The Brood (1979)

The Brood, a horror film whose one grandest surviving distinction is the presence of an intensely powerful late Oliver Reed perfomance (only typical to the one man that ever favorably compared with the late Sir Richard Burton in acting delivery.) Writer/director David Cronenberg here has created a film, excepting for a few overly formulated aspects filmmakers of this day resorted, that suggests an highly chilling aspect to the experimental psycho-drama approaches modern psychiatry indulges in the name of “therapy”. The good doctor Hal Raglan (Oliver Reed) calls his approach, psycho-plasmic and he’s about to employ it on a fusion bomb, Nola Carveth (the lovely Samantha Eggar.) Nola’s husband, played by the skillful Art Hindle, works against what he perceives irresponsible medical practice to extract his child, Candice (pretty Cindy Hinds) from participating in her mother’s therapies when the little girl begins to suffer disquieting dreams. As he ventures forth, among Nola’s parents and with various support structure, any aiding him in the least begin to be beaten to death. In turn the psycho dramas developed between Dr. Raglan and his bizarre patient begin progressing a more and more sinister trend.The viewer is expecting some super-extending form of the poltergeist phenomena or telekinesis wrought of mind manifesting matter. The little demon-like “children” running around in warm-up suits like that of Candice sort of dispel that…or do they?

The unsettling end is another of those super-extending worse case scenarios, dealing with mutant manifestation that far exceeds any devil from hell. We are left wondering, “did therapy somehow reach into the abyss and pull this out, or did it simply showcase what was already there?” But we are not told. This reviewer can’t speculate a value on that, but the final little plug for a sequel (again typical for the day) rather cheapens a positive take on this absence.

Too intense for children. Very unsettling for the impressionable but well worth the effort to see if you like the horror genre. If you don’t, still there’s the late Oliver Reed .

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