songbird trailer

Songbird made headlines for being the first film made during the COVID-19 outbreak in Los Angeles. Produced by Michael Bay, it was a production that ran into problems almost immediately with SAG-AFTRA issuing a “do not work” order to actors for the film. That order was eventually lifted, but later, another story broke accusing the film of not following COVID safety protocols. And now…it’s here. The first Songbird trailer has arrived to give us a glimpse of what we can expect and the results are…well…see for yourself.

Songbird Trailer

Jesus Christ did this leave a bad taste in my mouth. It could be that I’m extra stressed lately (have you heard – there’s an election for the soul of the country next week and no one knows what the hell is going to happen). It could be that I’m just not in the mood for this sort of thing since the coronavirus is still around, and in some states, surging. Or maybe I’m being too judgmental. Maybe Songbird will rise above this rather atrocious trailer.

Or maybe not.

In the film, the coronavirus is still around and has mutated into COVID-23 (the 19 in COVID-19 is because the virus was first detected in 2019, which implies this film is set in, or after, 2023). Here’s the synopsis:

In the terrifying thriller Songbird, the COVID-23 virus has mutated and the world is in its fourth year of lockdown. Infected Americans are ripped from their homes and forced into quarantine camps known as Q-Zones, from which there is no escape, as a few brave souls fight back against the forces of oppression. Amid this dystopian landscape, a fearless courier, Nico (KJ Apa), who’s immune to the deadly pathogen, finds hope and love with Sara (Sofia Carson), though her lockdown prohibits them from physical contact. When Sara is believed to have become infected, Nico races desperately across the barren streets of Los Angeles in search of the only thing that can save her from imprisonment …or worse.

The movie also stars “Bradley Whitford and Demi Moore as a wealthy couple who may hold the key to Nico’s mission; Alexandra Daddario as a singer enmeshed in a messy and forbidden affair; Paul Walter Hauser as a disabled veteran whose best friend – a drone named Max – is his eyes and ears to a world that has left him behind; Craig Robinson as Nico’s boss; and Peter Stormare as the corrupt head of the city’s ‘sanitation’ department, which seizes those infected and transports them to the Q-Zone.”

Trashy, exploitative movies can be fun. They can even be subversively intelligent, in their own gross way. I have a soft spot in my heart for that sort of trash, and maybe someday I’ll be able to look at Songbird that way. For now, though, this trailer looks like a right-wing fever dream; a cinematic exploration of ‘Merica losing her freedoms to the virus. For fuck’s sake, there’s a part where a news anchor says people are being forced into “quarantine camps.”

The horror genre has a history of reflecting the horrors of the real world. Hell, some of the best horror movies ever made are reflections of turbulent times – the ’70s Horror Collection currently streaming on the Criterion Channel is a great example of this, filled with films that were reacting to Vietnam and social unrest. But if you’re going to take that approach, it helps to do something with it. There’s a vast gulf that separates The Texas Chain Saw Massacre as a reflection of the Vietnam War and the makers of Songbird saying, “Hey, what if we remade Cloverfield, but swapped out the big monster for the coronavirus?”

Again, perhaps I’m overreacting. I’m sure more than one person will tell me I am. And if this appeals to you, then by all means, go nuts! Anyway, Songbird is “coming soon.”

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