For the last nine months, the world has been going through the throes of a pandemic outbreak: borders closed, businesses have shut down, and between March and June, most everyone in America was locked inside; stuck in isolation, in quarantine, at home alone.
Production stopped on almost all television shows and movies. Hollywood closed as LA began enforcing some of the strictest COVID-19 guidelines and restrictions anywhere in the country. Any workers who were not “essential” were laid off, furloughed or forced to work from home. Actors, directors, production crews, film set employees of all breeds (and other non-essential workers just like them) were suddenly put out of work.
Except for those who were hired to work on a brand-new film called Songbird — the only movie that was allowed to be made this year, by Hollywood, LA or actors guilds. A film about a dystopian post-apocalyptic America that’s been brought to its knees by a mutated COVID-19 virus.
Yes, really. The premise of this story is that the SARS-COV-2 virus has mutated yet again and the world is entering its 214th week of lockdown. Everyone is stuck at home and infected individuals are being abducted from their residences and placed in “Q-camps” (read: concentration camps) where they are forced to get better or die. The main character is a bicycle delivery person, who is immune to the virus because he was infected with the previous COVID-19 strain and is trying to get to his sick girlfriend before she’s taken to a Q-camp.
Here's the trailer (which, weirdly enough, uses the same Bob Marley song used in the trailers for I Am Legend and The Stand — both films about a deadly pandemic that kills off most of humanity).
Songbird began production began back in June (notably several weeks after LA locked down completely and forbid Hollywood from making films) and was wrapped by early August. The release date is planned for December 11th on premium VOD.
Just in time for another lockdown! What serendipity.
Naturally, the reception of this film’s trailer, didn't go over well. It’s been widely criticized as “exploitative cinema” as it tries to wring the collective trauma of this pandemic, for revenue.
Besides, people are living through this fucked up reality every day, and most of them watch movies to escape it — a fact Michael Bay seems to have forgotten or ignored. This film forces viewers deeper into The Fear, compelling them to consider a dystopian worst-case scenario. And worse yet, it romanticizes the situation a la Romeo and Juliet.
It’s peculiar that this was the only film given the greenlight this year. Sure, the actors were kept separate, they never had more than 40 people on set, and they took other COVID-19 precautions, according to the Songbird Wiki. But couldn’t other films have proceeded similarly? Why just this one? What makes this movie so special, that it had to be pushed through?
Naturally, the trailer for Songbird got the conspiracy gears a’turning in people’s minds. The YouTube comments were full of gems like these:
“This is not about a ‘Virus.’ This is about CONTROL!” Said Tacitus Kilgore.
“More propaganda to keep Americans distracted and in a state of CHAOS. This is ridiculous.” Said Good Samaritan.
“First, they put their demonic intentions in the movies then they implement those demonic intentions on the public. They need your fear. Don't give it to them.” Said CreativeToMakeup.
My personal favorite however, came from Benjamin Clark: “While they were telling us to ‘Stay Home, Save Lives,’ this was being made. A big middle finger to literally everyone involved in this disturbing piece of propaganda. Don't let election drama get the best of you! We're all being played. Time to unite with the understand that they want to destroy the USA, and they will do it by provoking all of us through the television. No more left/right wing, for the love of GOD. We are being PLAYED.”
You said it Benjamin.
Only time will tell how this movie’s release actually goes — but it’s not looking good. Which seems curious. Michael Bay isn’t new to directing, he’s made over 20 films; surely, he understood that a movie like Songbird wouldn’t play well to audiences who are living in terror that this exact scenario might unfold.
Maybe he was just being short-sighted, saw an opportunity and decided to jump on it before some other asshat director tried to. Or, maybe this is some kind of conditioning project he was contracted by the CIA to produce, so that they can slowly unroll this reality on us one phase at a time, until we’re entering week 214 of lockdown and they’ve started sending infected individual to concentration camps…
There’s really no way of knowing. All we can be certain of is that Songbird is the movie no one asked for, that no one wanted and which was made at the worst possible time.