Sommerleigh Pollonais, Horror Head Writer
Plot: A mother’s reality erodes around her as she struggles to fathom the entangled web of her daughter’s separation anxiety brought on by parasitic creatures within a stuffed bear.
Review: Not to be confused with The Nest that came out in 2020 or the one from 2019 or the television series of the same name, THIS Nest is a horror movie made on a small budget, but one that manages to deliver on the kind of ick factor and body horror that would make David Cronenberg smile.
Starring mostly unknowns and a legit genre staple and Scream Queen in her own right, Dee Wallace (Cujo, The Howling, Critters), this is the kind of horror that plays on those things that make you squirm in your seat. I struggle with trypophobia, which simply means irregular patterns or clusters (like a beehive or a rash) triggers me and I have to look away. If this is an issue for you as well, there are scenes here that will definitely set you off. But (thankfully?) due to the smaller budget, those scenes only pop up a few times during this ode to body horror.
The cast is a small one and consists of mainly three people who play our family unit—Mom, Dad and a little girl who is gifted a teddy bear by a weird old man. It turns out the bear has some sort of sentient insect(s) living inside it and, using the poor child as its host, this parasite starts taking over friends and family members one by one.
The Nest starts off a bit shaky with actors Sarah Navratil and Kevin Patrick Murphy (parents Beth and Jack respectively) take some time to settle into their roles, which makes it difficult to see them as a loving couple. Ironically this awkward chemistry works to their benefit as the story progresses and paranoia over whether or not you can trust each other sets in. Dee Wallace is a horror movie goddess who makes everything she’s in that much better. She’s not on screen a whole bunch but steals every scene she’s in, with my favourites being her interactions with Beth. Besides the main family and Wallace’s Marissa, the other actors don’t get that much screen time but they do what they’re supposed to well enough, so I guess that’s fine.
Overall, this isn’t going to please everyone and as I mentioned before, it’s a small budget film with limited locations and a handful of actors. But the practical effects by team Kayla Voytek and Jennifer Yates are very well done and combine with the truly stellar sound design by Aaron Putnam to crawl under your skin in the worst way. I also enjoyed the fact this movie manages to be its own original thing while still showing inspiration from classics like Invasion of the Body Snatchers, The Hidden and maybe even a bit of Rosemary’s Baby. The themes of motherhood and how difficult it can be as a parent to balance your love for your children and your need to retain your individuality without feeling guilty was well-executed. And the conclusion was also a ballsy one reminiscent of the more morose horror movies of the 60s and 70s.
The Nest will probably be overlooked for more flashy, big-budget fare and that’s a shame because it’s creative writers, directors and artists like these that deserve to be in the spotlight for their work. And in doing so, hopefully get the big bucks they need to show what they can do to a much larger audience. Finally, if you’re a horror fan, especially of body horror, this is a Nest you won’t mind visiting.
Sommer’s Score: 5.5 out of 10
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Sommerleigh of the House Pollonais. First of Her Name. Sushi Lover, Queen of Horror Movies, Comic Books and Binge Watching Netflix. Mother of two beautiful black cats named Vader and Kylo. I think eating Popcorn at the movies should be mandatory, PS4 makes the best games ever, and I’ll be talking about movies until the zombie apocalypse comes.
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