Friday, June 19, 2009

Cancer of the Soul


The Brood 1979
Director: David Cronenberg
Writer: David Cronenberg
Starring Oliver Reed, Samantha Eggar, Art hindle, Susan Hogan and Cindy Hinds

Cronenberg is one of my favorite horror film directors, and the Brood is one I have been meaning to see for a long while. I am pleased to say it was well worth the wait, this one is definitely in my top 5 of Cronenberg films. The story is compelling, and it is frightening and sickening at times. The scene at the end where Nola gives birth to her new rage baby and licks it clean is definitely one of the sickest scenes I have ever seen on film. The acting is great as Reed is always great and he does not let you down in this film. It is a great film on the allegory of abuse and what it does to the human psyche.
The plot basics are this, Doctor Raglan (Reed) is a psychiatrist who specializes in a new scientific theory called psychoplasmics. We then meet Frank Carveth (Hindle) who's wife Nola ( Eggar) is under Raglan's care and their daughter Candy (Hinds) who visits Nola on the weekends. When Frank is washing Cindy one day she notices bruised and sores on Cindy's back and goes to Raglan and says Nola abused her and will not be bringing her back for visits. But he must because he could lost his parenting rights, so he tries to find something to hold over Raglan. Drank leaves Cindy with her Grandmother, and she is brutally attacked by what appears to be a deformed child. Soon it becomes clear that anyone who has wronged Nola or she has perceived to wrong her dies horribly. This leads Frank to discover that Nola is expressing her rage through giving birth to them and making them carry out her orders or her subconscious feelings. This leads to a climax at the end where Cindy has been captured by the rage killers and Raglan and Frank have to work together to retrieve Cindy safely.
What a twisted little film. The direction by Croneberg is as always brilliant. He sets up the scenes with clarity and you always feel something horrible is going to happen around the corner. His script is great too, it is a great allegory on abuse and how it affects the brain, and how people lash out with their anger in disturbing ways. The acting is great, Reed as Raglan is magnetic, and Eggar as Nola is just creepy and evil, and you never feel any sympathy for her. Hindle does a good job in the thankless hero role, but is overshadowed by Reed and Eggar. The SFX are great especially during the birthing and cleaning scene. I also thought the music by Howard Shore, was quite haunting and appropriate. This one is highly recommended.
This one gets 5 out of 5

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