Reed Alexander's Review of "The Brood (1979)"
All children are evil...
Like a lot of movies from my childhood, I remember this one being a lot more fun than it actually was. I remember the little children critters being a lot grosser, I remember the movie being a lot more violent, frankly I remember it being a lot more Cronenberg. But of course I was... 8, 9, when I saw this movie for the first time and my childhood imagination must have embellished a bit.
Though, this was one of his first and he hadn't really found that perfect fit for "Body Horror" (which he basically created as a sub genre). So in a sense, what I would grow to love about Cronenberg hadn't really been developed yet, and at the time my prepubescent mind must have thought this was the fucking standard. I'd later go on to see movies like "The Thing" which wouldn't blow my mind, it would fuck it up for weeks.
I do have to give this movie one thing. This movie is fucking creepy long before the first little critter pops out. It's just the tone of the movie. The way half the characters talk makes your skin crawl, not necessarily in a horror way, but often in an annoying way. But hey, he got the atmosphere spot on and at the time, this level of body horror was revolutionary.
Honestly, I assume most of the people reading this are familiar with Cronenberg and this movie so I'm not entirely sure if I need the spoiler warning. But eh, protocol is protocol.
So if you think about it, the concept is actually pretty neat. Anger, mania, paranoia, and fear, manifesting as actual beings in the form of these horrific little children. They effectively grow off this crazy chick like little spoors... or pods or some shit. If she gets upset with someone, the little maniacs go after that person and try to kill them. See? That concept is actually pretty fucking interesting.
So what is it about this movie that makes it suck? Well, it's hard to put a finger on it, but I have to say it's likely my good old friend, "bad pacing." Now very rarely do I bother to comment on pacing because, usually, the movie fucks everything else up so fucking bad, that I don't have time to comment on the pacing. And rarely does anyone fuck pacing up so badly that it takes center stage to my review. But then again, I do have the 30 Minute Rule (if nothing interesting happens in 30 minutes, I stop watching) for a reason, and in the simplest terms, that reason is awful pacing.
Now, it's not a grotesque amount of exposition. In fact, there isn't any. On the contrary, you have to piece together a lot of what's going on as the movie develops. I think the problem is that the movie is constantly bringing in and establishing new characters as the movie goes along. One of the reasons why most horror movies start off with all the characters together, and attempts to establish them all at once is, because introducing each one at a time is a long arduous process. After introducing new asshole number three, the audience starts to go, "Now just who the fuck is this asshole and why the fuck should I care?" And they'd have a right to be a little confused and bored. I mean, this movie introduces one character that I found served no purpose. He doesn't even turn out to be a victim. He's just some random crazy guy with cancer, who's been placed in the movie to deliver a piece of the puzzle we've already been given by another character. He just takes up screen time and by then, we've already wasted 30 minutes establishing three other characters. We could have established all seven essential characters in the first 20 minutes!
This movie also suffers greatly from what I'm now calling "Child's Play is in Effect." Little critters like Chucky, the Ghoulies, and The Puppets, have to be efficient stealth killers. They have to be cleaver enough to isolate their victim, often through paranoia and mistrust, to make the kill. Why? Because they weigh like... three pounds at the most? You could just boot them across the room if you wanted too. Far too many times, the critters in this movie essentially overpower someone twice their size. It really just doesn't make sense.
In short, this movie honestly sucks. We can appreciate it as the classic it is, we can appreciate it for the revolution it carried on its shoulders, but we can't even appreciate it for nostalgia purposes. I enjoyed watching the original Friday the 13th almost 25 years later, but I honestly just wanted The Brood to be over only ten minutes into the movie.
You can give this one a skip if you haven't seen it.