Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

COVID-19 is COVID-23 in the trailer for Songbird, Michael Bay's trashy pandemic thriller

Peter Stormare in Songbird
Peter Stormare in Songbird
Screenshot: STXfilms

Of course Hollywood’s first feature about COVID-19 was produced by Michael Bay, who, with director Adam Mason, has turned a pandemic that’s in the process of killing hundreds of thousands of Americans into a “sci-fi thriller” about a world in which lockdown’s in its fourth year and the infected are rounded up in camps called “Q-Zones.” Yay! Escapism!

COVID-19 is now COVID-23, a mutation of the virus that’s somehow caused the nation’s highways and ferris wheels to fall into disrepair. Yet love still blooms in these grimy times—KJ Apa’s “fearless courier,” immune to the virus, falls for a woman in lockdown (Sofia Carson), who only he can save from a sneering Peter Stormare, here playing the “corrupt head of the city’s ‘sanitation’ department.” Elsewhere, Demi Moore cocks a gun and Bradley Whitford engages in a bit of COVID-themed kink.

Watch the trailer below:

While it’s easy to ask who, exactly, something like this is for in 2020, let us not forget that Steven Soderbergh’s Contagion blossomed in popularity in the early days of the pandemic. Granted, that was a sober dramatization of a crisis, while this looks like some boilerplate dystopia porn that was rewritten to include the words “COVID-23.”


Songbird is, as Trump says of a vaccine, “coming soon.”

Randall Colburn is The A.V. Club's Internet Culture Editor. He lives in Chicago, occasionally writes plays, and was a talking head in Best Worst Movie, the documentary about Troll 2.

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