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Reviews & Ratings for
The Brood More at IMDbPro »

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44 out of 54 people found the following review useful:

The Dwarfs of Wrath...

9/10
Author: Coventry from the Draconian Swamp of Unholy Souls
23 December 2005

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Another brilliant early David Cronenberg horror film, subtly stuffed with sexual obsessions and social criticism as it was also the case in "Shivers" and "Rabid", only the idea of this film is even more original and the tension is more overwhelming. "The Brood" quite often is a genuinely terrifying horror-highlight with grueling special effects as well as truly disturbing social themes. Cronenberg's own and intelligently written script once again focuses on humans' defining "inner-evil" (it's his hobby-horse) and blends real-life issues like child abuse and psychiatric patients with adorable low-budget horror topics such as mad scientists and eerie mutant killers. Nola Carveth is one of sinister Dr. Hal Raglan's "Psychoplasmics" patients that unleash their hatred through physical manifestations, like rashes or tumors. But Nola is an extreme case so her outbursts are also far more extreme than the other patients and she produces malicious dwarfs that kill everyone who comes near her husband and 5-year-old daughter Candy. The premise of "The Brood" sounds absurd and incredibly far-fetched but, believe me, it's alarmingly convincing and scary. Roger Ebert was wrong (again) when he claimed this is a boring waste of time. The guy simply doesn't know horror! The last 15 minutes are effectively nauseating, perhaps a little too controversial for some people, and the evil children are petrifying. What is it with little people that makes them so uncanny? "The Brood" is less gore than Cronenberg's previous two films (the aforementioned "Shivers" and Rabid") but the killings are nevertheless nasty and that one sequence inside the kindergarten classroom is more than enough to skyrocket the shock-value of this film. Horror/exploitation veteran Oliver Reed is sublime as the overly ambitious Dr. Raglan. Excellent stuff, David Cronenberg was (and still is) a genius filmmaker!

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37 out of 45 people found the following review useful:

A great, under-appreciated horror classic!

Author: Rupert-15 from Madismon, WI
17 June 2000

One of Cronenberg's best films! It has some moments that will stick with you for a while. When the brood first appears and the beatings begin, I was not only disturbed by them, but the way that their faces look was burned onto my brain. I once read that Cronenberg calls this film his KRAMER VS. KRAMER. I think that's very interesting. He's taken the pain that he went through in his own life and manifested it in the physical form of these creatures. I find this kind of creativity to be associated only with some of the more visionary contemporary filmmakers. Cronenberg is that, there is no question. Performances by the late great Oliver Reed, Samantha Eggar and Art Hindle are perfect for the film. It is scary and disturbing and should be seen by all horror film fans. I find it to be a sadly neglected classic.

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32 out of 38 people found the following review useful:

An intimate horror movie

Author: ziggy-24
26 April 2000

The Brood is undoubtedly the most personal movie Cronenberg ever made : we all know the film describes Cronenberg's vision of his own divorce (and the custody of his daughter Cassandra) ; at that time, his then-wife belonged to what he thought was a cult and he did kidnap his own daughter in order to protect her. Thus The Brood is full of rage, vengeance and death wish… It is a truly frightening story and, in its own way, a candid vision of one's personal tragedy. It seems to be a tale from the Grimm brothers, and, at the same time, a reflection on the powerful link between body and spirit. The script is surprisingly complex and rich, even if, in the end, there is definitely something childish in the movie, but in a positive way: the childish belief that "thoughts can kill" only tempered by the final sequence, when we understand that this little girl, so cruelly abused, will eventually reproduce what her mother developed. The image of this mother (Samantha Eggar at her best, revealing her tortured body that evokes a Roman goddess) is one of the most terrifying one in world cinema. The Brood is a key to understand one of the Cronenberg's major themes: the uncanny… How what is closest to us, family, mother, grandparents, might suddenly become the ultimate horror. What frightens us is not outlandish or alien, on the contrary, it's always part of our intimate universe (as in Videodrome).

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35 out of 47 people found the following review useful:

Contains one of the most memorable scenes in film history!

Author: Vancity_Film_Fanatic from Vancouver, BC, Canada
23 January 2005

David Cronenberg's "The Brood" is both frightening and shocking. A tale of psychological horror guaranteed to make even the most jaded horror fan recoil in disbelief. The plot in a nutshell - In the care of an eccentric therapist (Oliver Reed), a woman (Samantha Eggar) undergoes an experimental form of anger management; while parallel to her treatment are a serious of bizarre and questionable murders. At the heart of the story is her husband (Art Hindle), who is in desperate search of the truth behind the strange goings on. The film is especially visually appealing; with perfectly framed scenes, cold & stark cinematography, and classy looking 70's costume design. The special effects though minimal throughout the film, are both amazing and disturbing. Cronenberg masterfully stages the murders in a thrillingly suspenseful and brutally violent manner, effectively balancing the terror between what is seen and not seen. It is questionable if filmmakers in today's world would be bold enough to make this film. The eerie musical score by (now veteran) Howard Shore creates an extra degree of tension to the unfolding events. The performances are all convincing, and definitely above par for a horror movie. With a shocking final twist; this movie is not to be missed, a highly recommended 9/10!

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18 out of 23 people found the following review useful:

Cronenberg Grows

7/10
Author: Krug Stillo (nhargii@hotmail.com) from Wales
9 July 2003

A very personal film for Cronenberg who was going through a divorce during the time of its making, The Brood has all the Cronenbergian motifs, plus great characterisation and a great performance from all involved.

Dr. Raglan (Oliver Reed) who is experimenting with metaphysical rage runs the Summerfree Institute. There he encourages his patience to indulge in allowing their inner anger to materialise in warts and blisters on their body. One of his patience is the demented Nola (Samantha Eggar) who has taken Raglan's therapy to the next stage. Her rage is apparently so potent that it results in The Brood, a savage group of dwarfs that emerge from the cysts on Nola's body. Unfortunately, Nola has another child, Candy and when her ex-husband, Frank (Art Hindle) finds that his wife is too unstable to look after their child he suppresses parental access. Nola goes even more insane and the brood ventures out to kill all those she believes have or may cause her harm. Although the carnage isn't excessively violent, the scene where Nola produces one of the dwarfs from a bloody sack and licks it clean leaves a nasty aftertaste.

Cronenberg has long been associated with fear of biological change, but is surprising that not many have picked up on his fascination, or dread of organisations. There's the Starliner Towers (Shivers), Keloid Clinic (Rabid), Summerfree Institute (The Brood), ConSec (Scanners), Spectacular Optical (Videodrome), Bartok Industries (The Fly), The Mantle Clinic (Dead Ringers), PildrImage Manufacturers (eXsistenZ).

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12 out of 13 people found the following review useful:

"The ultimate experience of inner terror."

Author: Backlash007 from Kentucky
5 October 2003

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

~Spoiler~

The Brood is one of director David Cronenberg's best excursions into the realm of biological horror. The Brood is an examination of emotions (rage in particular) and how one psychiatrist allows his patients to release this rage. Once released, the emotion manifests itself in the form of warts, blisters, and boils on their bodies. But Dr. Raglan's star patient Nola has taken this therapy to the next level. Her emotions bring forth `children of rage' which do her unconscious bidding. This is not good news for her husband, Frank, and first child, Candy. Nor is it good news for anyone who has ever wronged her. This movie scared the hell out of me. One scene in particular outshines every gruesome act ever filmed. Nola has just revealed that the Brood are indeed born from her rage and her body. She bites open a womblike sac, pulls out her newest blood-soaked child, and licks the little beast clean. It's like a bad car wreck. You don't want to be seeing it, yet you can't turn away. My eyes were the largest they've been in quite some time. Cronenberg also got some great performances out of his cast. Oliver Reed and Samantha Eggar really shine here in their doctor/patient roles of Raglan and Nola. I also identified very much with our hero played by Art Hindle. He's doing whatever he can to stay sane when his entire world is crumbling around him. He just wants to protect his daughter-which brings up my next point. The Brood is also a metaphor for divorce. The mother and father, when you shed all the horror, are having a custody battle for Candy. It is these two themes, divorce and rage, that are the heart of the flick and puts it three steps above the usual genre fair. The film hints that Nola was beaten by her mother at a young age and, in return, Nola may have beaten her own child. The cycle of violence has continued here. And there may not be an end in sight because Cronenberg closes the film with a shot of Candy's arm, covered in the same warts. I am beyond impressed with this film. Cronenberg (pre-1988) is one of the top filmmakers of the genre.

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12 out of 15 people found the following review useful:

Disturbing horror with a very real message...

10/10
Author: AngryChair from Brentwood, USA
8 March 2007

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Early horror classic from director David Cronenberg remains one of his most intelligent and utterly shocking films!

Troubled woman under experimental therapy begins to manifest her rage in the form of violent, mutant children that menace her husband and young daughter.

David Cronenberg has long been known as a director with a love of the bizarre and The Brood ranks high on the cinematic weirdness scale. Yet from this eerie tale comes a very real-life message of the destructiveness of child abuse. Story-wise this film is a true gripper, with plenty of suspense and some down right nightmarish scenes. The plot builds to a finale that is terrifically intense; the final revelations being quite chilling. Cronenberg's direction is well-polished creating a haunting atmosphere and the special makeup FX are unforgettably good. The violence however is occasionally graphic so it's not for all tastes. In short, The Brood isn't for the squeamish.

The performances are excellent. The late Oliver Reed is splendidly sinister as the odd psychotherapist. Samantha Eggar does a haunting performance as the disturbed mother of 'the brood'. Art Hindle is good as always as Eggar's understandably worried husband. The supporting cast is also good.

For horror fans, The Brood is a must-see classic. It's certainly a frightening journey that won't be forgotten. One of Cronenberg's greatest films!

*** 1/2 out of ****

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13 out of 17 people found the following review useful:

Terrific little horror film

8/10
Author: BroadswordCallinDannyBoy from Boston, MA
1 September 2005

A great early film from the one and only, "Baron of Blood."

A husband is going through a hard time in his life when he must care for his daughter after his wife was sent away to a mental institution. The doctor running the institution is respected in his field, but controversial in his methods and there is a smell of something foul in the air. Things only get worse for the husband when his in-laws are killed some strange little monsters and his daughter winds up with scars after visiting her mother in the hospital. Added to that the doctor refuses to talk about the man's wife and he seems to treat her as somewhat of a prized patient giving her special care. He goes, on his own to investigate and discovers the horror behind everything that happened... The Brood.

The story is told in a very classical sense of the word horror, almost like Poe with a slow beginning, a sense of doubt and confusion in the middle, and a shocker and a kicker of an ending. And, as all good horror, there is some great visceral metaphor mixed in to the story. With this film David Cronenberg put himself on the road to the ranks of the horror film-making elite. 8/10

Rated R: violence, gore, and some profanity

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15 out of 21 people found the following review useful:

Creepy, cold and clinical classic from David Cronenberg

10/10
Author: Miyagis_Sweaty_wifebeater (sirjosephu@aol.com) from Sacramento, CA
24 September 2004

The Brood (1979) was a film made by the master of psychobabble clinical horror David Cronenberg. He's the master of this genre, one that he created during the 70's. A genre that's in a class all by itself. The Brood is another one of his cinematic works that delivers the goods. He creates a thinking man's scare film. Like most of his other works, Cronenberg uses psychosis and the medical community to base a terror that only man can create.

Art Hindle stars as a man who's wife (Samantha Egger) is having a multitude of emotional problems. Whilst under the care of a mad genius psychiatrist (Brilliantly portrayed by Oliver Reed who shows a lot of restraint) using a radical form of therapy for his patients. Like all mad geniuses, not everything goes according to plan (or does it). The doctor creates something in his star patient that he ultimately regrets. It has to be seen to be believed!

One weird film. I enjoyed this one very much. What I like about Cronenberg is that he rarely creates truly good or bad characters (well the films that he has completely control over). Everyone has a motive no matter if it's right or wrong. That's what I like about him, he makes you think!

The film was restored a couple of years ago on D.V.D. It's the original uncut version and it is even creepier than the U.S. theatrical release. Check it out!

good stuff...

Highly recommended, but not for everyone.

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9 out of 10 people found the following review useful:

another of Cronenberg's true psycho-shock vehicles, and one of the most depressing horror films ever made

9/10
Author: MisterWhiplash from United States
22 September 2007

The Brood juxtaposes divorce, anxiety with parent-child relationships, with a story that is basically crazy vengeance that turns to ugly territory sooner than later. Like Scanners, it's only gruesome in short spurts (some pun intended), and while it's noticeable Cronenberg doesn't have too much of a budget to work with, he pushes the seamless, straightforward style to a high pitch; you know something bad will happen just as long as it has something to do with little Cindy (Candice Carveth).

The body and spirit and duality, per usual for Cronenberg, figure in, yet there's something that makes the Brood much more affecting as soon as it ends: we're dealing with the deconstruction of family (one also could see this in more sexually frustrated and emotionally demented context in Dead Ringers), and as it turns out by the end things won't ever really be "happy" despite things being all wrapped up in a grisly and bloody manner. Cronenberg may had been going through some of his own personal demons during this period (i.e. divorcing his wife), and this could be almost like it's own 'brood', a shot of cinematic horror right from the subconscious in the guise of a conscious look at how probing the mind can only work so much, and that certain problems can never be solved.

Basics first: Oliver Reed plays a psychiatrist who is more like a hypnotist, as he performs an unusual procedure in a trance state with his patients to rid them of their past trauma with family members or other by getting it to break out in rashes or hives or even (if it's malicious enough as with one man) cancer. With Nola (Samantha Eggar, definitely in the highlight of her career), she breaks out much differently, and with full knowledge of what she can do from Raglan. Little creepy children in parkas who lack navels start killing off members of those Nola was close to, including her parents, a woman her ex-husband Frank (Art Hindle) is interested in. Frank is at a loss what to do, but he does know her daughter is in grave danger even before this happens, as she has scratches and bruises on her back. How can the murder spree cease?

At first one might wonder if this also has to do with the little girl's detached performance, with moments of despair wrapped in a corner. This is actually more of a concrete vision of what the divorce had done, even though it looks even creepier and more disturbing that it can't be explained why she doesn't cry or freak out when she finds her grandmother beaten by hammers. There's a disconnect that Cronenberg seems to be exploring, and even when there seems to be a flimsy way of showing what the hell it is that Ragel really does, or how he hasn't been kicked out of business yet, his scenes are perfectly ambiguous: we can't totally be sure how he does it, but he does it, and it's almost his own worst creation with the case of Nola. But what's scarier, far more scarier than any typical serial killer or masked being or un-dead, is that there can never really be change to Nola, to the monster that she carries out of her womb (one of Cronenberg's most notorious images), and it's a frightening implication on how uncompromising love and hate go together.

If the lingering sensation that this might be far too much of a psycho-analysis type of horror movie, don't fret; the little mutant kids or whomever are some of the most terrifying beings you'll ever see. Ever. They make Chuckie look like a Cabbage Patch doll, with their make-up distorted and gray, their expressions always that of something mechanical, and in a presence that calls to mind what they might have tried to do in cheap 50s sci-fi movies, only here done more expertly in not showing much at first, and then showing just enough to get the idea later on. It adds a whole savage element to the picture, where it wouldn't be if it was other beings like adults that were manifested (probably even just as unsettling as the ending is with the scene where they kill Frank's would-be girlfriend at her job, which is teaching kindergarten).

Overall the film isn't quite as structured or paced from the start like one of Cronenberg's best (it's not until the first big killing scene, and then Nola's father's drunkenness, that the film really kicks into second gear), but there's enough to qualify it as a must-see from a director who challenges himself just as much as the genre, that there can be some exploration of the soul and the actual sickness of the mind *behind* the usual bloody slayings and conventional characters that populate these movies. Think of it as Jung at the drive-in.

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