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The Brood

65 customer reviews

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(Aug 26, 2003)
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

From famed writer-director David Cronenberg (The Dead Zone, The Fly, Scanners)comes a chillingly twisted masterpiece of psychological horror. Oliver Reed (Gladiator) and Samantha Eggar (The Astronaut's Wife) star in this shocking, intense thriller about how misdirected rage can literally take on a life of its own. Behind the walls of his secluded Somafree Institute, Dr. Hal Raglan (Reed) experiments with "Psychoplasmics," a controversial therapy designed to help release pent-up emotions in his patients. He keeps his star patient Nola (Eggar) in isolation, but as she vents her fury during their sessions, brutal murders befall the people she's angry with outside the institute. What is the connection between Raglan's methods and these monstrous killings? The answer will unleash a whole new breed of terror!

Arguably the best and most personal of director David Cronenberg's early films, The Brood is an extremely unsettling horror film about familial disintegration and emotional trauma taken to a monstrous extreme. Art Hindle (Black Christmas) stars as a man embroiled in a bitter custody struggle with his estranged wife (Samantha Eggar), who is undergoing therapy at psychiatrist Oliver Reed's controversial institute. Reed's treatment causes his patients to give form to their inner conflicts, and Eggar--whose psyche is at the boiling point from childhood abuse as well as the custody trial--creates a horde of homicidal humanoid children who enact bloody revenge on anyone who has threatened their "mother." Cronenberg's first feature with name actors and composer Howard Shore has its share of gruesome moments, but the film's subtext--how emotional violence impacts a family--is its most chilling aspect. --Paul Gaita

Special Features


Product Details

  • Actors: Oliver Reed, Samantha Eggar, Art Hindle, Henry Beckman, Nuala Fitzgerald
  • Directors: David Cronenberg
  • Writers: David Cronenberg
  • Producers: Claude Héroux, Pierre David, Victor Solnicki
  • Format: Anamorphic, Closed-captioned, Color, Subtitled, Widescreen, NTSC
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono)
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish, French
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: R (Restricted)
  • Studio: MGM (Video & DVD)
  • DVD Release Date: August 26, 2003
  • Run Time: 92 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (65 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00009PY2T
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #39,011 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "The Brood" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

34 of 40 people found the following review helpful By Jeffrey Leach HALL OF FAME on September 13, 2004
Format: DVD
Every once in awhile when I am feeling reflective I like to watch a David Cronenberg film. I have seen quite a few of them at this point, from some of his earliest stuff like "Shivers" to his seminal reworking of "The Fly" starring Jeff Goldblum and Geena Davis. One thing you will always get out of a Cronenberg film is a serious look at how technology and human beings interact. Like science fiction author J.G. Ballard, Cronenberg's films embrace a synthesis of man and machine that is exceedingly grim, usually served with a generous helping of gore. The overarching theme in his cinematic examinations seems to be that humans simply do not know enough about the technology they develop, or if they do, their arrogance in the ultimate abilities of mankind always leads them charging into experiments despite the risks. That we are just not far seeing enough to predict the outcome of using new drugs, messing around with human genetics, or plugging game units into our spinal cords may be a good message to take from a Cronenberg film. "The Brood" is an early (1979) effort from the Canadian director, an effort that is better than "Rabid" and "Shivers" yet still deals with themes his later films would revisit again and again.

"The Brood" explores the dangers of human emotions, in particular the emotion of rage. The movie opens with an extended scene involving Dr. Hal Raglan (Oliver Reed) conducting an intense psychotherapy session with a distraught young man. We learn that this patient harbors a burning dislike for his father, so Raglan role-plays the part of the young man's father in an effort to help dissipate the anger. It's a very 1970's sort of psychological treatment, as is the fact that an audience watches the lengthy session.
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22 of 26 people found the following review helpful By Raggytramp on August 28, 2003
Format: DVD
Finally, an uncut print of THE BROOD. Cronenberg's best film is presented here in a no frills release, however the version of the film is longer (and gorier) than the Japanese, Dutch, French and English DVD versions. It's the same print which was shown on FilmFour in the UK a few years back. The murders and the jaw dropping climax are longer than in any other DVD. Sadly, the print quality is not nearly as good as the beautiful presentation on the (cut) Dutch DVD. Nevertheless, if you want to see the film in it's uncut gory-glory, this is the version to buy!
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20 of 24 people found the following review helpful By LGwriter on January 1, 2003
Format: VHS Tape
One of the great horror films about dysfunctional families, The Brood is David Cronenberg's 1980 masterpiece based in no small part on his own messy divorce around the time of the writing of the film. In it he gives vent to his frustrations and anger about relationships, but because he is one of the most intelligent filmmakers around, the script is literate and this gives the film its momentum. The events cohere, the characters are strong and credible, and the casting is equally excellent.
Frank Carveth's wife Nola (Samatha Eggar) is a patient at the Somafree Institute run by Dr. Hal Raglan (Oliver Reed) whose magnum opus, The Shape of Rage, sums up his philosophy of psychological practice--that our inner rage will inevtiably express itself in outward manifestation. The opening scene of Raglan's dramatized session with one patient, Michael, reveals Michael's boils when he takes off his shirt to show the doctor how he really feels about his father.
When Nola was very young, her mother treated her very badly and now Nola's rage is profound. She and Frank have a daughter, Candy, about whom there is intense disagreement--Frank does not want Candy to see her mother at the Institute every weekend because of potential harm, and Nola needs her to be there. When a kindly, young, pretty schoolteacher helps Frank with Candy, Nola finds out and assumes Frank and the teacher are having an affair.
Mysterious murders occur, all apparently committed by one or more midgets or deformed children, all having a vague resemblance to Candy. To tell any more would be to give too much away. In the lead roles, Eggar and Reed are excellent, as is Art Hindle as Frank. Also great are the actors who play Nola's parents.
This is a much overlooked film which should definitely not be missed. Highly recommended.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Mark C. Jones on August 10, 2014
Format: DVD
What makes this movie so scary to me is that those zombie babies are ultimately just an exaggeration of how we're raising our kids. Our kids are becoming desensitized little monsters because they're growing up in dysfunctional families and society's. I'm not sure who (if anyone) the Oliver Reed character is based on, but Cronenberg's criticism of him as a selfish, bullying therapist--all too common in the 1970's--is accurate.

Both Leonard Maltin and Roger Ebert lambasted this film. Ebert accused Cronenberg of trying to dress up shallow material with brand-name actors. He might be right. Cronenberg's Shivers and Rabid were not exactly well made, and the biggest name star he'd worked with at that time was Marilyn Chambers. But you can't deny the power of this movie. As many critics have said, it's the subtext of emotional violence--between parents and children, between husbands and wives, between therapists and patients--that gives the shocking graphic violence its lasting effect.
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