Brood [1979]

Genre: Horror, Sci-Fi
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

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