Dead Birds is a 2004 supernatural Western film directed by Alex Turner, and starring Henry Thomas, Mark Boone Junior, Isaiah Washington, Patrick Fugit, and Michael Shannon. The film centers on a group of deserters turned bank robbers who come face-to-face with supernatural forces while holing up in an abandoned plantation after robbing a bank.
In Civil War-era Alabama, a band of outlaws takes refuge at an abandoned plantation after robbing a bank that held a cache of Confederate gold. Led by William, the group includes Sam, Todd, Annabelle, Clyde and Joseph. They intend to flee to Mexico, but nightfall and a thunderstorm force the robbers to remain in place. As the night wears on, each member of the group begins to have visions of the atrocities that occurred within the house. As supernatural forces begin to manifest themselves, the six turn on one another.
The supernatural Western film was given a limited re-release on February 5, 2010, at the NuArt Theatre in Los Angeles; and received mixed reviews from critics.
Daniel W. Kelly of DVD Talk said, “Of course, the film follows some conventions of horror. There’s a cornfield. There are demons and scary creatures. A group of people in a desolate location get offed one by one. But that’s what we love about horror. The only other real issue is that while the ending is good conceptually, it could be considered sort of anticlimactic visually. Still, this film is worth the goose bumps it delivers throughout due to stylish camera work and a visually frightening presentation.” Brian McKay from eFilmCritic.com gave the film 4/5 stars, writing, “Dead Birds is the kind of horror film that straddles the line between mediocrity and quality, ultimately landing on the “quality” side thanks to several elements that help to elevate it above its standard horror trappings. When you’re making a basic haunted house tale, it’s important to have a good cast and some prime real estate to shoot it on, two elements that are abundantly present here.” Arrow in the Head rated the film 6/10, commending the film’s acting, atmosphere, direction, and soundtrack, while criticizing the film’s occasional slow moments and weak CGI.