|The Brood (1979)|
|Starring:||Oliver Reed, Samantha Eggar, and Art Hindle|
The performances have to be up next when discussing any technical aspects of the movie. While I believe that every performer in the movie does a splendid job, I have to loudly proclaim that Oliver Reed should have starred in every single movie ever made. Of course, this wouldn’t have been possible with his drinking and partying, but while watching The Brood, audiences are reminded just how amazing he was as an actor. A man who could convey almost any necessary emotion with his face, this giant of a man was everything that cinema needed him to be. In The Brood, he is the personification of strength and mental prowess. During the first few scenes of the film, the audience has a hard time trying to gauge just what his intentions are. Is he a man of logic, a man of science, or is he simply a con artist? Reed doesn’t play the role in a way that is easy to decipher at first, but he personifies strength. Our leading man is ill prepared to go head-to-head with a man of this intellect, and his unorthodox methods make him seem that much more out of control.
Standing out as both a positive and a negative, I must admit that there is some very awkward pacing within The Brood. It is neither fast, nor slow, but it instead seems to follow its own very distinct tempo. It is as if Cronenberg is chaste with his narrative devices and concepts. His film is meticulous in what it chooses to reveal to the audience. Even after one hour of viewing time, there are still infinitely more questions at play within the main plot than answers. The strange ideas are revealed with complete patience, and even after the one hour mark, viewers may not realize just what sort of movie this is going to be. Cronenberg teases legitimate horror devices, but he also shows adoration for the feverish paranoia and hidden conspiracies that would later be seen in Videodrome. The Brood isn’t nearly as surreal as something like Videodrome, but it does seem to have similar influences. Cronenberg rolls out the strange ideas, bit by bit, but doesn’t deftly throw logic to the side as he would with his next feature. While the conclusion to the movie is a confusing mix of dream-logic and pseudoscience, it remains absorbing and mind blowing.