Review of The Brood

The Brood (1979)
Shocking, chilling, and semi-autobiographical..."The Brood" is signature Cronenberg biohorror
2 November 2003
Warning: Spoilers
If you haven't seen "The Brood," you should stop reading this and watch the movie; don't let me or anyone else spoil it for you.

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The great strength of "The Brood" is its pacing. For much of the first part of the movie before the first murder, it seems like a wrenching divorce drama with some psychology thrown in. You don't get the trademark biohorror grue of Cronenberg until much later on, and I for one think this restrained approach pays off.

It's certainly not the best Cronenberg has done (hell, I liked eXistenZ a little better), but it's very personal and very well executed. The characters are all a little two-dimensional, but Cronenberg movies are always about an idea more than about characters. Here we have the themes of divorce, child abuse, and alcoholism explored via a horror movie.

The standard "jump" scares of the horror genre are here, and they're at least as good as any "mainstream" flick coming out of theaters today. The elements of suspense are more abundant, as evident in the buildup to both the school teacher's murder and the death of Raglan.

All in all, "The Brood" is a strong early example of the path Cronenberg would perfect in movies like "The Fly."

7/10, 8/10 if you like Cronenberg
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