‘Songbird’ heightens COVID-19 fears


Phoebe Miller '23

The trailer for the movie depicts an apocalyptic scene, and pushes the idea that COVID-19 will be the end of the world as we know it.

Phoebe Miller '23, Staff Writer

In January, the first news of a cluster of a pneumonia-like illness was posted by the World Health Organization on social media. In February, the illness was named: COVID-19. On March 11, it was declared a pandemic, and by March 13, two days later, much of the world was on lockdown. My world, like everybody else’s, was rocked by this massive event. Online school, masks, gloves and not touching our mail for 24 hours after receiving it, among other changes, was the new normal. 

Family movies, especially ones about pandemics, became an everyday pastime, with my family watching fictional quarantines while reality crept in around us. Producer Michael Bay’s new movie, “Songbird,” was aiming to do just that by attempting to entertain people with fictional events during a worldwide pandemic. But that’s where he went wrong.

The movie had the potential to be entertaining; however, with the similarities echoing those of our own international crisis that is continuing to unfold in front of our own eyes, it’s far too soon for a movie to be made about it. 

The movie trailer, released on Oct. 29, depicts an essential worker, (KJ Apa) with an immunity to the new mutation of coronavirus, now called COVID-23. The trailer opens with a virtual meeting between him and his girlfriend, but quickly shifts to shots of empty streets and amusement parks, with the voice of a woman blaring “Curfew is now in effect.”  This detail was eerily similar to the curfews that have taken place since the beginning of our own pandemic. 

For months, we have been experiencing the unexplored waters of COVID-19. We are already undergoing our own type of horror movie, why should a film about this nightmare be made at this time?

“Songbird” capitalizes off of fears of COVID-19, with the earmarks of our own pandemic, proclaiming that people will be “shot on sight” if they leave their homes during a virus that is almost identical to ours. The movie also pushes the idea that the government will soon force citizens to stay inside at all times, no matter what it takes. And for me, it was all too real and all too unnecessary.

It was moved to be a not-in-theaters release, and has instead premiered on Dec. 10 on all- premium video, on-demand platforms. But I think it would have been better to not release it at all. Movies will be made about this in the future, and it will be taught about in future classrooms, too. But for now, I’d rather seek comfort in a good comedy, and leave the glamorized pandemic horror films on the shelf.