FILM REVIEW | Songbird

Songbird's big promotional claim is being the 'first movie made during the pandemic'.

Sadly, this is less of a brag and more of an excuse once you've seen the film.

The movie, directed by Adam Mason and produced by big-budget disaster fiend Michael Bay, is set during a worldwide pandemic that has forced everyone without natural immunity into their homes.

Those who are immune - 'Munies' - work as couriers, flitting about their Los Angeles suburbs passing packages through pandemic-safe delivery boxes.

Our main character Nico (Kiwi actor KJ Apa, from Riverdale) is one such Munie, and has struck up a relationship with aspiring artist Sara (Sofia Carson, Feel the Beat).

The pair have never met in the flesh, but are planning for the day they can both get their 'immunity bracelets' and escape the city for greener, less virus-affected pastures.

Everything falls apart, though, when Sara's live-in grandmother falls victim to the deadly virus.

Nico is now in a race against time to secure a black market immunity bracelet for his love before the Department of Sanitation (the villains of the story) come knocking to take Sara to the 'Q zone' - an unending quarantine prison.

The whole film is very much on the nose.

Turning our very real life pandemic into a poorly written, poorly executed action thriller is not what anyone wants to see.

On the nose: Sofia Carson stars as Sara in underwhelming and unenjoyable pandemic film Songbird, rated MA15+, in cinemas now. Picture: STX Films

On the nose: Sofia Carson stars as Sara in underwhelming and unenjoyable pandemic film Songbird, rated MA15+, in cinemas now. Picture: STX Films

A side story follows wealthy married couple William and Piper Griffin, and their daughter Emma, who are involved in the black market bracelet trade.

Demi Moore (Ghost) plays Piper, and, unfortunately, is rather terrible - her performance is a far sight from those in her critically and commercially adored films of the 90s.

Bradley Whitford (The West Wing) is only slightly better as William.

He plays just a truly awful character, who is not only cheating on his wife, but is a dead-set abusive stalker putting his immuno-compromised daughter's life at risk by heading into the infected world to hook up with wannabe singer May (Alexandra Daddario, continuing to pick awful movies in which to showcase her talents).

May seems to be the Songbird of the title (maybe?) but it's hard to tell, as she's far from a main character.

The film also stars Craig Robinson (Brooklyn Nine-Nine), Peter Stormare (Fargo) and Paul Walter Hauser (Richard Jewell), who easily has the best and most interesting character - if only the screenwriters realised that.

On the whole, Songbird is cringey and poorly made - not worth the trip to the cinema.

Points only for Carson and Hauser.

Rating: 4/10