Metro Weekly

‘Birder’ Review: Reel Affirmations 2023

If you like horror films with plenty of nudity and rough sex but very little logic or horror, 'Birder' should fit the bill nicely.


If you like your horror films with an abundance of nudity — much of it full-frontal and showing what appear to be authentic (or really well-faked) erections — and rough sex that isn’t quite pornographic but still leaves little to the imagination, Birder should fit the bill nicely.

If, however, you like your horror films to contain a bit of suspense, terror, and — god forbid — logic, perhaps look elsewhere.

Birder (★☆☆☆☆), written without so much as an intelligent thought by Amnon Lourie and directed with insipidity and flatness by Nate Dushku, is the story of a very handsome, undeniably creepy psycho killer (Michael Emery, the best thing about the movie), who is presumably hiking the country, strangling tricks he meets in the woods. What fun!

He wanders into a New Hampshire gay, clothing-optional campground over a Labor Day weekend and starts picking off everyone he bangs — without anyone (not even the absurdly friendly, drug-dealing ranger) getting suspicious as to why people have gone missing. “Have you seen so and so?” “No, he’s probably just somewhere on a walk.” Convenient.

Birder comes custom-stocked with idiotic lines like “Tomorrow is not a sure thing,” and approaches its subject matter with such a dull, serious tone that you ache for a just a little bit of camp.

Horror filmmaking should at least attempt to create an atmosphere of fear, terror, or dread — at best a combination of all three. Birder fails the test — it’s an interesting idea that absolutely nothing is done with, save showing people naked and dead. And while it’s gorgeously photographed, shots of the woods, lake, and loons only go so far.

To add insult to everything, Birder features a final, rushed ten minutes — and a profoundly stupid kicker ending — that drives home what a waste of 90 minutes it is. You want nudity, erections, and sex? Watch Pornhub.

Birder plays on Friday, Oct. 20, at 11 p.m. at The Eaton.

Live screenings of Reel Affirmations films are Oct. 20 to 22 at the Eaton Hotel, 1201 K St. NW, in Washington, D.C.

Reel Affirmations 2023 includes the Virtual Film Festival providing online access to 43 films for those film lovers who cannot attend the festival in person, with a viewing window from Oct. 23 to 29. Of the 43 films, 26 are available only online.

For a full schedule of films, including retrospective showings, all pricing and pass options, and party information, visit

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