Songbird is a 2020 thriller film co-written, produced, and directed by Adam Mason (Hangman, Misconduct, Junkie, Blood River, Pig, Broken, and The Devil’s Chair). It was co-written and produced by Simon Boyes (Broken, The Devil’s Chair, Blood River, Hangman, Misconduct, Crimson, and Luster). It was produced by Michael Bay (Armageddon, Pearl Harbor, Transformers franchise, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles franchise, The Purge franchise, A Quiet Place, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Friday the 13th, A Nightmare on Elm Street, The Amityville Horror, and The Hitcher). It was one of the first productions to be shot and finished during Covid-19.
By 2024, the COVID-19 virus has mutated into COVID-23 and the world is in its fourth pandemic year. In the United States, people are required to take temperature checks on their cell phones while those infected with COVID-23 are taken from their homes against their will and forced into quarantine camps. In these camps, the infected are left to die or forcibly get better. Nico Price (played by: K.J. Apa from Riverdale, The Hate U Give, A Dog’s Purpose, and Shortland Street), a motorbike courier with immunity due to the fact he was infected with the virus is in a virtual relationship with Sara Garcia (played by: Sofia Carson from Feel the Beat, Descendants, Spider-Man, and Pretty Little Liars: The Perfectionists). They desperately want to be together but can’t because of the dangerous situation going on in the world. She is living with her grandmother Lita (played by: Elpidia Carrillo from Predator 1/2, Salvador, The Tax Collector, and Mayans M.C.). Nico works for Lester (played by: Craig Robinson from The Office, Pineapple Express, This Is the End, and Hot Tub Time Machine 1/2), who specializes in delivering packages to wealthy individuals. One of their biggest clients is the Griffins, the powerful Piper (played by: Demi Moore from Ghost, Indecent Proposal, A Few Good Men, and The Seventh Sign) and William (played by: Bradley Whitford from Get Out, The West Wing, The Cabin in the Woods, and Godzilla: King of the Monsters) whose daughter Emma (played by: Lia McHugh from The Lodge) has an auto-immune disorder.
William is a record executive having an affair with May (played by: Alexandra Daddario from Superman: Man of Tomorrow, Night Hunter, Texas Chainsaw, and Bereavement), she’s a singer who makes a living online selling covers of classic songs after being tricked into moving to the big city with false hope. May develops a bond with Michael Dozer (played by: Paul Walter Hauser from Richard Jewell, Cobra Kai, BlacKkKlansman, and Super Troopers 2), a disabled war veteran who works for Lester as a drone operator to keep track of their couriers. One night, Lita begins to show symptoms of COVID-23 while the “sanitation” department led by Emmett Harland (played by: Peter Stormare from Fargo, John Wick: Chapter 2, Bad Boys II, and 8MM) is forcing Sara’s neighbor Alice out of her apartment after getting infected. Nico promises to keep Sara from being taken after her grandmother ends up positive for the virus and they are coming back to force them into these horrible camps to separate them from society. All of these different lives clash during this chaos. Who will make it out alive????
Since the pandemic and COVID-19 started, Hollywood has been at a stop for the most part. Everything either has been delayed or cancelled when it comes to all the major productions for future projects. Songbird managed to shoot and finish their movie during all this chaos going on in the world. Lots of filmmakers and producers have tried to take advantage of this situation using the pandemic and virus as the main concept in a exploitation type of way. It’s a brand new sub-genre in the film industry because it’s been done so much in the last year. Honestly, almost everything that I’ve seen made from that point of view has been awful. They can only do so much during this and it really shows when it comes to the quality. Most of it feels rushed and forced but Songbird doesn’t at all. This is actually the best feature that I’ve seen based on our current disaster in the world. It’s well written, beautifully shot, real locations, high quality production design, and a more creative spin on this whole Covid thing when it comes to cinema. K.J. Apa and Sofia Carson have legit chemistry here and it really shows. Both of them were solid leads in Songbird. Peter Stormare steals the show as the slimy Emmett Harland who’s willing to do anything to control this madness going on in society. The supporting cast is very impressive here which includes Elpidia Carrillo, Bradley Whitford, Paul Walter Hauser, Craig Robinson, Demi Moore, Alexandra Daddario, Paul Sloan (Green Book), and Andrew Howard (Watchmen). This one has a nice build up with the tension and the suspense really explodes on the screen during the finale. Songbird was way better than expected, RECOMMENDED!!!!
Let’s talk about the high definition presentation from Universal Pictures! This 1080p (2.39:1) transfer looks stunning on blu ray. The cinematography really shines here during this insane situation, the locations and production design stand out in this. The English: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track is a surprise at times. It has a nice boost during some of the suspenseful moments here. All of the dialogue is crystal clear and the music is elevated. It has English SDH and Spanish subtitles.
Let’s discuss the special features from Universal! It has an “Audio Commentary” with director/co-writer/producer Adam Mason and co-writer/producer Simon Boyes. They chat about the development of the project. They talk about it getting shut down then working on it during the pandemic. They go over working with the cast, Michael Bay, story, concept, scenes, and just dealing with this situation. They bring up a character and subplot they had to remove from the feature to make it run smoother. It’s full of information, stories, and it’s an entertaining track for Songbird. Almost 45 minutes of “Deleted Scenes” which includes The Old Life, Sandwiches; Nails #1, Westside Bedside, What’s the Matter, Alice?, May Sings the Blues, Nails #2, You Ain’t Clean!, Nails #3, William Sucks, Narcoleptic Nico, Crack with Your Cocopops, Peeping Tom?, Call Harland, Grandma’s Cookies, Giffords, You Let Her Tape You???, and A House Up in the Hills. It has optional commentary with director/co-writer/producer Adam Mason. “The Story of Songbird” is almost 44 minutes. It has interviews with the cast and crew from the production. They chat about the same things in the commentary and they expand on a few of the subjects. It’s an inside look into a movie being made during COVID-19 and the pandemic. It has some behind the scenes footage. “Kingdom” music video is a little over 3 minutes. “The Making of Kingdom” is a little over 4 minutes. It’s a quick behind the scenes look into making this music video for the movie. This home video release is loaded with extras which is starting to become a rarity these days so that’s refreshing to see. It also comes with a slipcover and a digital code. It’s available everywhere right now, CHECK IT OUT!!!!