To say David Cronenberg’s movies aren’t for everyone would be a massive understatement. I checked out ‘The Brood’ knowing next to nothing about it; just that it’s one of Cronenberg’s first movies. Videodrome and The Fly are two of my favorite ‘horror’ movies, even though if you’ve seen any of his movies, you’d understand they’re not typical horror movies at all. A David Cronenberg movie usually borders on surreal, and helped create the genre of ‘body horror’ (derived from the destruction or degeneration of the body). The Brood is a great representation of everything the director went on to become, and really sets the stage for his very specific brand of ‘weird’.
Describing the plot of this movie is going to be an uphill battle, but I’m going to do my best. The main character is Frank Carveth, who recently checked his wife into a radical new psychotherapy facility led by the enigmatic Dr. Hal Raglan. His method for treating patients is called ‘psychoplasmics’, which heavily utilizes letting go of emotions through physiological changes to their bodies. Frank begins to become concerned for his wife after he notices bruises and cuts on his young daughter after she spends a weekend visiting her at the facility. From there the movie goes into some bizarre, and seemingly disconnected directions, but it all manages to tie in during the third act. Speaking of which, this movie has one of the most intense and just plain dark endings I’ve seen in a long time (not to mention disgusting, even by Cronenberg standards).
While the plot of The Brood was more than enough to keep me involved, there were some really great performances as well. Oliver Reed (Tommy, Gladiator) is amazing as Dr. Raglan. He’s able to be terrifying and downright cruel one moment, and then warm and welcoming all in the same scene. I’m definitely going to have to check out some stuff from his filmography. Samantha Eggar is also damn good as Franks mentally ill wife (probably going to have a nightmare or ten because of that ending). Other than the performances, Howard Shore’s score for ‘The Brood’ has the perfect mix of chaos and tension. It’s no surprise he went on to make the now classic ‘Lord of the Rings’ scores, which he won three academy awards for.
So ‘The Brood’ really, really isn’t for everyone. However, if you liked any of cronenberg’s other movies, then this one might be right in your wheelhouse. Keep in mind, this movie is REALLY not for the faint of heart. Even for people so conditioned to the gore of horror movies (or Game of Thrones) today, there’s something so realistic and unsettling about violence in older movies. Anyway, that about wraps up ‘The Brood’. If you end up checking it out, or really any of the movies I’ve written about, hit me up to talk about them! I probably won’t be sleeping anyway, thanks to Mr. Cronenberg.