Killer Bird

Rated: Not Rated

          As time has gone on and I’ve gained more and more experience with short films, I’ve learned to (at least try) not take titles for granted, or at face value. For example, who would guess that the short film Annulment is a zombie film? Or that The Morning of Everything has nothing really, to do with morning specifically? Not to say that the titles have nothing to do with the films, it’s just that it’s (usually) hard to gauge what any film is about based on title alone.
        Such was the case with the short film
Killer Bird, one of the recent offerings from 23 ½ Films and filmmaker Daniel Harding. Although I had a feeling it wasn’t the case, I couldn’t get the image of a creature that was a cross between Big Bird and an ostrich chasing people and pecking them to death out of my mind.  Even once I began watching the film the image wouldn’t leave. I’m certainly not blaming Harding for my persistently vivid imagination, it’s not his fault the image wouldn’t leave my mind. But now that I’ve seen the film, I understand the choice of title.
        The summary given on the
Killer Bird website says, “A dangerous bird has escaped and is causing panic amongst the local community. Coerced by his friends, Michael sets out to capture the bird and return it to the authorities.” Sounds simple, right? But Killer Bird is anything but simple.
Lindsay Bennett contemplates what comes next in Killer Bird (Photo courtesy Daniel Harding)

Lindsay Bennett contemplates what comes next in Killer Bird (Photo courtesy Daniel Harding)

        There are many deeper themes presented in this short film. It seems that despite what we all like to think, there are far more issues that we have in common than not, and no matter where you live in the world they have the capacity to rile people up. It also seems that there are always two sides to these issues; you’re for it or against it, but in between them is a very muddled gray area, no matter what the issue at hand is.  It is in this muddled gray area that the film spends the most time, as the main character, Michael, struggles to do the right thing. But in the film, as in life, there are no real winners in the end.
        Filmmaker Daniel Harding says on the 23 ½ Films website that
Killer Bird was to be the first in a trilogy.  I asked Daniel if the other two films will follow Killer Bird’s storyline, or at least touch on the same themes. Here’s what he had to say, “The trilogy [idea] has changed from my original intentions. Killer Bird was such a difficult shoot for the crew and the budget I had available, that I realized I couldn’t make another two films [that] same way. The next in the installment, which is called Man In a Suit and I’m currently casting for, is now a lot smaller in script and production, with fewer characters. It’s not a story-trilogy, but rather a thematic trilogy about fear and control. The story for Man in a Suit is a standalone [film].”
        It is the undertones of fear and control that make
Killer Bird, and the other two coming films in the trilogy, so compelling. While watching the film it is easy to gloss over those undertones. It’s not until later on that you realize that everyone around Michael, the main character, is using fear to control him into doing what they want. The media uses fear-mongering tactics in the newspaper he reads and the radio stations he listens to, the people he meets along the way use an authoritarian method and tone with him, and even his friends use the fear of homelessness to keep Michael in line (although they never say anything of the sort).
        This is one of those short films that although made in present day, is timeless and may end up having far reaching implications, despite being filmed in, and being about England specifically. At the very least, this film will get you thinking and will stick with you long after it’s done, which is the hallmark of a great film in my book!

Killer Bird is not rated, was written, directed and produced by Daniel Harding and stars Chris Clynes, Lindsay Bennett, Stewart James Barham and Ingvild Deila. It is currently making the film festival rounds.

For more information about Killer Bird and 23 ½ Films
 please use the links below:

23 ½ Films Website

Killer Bird Website

Killer Bird on

23 ½ Films  on Twitter