Thursday, October 18, 2012

October Fright Nights # 2: The Brood

David Cronenberg's The Brood is the worst kind of trash: the kind that thinks it's smarter than you. Apperently based on the director's own experience with a messy divorce, it revolves around a women engaged in an experimental form of psychotherapy in which Oliver Reed delves deep into the minds of his troubled patients and helps them act out their buried demons, and the woman's ex-husband who can't understand why people from her past are being murdered one by one by mutant children. Think Jung with gore.

In typical Cronenberg fashion the film spends it's gruelingly boring first hour playing more like a Intro to Psych 101 course as all of Croneberg's intellectual favourites (Freud, Nietzsche, etc.) make their way into the the thinly disguised psychoanalytic allegory.

Only problem is that this material will not be on the final exam, and Croneberg, as he is want to do, throws all his academic mubo jumbo out and let's the shit that he's been hinting at the entire time royally hit the fan in the lo-fi horror trash heap of a third act where the random mutant children are finally explained in a typical psycho sexual fashion that has long been figured out before the honourable Dr. Reed gets to explain it all to us. The only thing missing is James Woods with a stomach vagina.

Cronenberg's main problem throughout his entire career has been that he's a man who thinks high and films low. His narratives often revolve around their intellectual pretensions as if the director fancies the musings of his mind above the construction of a coherent story to explore them within. The cold, detached visual aesthetic just solidifies Cronberg's belief that it's more important for an audience to think material his way instead of feel it out. Working through his oeuvre, one gets to wishing that he'd put down the text books and make the true trash horror masterpiece his name deserves.

Let's remember, when we trace it back to essentials this is a film about murderous mutant children. End of story. Nothing more. All else, despite Cronenberg's I'm-smarter-than-you condescension, when you get to the heart of the matter, is irrelevant. Too bad this film never got the memo. The Brood, in one form or another, is probably a good horror movie. Under David Cronenberg it isn't much of a horror or a movie at all.

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