Can disaster movies survive a pandemic?

This spring, when it seemed that pandemic movies could lose their appeal – you know, too close to home? – the audience eagerly searched for them instead. Infection i Outbreak they have risen on the current scales.

That appetite could explain the reason for it Songbird, a riff produced by Michael Bay about the coronavirus pandemic, released this month on video on demand. While most of the big budget popcorn movies have been pushed until next year, Songbird was created especially for coming at this time. It is the first film to be shot in Los Angeles after the cancellations were locked this spring.

Production that quickly reversed is visible in the final product, which has poor quality fast food, like director Adam Mason frantically trying to feed a passing craving before it passed. Unfortunately, he forgot to make the film good. You can’t serve a bush between two buns and call it a hamburger. Or rather, you can try, but people will notice.

Disaster films, like horror, reflect the anxiety of their era, although they rarely do so transparently as Songbird. In general, people are looking for disaster movies because they want the undisturbed excitement of watching the destruction from the safety of the theater. With Mason’s film, they watch a film about a pandemic while in quarantine at home, and the tragedy is not removed zero steps.

“We’re going into a disaster film to deal with real threats in a way that’s less intimidating than reading the news,” says Thomas Doherty, a cultural historian and professor of American studies at Brandeis University. In the 1950s, many of these films used alien invasions or radioactive creatures to explore fears of the Cold War. 70s like big disasters High hell i Poseidon Adventure wrestled with the threat of technology scheduling people. “Usually disaster movies are just beats left or right of what’s actually going on,” Doherty says.

No. Songbird, which does not contain an allegorical layer. The film is set in 2024, the 214th week of Hard Lock; Covid-19 continues to mutate, and its latest strain, Covid-23, kills most people who get it. He follows poor, immune courier Nico (KJ Apa and his bellies) and rich squirrel (Bradley Whitford and Demi Moore) as they move through a world ravaged by a virus and a logistically confusing and draconian government order. All but the immune ones, called “munis” (who make up a fraction of a percentage of the population), are constantly stuck in their homes that are equipped with special disinfection technology to receive packages and supplies, regardless of income level. (It is never explained how they pay rent or afford groceries.) If they break the rules or even have a mild fever, armed guards capture them and take them to naughty death camps called “Q zones.” They are overseen by the all-powerful Ministry of Sanitation, which has acquired a despotic attitude of the nation, and is ruled by a distorted unnamed bureaucrat who kills for sports, no matter how. Nico asks wealthy clients for help to provide his girlfriend with a fake immunity bracelet in black, so she can defy the lock and escape with it. Yes, that’s right. The bad guy in this movie is an evil government official enforcing health laws, and the good guy is bravely trying to obey those laws to see his new girlfriend. It wonders if the outlines of the action may have been placed from the right bulletin boards.

Sad, Songbird he could be forgiven for opportunism with the red bait states if he had fun. After all, disaster movies don’t need to have good politics or an uplifting vision of humanity to function. There are different definitions of disaster film, but one that cannot be negotiated for the genre is a commitment to the spectacle of destruction. (Hence the 9/11 film like Oliver Stone World Trade Center is a disaster film, but Paul Greengrass’ United 93 it’s not.) A moderately engaging, tense story helps, but in the end the disaster film has to deliver a kick.