Sunday, April 13, 2008
The Brood (1979)
David Cronenberg's The Brood is a pretty twisted picture, but if you're familiar with his other work then that won't surprise you. The Brood was made right around the same time as Scanners and Rabid so it's right smack in the middle of when he was making some of his most disturbing films.
Art Hindle plays Frank Carveth, a father of a five-year-old daughter named Candice and husband to a mentally ill wife Nola (Samantha Eggar). Nola is a patient in a facility that practices a new type of psychiatry where the psychiatrist takes on the roles of people in the patient's life in order to get them to express their deep inner feelings.
One day after picking up his daughter from her weekend visit with Nola, Frank notices that Candice has been beaten; presumably by Nola. This obviously upsets Frank greatly, and he storms down to the psychiatry building to tell them that Candice will not be returning for her weekly visits to her mother.
A little later on in the week Frank takes Candice to stay with her Grandmother for the day while he works. Not long after he drops her off, there is a disturbance in her kitchen. Grandma goes to investigate, and is brutally murdered by what seems to be a child wearing a red coat. Candice not only sees the body, but she also sees the killer and it seems to have traumatized her as it would any normal child.
As the film goes on, more people that are either family members of Nola or friends of her husband and daughter are killed by these children who we now learn are essentially mutants. After Candice is kidnapped by these miniature killers, Frank realizes he must hunt them down if he ever wants to see his daughter again.
Although there are very few scenes where the creatures are actually present, The Brood is a very scary film. The brilliant musical score written by Howard Shore really adds to the suspense and elevates the fear factor to the next level. There are many great performances, especially by Samantha Eggar and Oliver Reed who plays the psychiatrist Dr. Hal Raglan. Ms. Eggar really brings Nola’s insanity to the next level.
Many films that have a child as one of the lead roles are brought down by poor performances by the child actor. This is not the case in The Brood as young Cindy Hinds does a fantastic job as Candice. Although she has a very prominent role, her lines are few and far between which really works in portraying her inner terror at the horrible things she has seen.
I would recommend The Brood for anyone that loves horror films or early Cronenberg. Personally I thought it was a little too scary for me, so if you get scared fairly easily in movies then I might skip it. Also if you are a fan of Cronenberg's newer work like A History of Violence or Eastern Promises then you should know that his earlier work like The Brood is very different. It's much cruder and grittier and feels a lot less Hollywood. Personally I prefer his newer work, but I certainly appreciate his older stuff. Overall 2.5/4 Stars Grade = B-