Directed by David Cronenberg [Other horror films: Shivers (1975), Rabid (1977), Scanners (1981), Videodrome (1983), The Dead Zone (1983), The Fly (1986), Dead Ringers (1988), Naked Lunch (1991), eXistenZ (1999), Crimes of the Future (2022)]
I’ve seen this Cronenberg film once before, and it wasn’t quite my thing. That didn’t really surprise me, as I was similarly lukewarm toward Videodrome (despite it’s classic status). I’ve not yet seen many of Cronenberg’s other movies, but only one (Shivers, or They Come from Within) was something I actually liked.
All this said, I enjoyed The Brood a little bit more than when I first saw it. It still seems all over the place, and doesn’t quite get close to reaching an average rating from me, but it’s still an unique experience that’s perhaps worth seeing at least one time around.
At times, the story here seems muddled, and it’s not always clear where exactly the plot is going. At first, I thought there was going to be a big issue made of the grandmother abusing Frank’s (Art Hindle) daughter, but instead, the old woman gets killed by a mutant child, who then kills another character, and eventually kidnaps the daughter herself. All this is going on while Hindle’s character is investigating a controversial therapy method that his wife is undergoing, and it doesn’t necessarily seem to all fit together, even by the ending.
Performance-wise, Art Hindle is okay as the lead character. I think that psychologist Oliver Reed made more an impression, but I wasn’t moved much by Samantha Eggar whatsoever (even during the somewhat surprising and very odd finale). Susan Hogan played a nice character addition, but aside from a solid death sequence, she wasn’t that relevant to the story. I think a surprising stand-out, as far as performances go, is Henry Beckman. There’s a scene in which he’s drinking and reminiscing about his recently deceased ex-wife. That was somewhat emotional in itself, but the conclusion of that scene just ensures it’s one of the better sequences in the film.
There were some aspects I liked about this movie. Hindle’s character encounters a mutant child-type thing, and informs the police, who actually proceed to have an actual useful autopsy on it, which points out what an odd mutation this kid is. Just seeing the authorities actually having no choice but to believe a bizarre claim is a nice change of pace, though ultimately, I don’t think it really leads anywhere.
The conclusion itself is decently suspenseful, regardless of the fact I didn’t much care for where the story went. I wouldn’t go as far as to say the ending validates the rest of the movie, or makes it worth watching alone, but it’s solid. Even so, the whole of the movie doesn’t impress me (a big part of this, aside from the flaws in the story, stem from the fact I’m really not a fan of body horror), and while I did enjoy it more this time around, I doubt that I’ll grow much fonder of this one down the line.
This is one of the film’s covered on Fight Evil’s podcast. If you’re at all interested in the hidden mysteries of the world, listen below as Chucky (@ChuckyFE) and I discuss this film.
4 thoughts on “The Brood (1979)”