For Reel

The Brood (1979)
December 17, 2015, 5:11 pm
Filed under: Reviews | Tags: , ,

Director: David Cronenberg
4 Stars
The BroodAs is often the case with David Cronenberg’s early work, The Brood addresses a certain kind of violation, its dramatics hinging on a type of metaphorical rape. Shivers, Scanners, and Videodrome addressed this penetrative action more bluntly, but The Brood suggests that Dr. Hal Raglan’s (Oliver Reed) method of “psychoplasmics” is unethical and exploitative, forcing his patients to surface their most repressed emotions and thereby distorting and perverting them all the more. That the film concerns the physical manifestations of one woman’s anger makes it play as the preeminent Cronenberg from this period, beautifully doing justice to the director’s sense of the delicate bond between the cerebral and the physical. It is perhaps Cronenberg’s obsession with violations and destroying this barrier between the body and the soul that make his films so unyielding in their disturbances–as with the fetishistic tape in Videodrome, his films’ unique ability to repulse is linked very much to one’s fascination with their own physical selves. The Brood is also a great breakup movie–the climax, which plays like Village of the Damned in the drama of trying to “hide” ones emotions from the villain, is not so much a championing of repression as a damning insistence that to be in a relationship is to be withdrawn and deceitful.

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