Filmed in LA earlier this year and from the producer of Armageddon, Songbird takes the coronavirus pandemic four years into the future. And it’s not pretty.
The words “quarantine” and “self-isolation” have entered the 2020 vocabulary in an incredibly frightening and dystopian way, as the coronavirus pandemic very quickly altered how we live our lives and see our futures.
But a US-based filmmaking team, including Michael Bay (known for Armageddon, Pearl Harbor and Transformers) have taken the story – and our fears – one step further with upcoming film Songbird.
It takes place in 2024, when Covid-19 has mutated (and is called Covid-23), causing a four-year lockdown and a 50% mortality rate. Oh, and the virus can infect your brain tissue – just in case you weren’t terrified enough IRL.
The trailer is soundtracked throughout by a haunting rendition of Bob Marley’s Three Little Birds – a track used, until now that is, to incite calm amongst reggae and pop music listeners alike – and shows us an abandoned, dilapidated Santa Monica bridge, empty LA streets and ominous smoky skies.
Basically, all the things you see in your classic end-of-the-world movie – except it’s based on a pandemic that is still happening. Right now.
Filmed in LA earlier this year (throughout July and August, while many countries across the world were still in real-life lockdown), the film centres on a star-crossed couple. Riverdale’s KJ Apa plays immune bike courier Nico, while Sofia Carson plays his doomed lover Sara. Demi Moore also stars. Nico and Sara are living separately in quarantine and only communicating via video call (those of us who have tried dating during lockdown can possibly relate to this part).
Trouble arrives in their kinda-pandemic-paradise with a menacing visit from the Department of Sanitation when Sara’s neighbour gets infected, putting the couple in peril as Nico tries to save her.
While this story may have filled some kind of psychological dystopian thriller trope before the events of this year, the trailer makes for uncomfortable viewing. As does the idea of the movie coming out during the pandemic it’s based on.
Movie lovers have taken to Twitter to take issue with the release – and ultimate plot – of Songbird, with one user posting in protest “You could have made any film, but you chose this one. People are already living in REAL fear from the REAL Covid-19. This is just digging a blade further into the wound.”
Another called the trailer “crass, stupid and [an] irresponsible movie to release right now. Who the hell is this supposed to ‘entertain’?”
The trailer closes out with an as-yet-unidentified man talking through Sara’s door, telling her to “stay safe, sane and sanitised”. This thing hits you hard, and close to home.
A release date for Songbird is yet to be announced.
Images: STX Films