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Dr. Ben Cahill, a fine city doctor, gets so stressed by marital problems and alcohol that he freezes up under pressure in the emergency room. To get his act back together, he decides to unwind a few months in the house he and his ex bought on Orr island, an insignificant (former) fishermen place off the coast of Maine. He almost immediately becomes the butt of spite from a gang of local nobodies. After the doctor started examining, at the request of the reasonable sheriff Hobbs who leans to his side, some animal and human corpses with strange internal as well as external injuries, one of the brutes, not so handy handyman Jack Wald, has a fatal nocturnal accident crashing into Dr. Cahill's car. The doc observes one of the red cockroaches which recently infest the island has pincers, most unusual, reads up and contacts the university entomology department, where this African species isn't too well-known either. Jack's even dumber brother Eamon Wald uses violence which ends up causing ... Written by
Not a very original horror film, of course, but fairly entertaining and with a good tempo, this 'They Nest' easily belongs to the better efforts in the recent revival of the horror sub-genre of creature features. It is stuffed with clichés and stereotypes but try not to let this ruin the fun too much. All the ingredients that guarantee 90 minutes of unpretentious B-movie amusement are there: The over-stressed surgeon Dr. Cahill goes to a remote Maine island to find some peace and to decorate the old house he bought there. The hillbillies-inhabitants immediately hate him (except for the local beauty, naturally...) and, on top of all, a lethal cockroach-plague infests the island. These nasty little bugs turn out carnivores and use humans as hosts for their offspring! The cause and origin of the killer-roaches isn't really explained (no endless biological speeches or mutant-conspiracies this time) and the film obviously lacks a solid screenplay. On the other hand it features a fair amount of suspense and eeriness without going over the top with gore effects. I'm sure that people with a phobia for small, crawling insects will have trouble watching several atmospherically shot scenes....And that the best compliment you can get when delivering a horror film! The writers were even clever enough to insert some humor to put the whole killer-bug situation a bit into perspective. The abrupt ending is so silly it almost becomes brilliant! Ellory Elkayem once again turns out an above-average genre director. His atmospheric short film "Larger than Life" was very promising and with this film he proves being capable of directing bigger projects. Immediately after this, he moved on to the big-budget work with "Eight Legged Freaks". Melrose Place pretty-boy Thomas Calabro is rather decent in the lead role but the show is obviously stolen by Dean Stockwell and - especially - John Savage, who stars as local nutball n#1.
"They Nest" is a horror film worth watching and I'd even say it deserves a rating slightly higher than the one given on this site. If you really think it stinks, you should compare it with similar films made over the last few years. Compared to some of the junk found in video stores, this is quite a decent flick. If you're intrigued by the ugly creepiness of cockroaches, I also recommend checking out the 80's delight "The Nest".
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