Wednesday, November 19, 2014

An Uncertain Future

In our last class, we finished Alfred Hitchcock's thriller, The Birds. As I stated in my previous post, I was extremely excited to see what would happen next. I was particularly hankering to find out why the birds were attacking the people of Bodega Bay and if Melanie was the cause of the chaos as the movie subtly hinted at. We left off at the scene when Melanie and Mitch found the schoolteacher, Annie Hayworth, dead on her front-porch after the bird attack. Following this traumatic and highly emotional scene, Mitch, Melanie, and Cathy retreated to the Brennan home. Mitch frantically boarded up every crevice of the home as the birds ruthlessly tried to break through the doors and windows. 

When the bird attack unexpectedly ceased, every one was left physically and emotionally shaken, wondering if the terror would ever stop. Soon after, everyone fell into a much-needed, but cautious slumber . In conventional fashion of horror movies, Melanie went upstairs to the attic after she heard some strange noises characteristic of birds. When Melanie opened the door to the attic, the birds viciously rushed at her, pushing and pecking until she was left bleeding on the floor. Fortunately, Mitch and Mrs. Brennan were able to save Melanie from the attack. The brutal attack on Melanie is the breaking point for everyone, and Mitch makes the executive decision to leave Bodega Bay once and for all.

But to leave, they must get past the birds. When Mitch opens the door of the house to get to the car, he is faced with the horrifying image of thousands of birds scattered in front of him, almost waiting in anticipation. Surprisingly, Mitch was able to safely get past the birds and get a radio signal from the car. The radio reported that other bird attacks had happened in small areas surrounding Bodega Bay, and that the U.S military would possibly get involved. At the end of the film, Mitch and Mrs. Brennan are able to get a severely traumatized, Melanie, in to the getaway car. But before leaving, Cathy requests to bring the love-birds because "they didn't harm anyone". The film ends surprisingly with Mitch driving the entire family away from  the home. We see a long-shot of the the truck driving into the distance across the narrow dirt-road. Night is just about to break.  The ending shot is eerie as the birds begin to squawk frantically when the car is no longer in sight.

Like my peers, I was perplexed and slightly disappointed by the loose strings left at the end. There is no resolution to the bird attacks. Most notably, it is never revealed why the bird attacked. Although mildly frustrating, I appreciate the ending of The Birds because it enhances the bizarreness of the movie and leaves a lot to the imagination. In my opinion, horror movies are all the more terrifying when there is no resolution to the problem because you feel as if that problem exists after you leave the theater, even if it is fiction. 

In my personal opinion, I think that the love-birds were the cause of the birds attacking because wherever Melanie went with the love-birds, the other birds started acting strangely. I noticed at the beginning of the movie as Melanie was walking in the city towards the pet shop, the birds were flying strangely in the sky, which captured her attention. This was before she even arrived at Bodega Bay. We can speculate all we want, but we will most likely never find out the truth, as that is what Alfred Hitchcock probably wanted. Ambiguous endings really mess with the mind, and I find that oddly intriguing and powerful. The unknown has always fascinated me.

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