The Brood - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

The Brood Reviews

Page 1 of 33
Super Reviewer
½ October 17, 2014
From the master of body horror David Cronenberg came this gruesome and thoroughly amusing film that is better to be seen without knowing anything about (even if it isn't exactly surprising or any hard to guess), and it has an unforgettable ending that was bound to become instant classic.
Super Reviewer
½ August 27, 2010
This is one of the earliest horror films from mastermind David Cronenberg, and probably the most grounded of any of his films. Though it is still grotesque to watch, and definitely has the same ethereal wickedness of films such as "The Fly" and "Videodrome", this film at least tries to show reality in a much more conducive environment. The film follows the lives of separated parents, one of which is the father, Frank (Hindle), who is raising the couple's little girl (Hinds). The mother, Nola (Eggar), is much more interested in finding her center after living in a therapy center run by the somewhat devious Dr. Hal Raglan (Reed). Most of the film we watch her go into different trances and she finds herself crying like a strange child thanks to the beating and emotional abuse caused by her mother (Hogan). The psychological implications of the film rove right into horror as the people around Nola start to find themselves the subject of some strange physical wrath. What makes the film very eerie is completely reliant on the clinic where Nola is staying, which looks more like a darkened sauna. Oliver Reed gives a very genuine performance as the doctor who keeps Nola from the perils of the real world while also keeping her from really living her life to the fullest. He ultimately becomes a mere pawn in the strange supernatural game that Nola conducts. It really is a very warped film, in the sense that there doesn't seem to be a villain and Nola's psyche is obviously flawed, what with her acting like a delusional child. The entities that start mass murdering for her are very creepy, not just because of their deformed faces but because they look a bit like real children. Their origins and the true nature of their instability takes a while to get to, but that just gives more screen time to the killings, and when you have a film that is so weird and supernatural, that works to its advantage. This is definitely a Cronenberg film from start to finish, though some key aspects will surprise.
Super Reviewer
January 10, 2009
Formulaic and predictable.
Super Reviewer
½ May 17, 2008
significant similarities with zulawski's 'possession' of 2 years later, particularly the misogyny, even more pronounced here. seems both of these films were born of nasty divorce. ollie reed is always a treat, samantha eggar has an unexplained british accent, and the guy who plays her husband is at least inoffensive, more than i can say for sam neill in zulawski's film. i think i enjoyed this one more cuz the creepy kids were so much fun to watch. this was part of a wave of backlash against women's lib in horror films of the 70s-80s, that included 'alien' and 'rosemary's baby', but the tone here is very angry, with eggar's character having no redeeming qualities whatsoever, so just too much black/white. still one of cronenberg's best early works so worth checking out
Super Reviewer
½ June 23, 2011
One of David Cronenberg's earlier films dealing with the body horror genre. Cronenberg's concept for the film is intriguing and bizarre. The Brood features some of Cronenberg's earliest attempts at the body horror genre are clearly seen here. The film manages to be quite creepy, and its also interesting to see Cronenbverg's genius come to fruition. Cronenberg has assembled a terrific cast of actors here. Actor Oliver Reed, Art Hindle and Samantha Eggar deliver strong performances. The Brood is not one of Cronenberg's best films, but it certainly isn't the worst. This is a terrific horror film that like I said, was Croneberg's earliest attempt at the body horror genre, and it succeeds. We see hints of where David Cronenberg would take his career in the 80's. The Brood is a creepy film with a terrific cast of actors. David Cronenberg has made some groundbreaking films in his career, his imagination has changed the face of horror forever. Looking at The Brood you see the work of a confident director that would, in his later films, change the genre, and ultimately create the now famous body horror genre. Cronenberg has pioneered the genre, and The Brood is probably one of the first films to deal with this type of horror. The Brood is an awesome work of early body horror.
Super Reviewer
½ September 6, 2010
Another brilliantly creepy, disturbing, and disgusting movie from Cronenberg. It's really scary and surprising in the end, I really liked it, and if you're a fan of his you should see it too.
Super Reviewer
March 10, 2008
Wow. What an effed up movie. Gotta love the scary red head mom licking bloodly mutant baby scene. I imagine the little girl from this movie was permanently screwed up just for being a part of it.
Super Reviewer
½ December 4, 2009
Completely bizarre, yet approached in such a calm fashion. This is a horror movie that doesn't feel like a horror movie at all, it's a completely different experience. The style is definitely David Cronenberg, but it's horrific on a completely different level. It isn't just some ridiculous plot about killer kids, it's more about a psychotic divorce between a loving father and a complete nut-job wife.
Super Reviewer
½ October 28, 2009
Unnerving exploration of the psyche follows a controversial therapist who is treating the ex-wife of a husband who seeks to take custody of their daughter. Eerie, deliberately paced rumination on rage and its manifestations culminates in a memorable climax that is truly horrific. The graphic degeneration of the human body is a common theme in director David Cronenberg's work and this film is no exception. His script is clearly influenced by the messy real life divorce from his first wife and the subsequent custody battle for their daughter.
Super Reviewer
November 15, 2006
Juliana Kelly: Thirty seconds after you're born you have a past and sixty seconds after that you begin to lie to yourself about it.

An early Cronenberg horror flick. Basically that means that not only will the gore be well handled, but presented in a fucked up way. Low and behold, following mostly a lot of boring plot and characters, the last 15 minutes of this film are insane with disgusting actions involving a terrible birthing process of some crazy children.
Super Reviewer
October 15, 2009
An interesting premise.

While it's a little slow on the uptake...if you hold out, it redeems itself in the end.
Super Reviewer
½ August 25, 2009
A very personal film for Cronenberg who was going through a divorce during the time of its making, The Brood has all the Cronenbergian motifs, plus great characterisation and a great performance from all involved.

Dr. Raglan (Oliver Reed) who is experimenting with metaphysical rage runs the Summerfree Institute. There he encourages his patience to indulge in allowing their inner anger to materialise in warts and blisters on their body. One of his patience is the demented Nola (Samantha Eggar) who has taken Raglan's therapy to the next stage. Her rage is apparently so potent that it results in The Brood, a savage group of dwarfs that emerge from the cysts on Nola's body. Unfortunately, Nola has another child, Candy and when her ex-husband, Frank (Art Hindle) finds that his wife is too unstable to look after their child he suppresses parental access. Nola goes even more insane and the brood ventures out to kill all those she believes have or may cause her harm. Although the carnage isn't excessively violent, the scene where Nola produces one of the dwarfs from a bloody sack and licks it clean leaves a nasty aftertaste.

Cronenberg has long been associated with fear of biological change, but is surprising that not many have picked up on his fascination, or dread of organisations. There's the Starliner Towers (Shivers), Keloid Clinic (Rabid), Summerfree Institute (The Brood), ConSec (Scanners), Spectacular Optical (Videodrome), Bartok Industries (The Fly), The Mantle Clinic (Dead Ringers), PildrImage Manufacturers (eXsistenZ).
Super Reviewer
May 27, 2009
frankly i dont know what to make of this film
Super Reviewer
March 3, 2008
I would still class "The Brood" as the best of early Cronenberg, but I watched it again recently and was slightly disappointed by it. It wasn't as well paced or plotted as I'd remembered. As well as being a continuation of Cronenberg's particular brand of body horror, the movie is actually a deeply personal and very perceptive comment on the psychological damage caused to children by their parents' messy break-ups, informed by the director's own recent divorce. Unfortunately, by demonising the mother (Samantha Eggar) and making the father (Art Hindle) a flawless white knight, the movie sometimes feels uncomfortably like a cheap shot at Cronenberg's ex- missus. Up until "Videodrome", Cronenberg hadn't the cachet or the budgets to attract top quality stars to play his leads, though he usually found established stalwarts for the supporting roles: Barabara Steele ("Shivers"), John Saxon ("Fast Company"), Patrick McGoohan ("Scanners") and, best of all, Oliver Reed and Samantha Eggar in "The Brood", both of whom are excellent. Compared to Stephen Lack in "Scanners", Art Hindle is charisma personified, but he's still not particularly memorable. For all its faults, this is a uniquely disturbing horror movie, well worth seeing.
Super Reviewer
½ July 12, 2007
Cronenberg delivers his dwarfs of rage with his usually intelligent, fascinating and disgusting pseudo-metafisic plot and atmosphere. this is with no doubt the best of his early works.
Super Reviewer
September 15, 2007
Nobody is better than David Cronenberg at creating horror through bodily deformation, and this is one of the best ones. It's creepy to see that the villain is an actual manifestation of a repressed woman's bile (heh) and rage. I love the idea of someone's anger becoming so strong that it actually becomes independant of its originator and goes on a rampage of its own.
Super Reviewer
½ July 7, 2007
Any of the scenes with the monster children were superb. There's a great scene in Grandma's apartment and the end escape from the compound.

...Lots of boring stuff in between...

I did enjoy Oliver Reed's psycho sessions with his patients; his technique was hilarious.

I was repulsed by wife's deformed womb; it was icky and realistic. I guess Cronenberg like those sorts of slimey things in his movies.

It was a great disturbing little movie. If they had upped the number of muto-kid attacks and improved the musical score, it could've been a huge classic.
Ryan M
Super Reviewer
½ April 5, 2011

"The Brood" is a completely exploitative film which tries ever-so-hardly to disguise itself, conveniently, as a REAL horror film. The film is directed by David Cronenberg, who directed "Videodrome" and "The Fly". You'll wish it were better; you'll wish it were worse. But all-in-all, there's a chance that you'll finish "The Brood" feeling as if Cronenberg simply winged it.

Yes, there are some typically interesting Cronenberg-esque suspense moments, but the uneven pacing and lack of any real ACTION throughout the film doesn't so much as make up for that. The film wants to be disgusting without being the equivalent of a sleazy Grindhouse flick, and therefore it does its job. I will admit that there are things to like here, but the bad overdoes the good in so many ways. It's disappointing, really; and that's coming from someone who respects Cronenberg as well as just about anything the legendary master of suspense has done. I mean, I love "Videodrome" and "The Fly" as much as the next guy. However, unlike the next guy, I do not like "The Brood".

Murderous Children are getting to be some pretty darn tiresome horror villains, but throw in some bodily mutations, and apparently your movie is loads of fun. The story concerns a man named Frank, whose former wife is in the loony bin, while his daughter is experiencing all sorts of problems. He's having a troublingly strange psychiatrist help his wife recover, and in the process, our main man tries to gain access to these procedures so that he can help his wife himself. However, the murderous, mutated children (whom I mentioned earlier) get in the way of his investigations, and soon he's trying to find out who their mother is. She can't be too nice, or too caring, I'd presume.

What Cronenberg wants to do here is this: he wants to build a film that spans about an hour and twenty minutes; in which not much happens. And then, he has another film which is about ten minutes long; in which a lot more happens. The last ten minutes of "The Brood" are exciting, well-directed, and as gruesome as they want to be. The finale scene isn't disturbing, per se, but it sure was effective. I can admire what Cronenberg has done here, stylistically, but "The Brood" just isn't that special. It doesn't have absorbing characters, all of whom are played by less-than-interesting or compelling actors, nor does it have good story-telling devices. It will work well for some, and it will not for others. I was ready to like this movie, I really was. But I never could have expected a man such as Cronenberg to produce- no, DIRECT- such a tedious bore. This is a decent film all-in-all, but it has much more craft and potential than it cares to use.

The film is good stylistically. There's some good camera-work involved, but what really sets the "mood" for "The Brood" is Howard Shore's fairly-solid musical score; which is often creepy and therefore, often effective. Yes, Shore has done more memorable scores, which are often attached to more memorable movies, but that's far from a "complaint". The make-up effects in this film feel like the kind that Cronenberg is used to using; revolting, whimsical, and nigh surreal. I liked how this film presented itself visually, and I have no problem with this film's violence. It's not disturbing to me, and it won't be disturbing to most people (not now, at least). However, I think it was meant to be misunderstood. Or perhaps it is not misunderstood at all. People have the right to dislike, or even detest this film. I don't hate, mind, or "detest" this horror-thriller, but it doesn't have its heart in the right place. It's a win-win situation; you go for gore and thrills, you'll get some. But "some" is not the same as "a lot", and "The Brood" needs more of the goods if it's going to keep me entertained. It needs characters; it needs story-telling; and most of all, it needs a POINT. But it's good to see that Cronenberg got his act together some years later when he made "Videdrome", "The Fly", and "The Dead Zone". He is a good filmmaker; but here, he has not made a good film. This film is not deserving of his talent in horror, thrills, and suspense. But it is worthy of his fascinating for all things visually grotesque. That I'll grant it.
Super Reviewer
½ January 2, 2014
One of Cronenberg's best, shocking and does not lack of deep analysis on hysteria and anger as well as the maternal bond. Psychotherapy gone wrong, psychoplasmid breed of children created by a woman began killing the people whom she feels threatened towards. The killing scenes were terrifying, the special make up was convincing, the theme was dark, the scariest moment was when Nola degenerated to licking her new born like an animal. The Brood is an underrated little gem.
Super Reviewer
½ May 4, 2009
This film creeps and chills the way Shyamalan's early work used to. It also avoids "Childs Play Syndrome". A very decent little horror film. To say more is to ruin it.
Page 1 of 33