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the thing that ate the birds

Movie Reviews

[SXSW ’21] ‘The Thing That Ate the Birds’ review: Unsettling short builds tension

Short term scares.

The Thing That Ate the Birds is a great example of why horror translates so well to short films. Screening at this year’s South by Southwest, the story is about a man named Abel. He has discovered something is eating his grouse. His actions lead to deadly consequences.

One issue that sometimes arises with short films is the lack of character development. This is not confined to horror and is due to the lack of time. Usually, shorts are more concerned with getting an idea across over a character arc. The Thing That Ate the Birds is different in that it gives insight into its characters. The audience knows Abel’s marriage is rocky and this may lead to some of the chocies he decides to make. 

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The Thing That Ate the Birds effectively uses sound effectively to deliver its scares. This is done through the screeching violins that are common in horror and it works very well here. The film does a good job of not using too many jump scares and instead builds tension to maximize fear.

SXSW is March 16 – March 20. Tickets and a full lineup can be found here.

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