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A man's wife is under the care of an eccentric and unconventional psychologist who uses innovative and theatrical techniques to breach the psychological blocks in his patients. When their daughter comes back from a visit with her mother and is covered with bruises and welts, the father attempts to bar his wife from seeing the daughter but faces resistance from the secretive psychologist. Meanwhile, the wife's mother and father are attacked by strangely deformed children, and the man begins to suspect a connection with the psychologist's methods. Written by
Ed Sutton <firstname.lastname@example.org>
A Particularly Interesting Piece of Sci-Fi/Horror Camp That Stands Out Against the Rest
The Brood is not another horror or sci-fi film about telepathic powers or telekinesis and it is also not just another film about deformed people or animals presented as vicious killers. That's what makes it particularly intriguing. It's about inwardly compressed emotion vented outward in physiological ways. That right there is a brilliant concept. It opens as a man breaks out in welts all over his body during a session with Oliver Reed's breakthrough psychologist, as a way of expressing deep-seated anger towards his emotionally abusive father. It's by this token that weird, hideous creatures are birthed, and as the plot unfolds, we come to understand their emotive causes for their attacks.
It's an early work by David Cronenberg, a filmmaker who does not simply make science fiction and horror movies. He uses the most downreaching, internal, abstract emotions to flow through a story of dark, often supernatural horror. There is always an indescribability to his films, including each and every one of them, when it comes to their pace, their elusive effect, and the direction of their stories. I was disappointed, however, as someone who knows Cronenberg's later films very well, to find The Brood to not have that mysterious emotional effect through any of those indescribable qualities that are usually present in his work. In fact, for a film which is all about emotion and its guises, it's quite cold. Each of the central characters is completely wooden and so is the film-making itself.
At the same time as his characters' bodies are forever augmenting, decomposing or both, Cronenberg's art has its own inventive mutative fluctuation, and here the low-budget exploitation crust casts off for a chilly, detached arrangement not unlike Bergman's Face to Face a few years earlier. The plot would outshine The Bob Newhart Show as the recognized '70s psycho-jargon send-up if not for Cronenberg's fascinating intricacy and resolute implementation, an growth and fine-tuning of his texture for psychosomatic horror.
The Brood isn't a great film by any means due not only to its lacking of feeling that is shocking considering its credentials but also to typical cheesy sequences of suspense and violence. However, I will always look at it as a particularly interesting piece of sci-fi/horror camp that stands out against the rest.
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