Birds, The (1963)
"But it isn't dark, Annie. There's a full moon."
One on Hitchcock's more underrated efforts. In many ways it's Hitchcock's attempt at the then-popular and burgeoning European Art Film. An excellent look at mankind's persistent failures of communication (note how often the characters say "you see" or "I see," and yet no one really does, while the birds, lacking in language, are able to coordinate large scale attacks). Starting out as light romantic comedy is an excellent touch, making the move toward the bird apocalypse all the more harrowing. Also brilliant is the lack of a score--a story such as this devolves so easily into camp, particularly with overbearing music browbeating the audience's emotions, that simply letting the screeching birds provide ambient noise is the wisest choice. As usual, there is much dark humor ("Sam, three southern fried chicken"), and the film is beautiful visually as well. The special effects were remarkable for the time, and still hold up quite nicely. The scenes at the school and in the attic are textbook Hitchcock. And you have to love the ending--like Vertigo, Hitchcock avoids Hollywood cliche and instead permits the film to reach its logical conclusion artfully.