UK Release: 11/12/2020
Directed by: Adam Mason
Starring: KH Apa, Sofia Carson, Craig Robinson, Peter Stormare
Had enough of the pandemic? You sure will have by the end of Songbird.
Michael Bay’s Songbird is a COVID-based sci-fi thriller that takes place several years after the COVID-19 outbreak.
If you thought things were bleak now, Songbird makes it even worse.
By 2024, the virus has mutated into COVID-23 – a much more virulent strain of the disease that is actually ravaging the world right now.
Deciding not to read the room in the slightest, Songbird ramps up the kill count on a disease which is affecting millions of people globally in the real world.
The entire premise is tone deaf and honestly, quite garish.
Quite fitting really, since one of the symptoms of COVID-19 is a complete lack of taste.
The whole point of Songbird is that it takes a stark look into the future, in a United States where the pandemic rumbles on, getting further and further out of control.
The average person is forced to stay indoors. Daily temperature checks are used to identify those with the virus. And people are forcibly removed from their homes if they test positive – dragged off to ‘Q-Zones’ where the sick are left to die.
Almost makes you feel better about another lockdown.
Nico Price (played by KJ Apa) is an amiable bicycle courier with immunity – that means he can travel outside as long as he wears a bracelet to show to authorities.
Of course, the authoritarian regime isn’t fond of people who can do as they please, so people with immunity seem to be hated.
Anyway, after a brush with the virus, Nico’s girlfriend Sara (played by Sofia Carson) is in need of an immunity band so she can escape the clutches of the authorities who are coming for her.
Luckily, Nico knows how to get one.
If you get rid of the grim COVID backdrop, Songbird becomes little more than a slightly below average action thriller. There’s a sub-par conspiracy courtesy of main villain, Emmett Harland (played by Peter Stormare) – the head of the Los Angeles ‘Sanitation’ Department.
And as usual, Stormare delights in the off-kilter nature of his role.
I have to admit, the acting all round is pretty good with some decent performances from Apa and Carson, as well as a fun appearance from Craig Robinson as Lester, Nico’s delivery boss.
It’s not a terribly made film either, with some decent action shots and intriguing sub twists and turns. Adam Mason does an adequate job of directing, with a little help from Michael Bay to film some of the action sequences.
But all in all, Songbird doesn’t anything hugely original or do anything unexpected aside from its ghoulish premise.
And that’s half its trouble.
If Songbird wasn’t a COVID movie, we probably wouldn’t pay the film any attention. It’s actually a touch bland, especially by Michael Bay standards, and does little of note other than creating a controversial conversation piece.
During any other time, Songbird would be an average movie at best.
But with the decision to set this during a pandemic we’re still living through, Songbird stoops far too low to warrant watching.
It’s just not worth it.
Songbird comes to Video on Demand on 11 December 2020.