|31 Days of Horror|
No, not the "Frightism Trailers" banner --- I had trouble finding an original trailer with good sound quality, so the advertisement was well worth it --- the warning:
Now comes a major motion picture event that will take you far beyond anything ever filmed before. You are about to journey beyond fear, beyond terror, beyond the boundaries of your mind, in a film so terrifying, it will devastate you totally.My immediate response to that was "Bullshit." Of course, my immediate response to the next scene, where kitchen goods are being knocked on the floor, was to reference The Jerk and say, "He hates these cereals! Stay away from the cereals!" My immediate reactions can be a tad flippant at times (or all the time). Still, the trailer intrigued me, if only because I had never seen a film that promised to "devastate [me] totally."
The Brood begins with Dr. Raglan (Oliver Reed) on stage with another, much uglier, man. The lighting is sparse, the stage set seems to be bare, and the two men appear to be talking about...daddy issues?
|"Why did you curse me with this hairline and this skin?"|
|"Trust me, I'm an evil doctor. I mean...regular doctor"|
|"Smell this. It'll hold up in court"|
|If this kid made a cat noise, I would call it The Canadian Grudge|
|Thank god they didn't make Lord of the Rings in the 1970s|
The acting in The Brood is okay, but a bit melodramatic. Art Hindle was solid in the lead role; all he had to do was seem reasonable and fairly likable, and he was able to do that with ease. He was a little blank at times, but no more so than most other main characters in horror movies.
|Is he horrified by an atrocity, or does the carpet match the wallpaper?|
|Those are some excellent crazy eyes|
David Cronenberg wrote and directed The Brood, and if you're familiar with Cronenberg's work, that shouldn't surprise you. Why is that? Because it gets pretty weird, that's why. From a direction standpoint, I liked what Cronenberg did. He effectively built up the tension throughout the film, and made sure it paid off. You can definitely argue that the pace is too slow, but I thought it worked with the tone of the movie. Speaking of the tone, right off the bat, from the first second of the credits, you are aware that you are watching a horror movie. The soundtrack is almost completely composed of discordant strings, as if the violinist is saying "Something bad will eventually happen!" Actually, the overwhelming soundtrack cues are part of what makes the pace seem slow; the music builds and...nothing. Still, I didn't mind that for some reason. Cronenberg also did a good job capturing the grossness in this movie.
|Why is she licking that baby clean? Aside from making me puke in my mouth a little|
|Actual dialogue from this scene: "Cronenberg!" (said like "Ta-da!")|
Cronenberg's writing for The Brood was a bit more problematic for me. For starters, the dialogue was pretty rough in patches. Three examples jumped out at me:
- Assistant: "Should I stop him?" [as Nola's father gets in his car] Dr. Raglan: "No, he's drunk." [car drives away]. Because that sounds like something a doctor would say.
- A policeman says "It wouldn't be the first time," after theorizing that the dwarf killer thing was the misshapen mutant child of someone that had been raised in secrecy and exploded with fury when it was able to escape into the real world. WHAT?!?
- Candice's teacher puts off romancing Frank because "[his] life is too complicated," and he takes that without comment. You know what he could have said? "Sorry it took longer than I expected. Instead of meeting up with my father-in-law and driving him home, I found his corpse and had to stay for the police investigation. Which you would have known if you only picked up the damn phone."
|I didn't guess that they all had hoodies|
|And this doesn't quite work as a kidnapping scene|
Despite the problems I had with Cronenberg's writing, I still enjoyed The Brood. I would have preferred a less predictable story, but at least I was surprised by the visuals. It says something about the execution of the twist in this film that, even though I more or less predicted it, I was still satisfied. There are many, many moments that make me suspect that this could be Lefty Gold upon further viewings, but it still functions as a legitimate horror movie. But it is definitely weird, which is reason enough to recommend it in a genre filled with rehashed ideas. The silliness of the writing knocked it down a few notches for me, but I have a sneaking suspicion that this movie gets better with repeated viewings. I don't know if it lives up to the hype of devastating you totally, but this is definitely a movie you can't un-see.