Let’s have a look…
Director: Adam Mason Writer: Adam Mason, Simon Boyes
Cast: KJ Apa, Sofia Carson, Bradley Whitford, Demi Moore, Craig Robinson
It’s 2024 and a Virus has spread across the world, the population is in lockdown apart from the lucky immune few. A Track and Trace app (that actually works) has been developed that scans you every day to check for the virus and if you test positive Peter Stormare turns up at you door to ship you off to quarantine. Welcome to the new normal!!!. We spend the runtime with a handful of civilians who are living the best they can. KJ Apa (Archie from CWs Riverdale) zips around the city doing deliveries no questions asked but when his would be girlfriend Sofia Carson (one of the Disney kids from Descendants) is about to be forced into quarantine, he is in a race against time to save her from the powers that be.
Remember when the Purge came out and we spent that first movie in ‘a house’, what was happening outside was only hinted at. Purge 2 came around and we hit the streets to witness the mayhem. Purge 3 comes round and it was more about how the Government was using the purge to control citizens. This was a perfect genre trilogy the way it should be done. Songbird tries to do all three of those movies in one and fails to emulate even one of them. I mean seriously this was a hard watch for me in terms of I could see what they were trying and there was serious potential for this story to resonate but then they fill the screen with pretty good actors half arsing their performances or the good ones being buried in wonky awful dialogue. When Craig Robinson is the best thing in your movie it doesn’t really bode well for your movie.
That was in no way meant as a slight on Robinson, I really like the actor as it goes but he is a supporting character giving a better role than the ensemble.
Let’s get into the cast. Carson is very good in this and considering she is acting to a door (that’s her apartment door not KJ Apa, although!!) most of the flick she sold the character. Alexandra Daddario is in this flick and heinously under used, there was a real potential to make this character super interesting and they go down the road of trophy damsel in distress. Peter Stormare is playing a Home Bargains (it’s a budget shop in the U.K.) version of John Turturro as always but it is what he does best. Bradley Whitford is one of my favourite actors out there but I wasn’t feeling him in this and Demi Moore as his wife but I dunno. Is it time for Demi to officially retire? I’m just not sure what she brings anymore.
No matter what Paul Walter Howard (Richard Jewell) does these days, I am sold he is a shining light here in a very minimal role but I really like this actor.
In summation if you saw the trailer for Songbird and can stomach watching the news just now then you have seen Songbird. This movie is a fairly shameful attempt to play on the real world situation we are in which personally I would usually think ‘FairPlay’ BUT if your going to do this at least make something compelling and interesting instead of hitting on every last little trope because your movie is about to get lost in a sea of drivel during a time when all anyone really wants is escapism and to be entertained.
It’s a 2 out of 5 for me and even that’s a weak 2. If I was to recommend it I would say wait a year because you won’t be missing anything interesting. Maybe just watch Knuckledust instead!!!