The Brood ★★★★½

A movie about the secondary systems—the lymphatic, the subconscious, the uncanny—that match and exist alongside the ‘regular’ system of domesticity. The Brood is so frightening because it shows how easily the former distresses the latter. The psychic affects the physical. Its violence is an invasion. As Carpenter understood with Halloween, murder is more frightening when it takes place in ‘safe’ spaces, in bright kitchens and bedrooms (not incidentally, the spaces of abuse). Frank’s journey is not from sanity to insanity and back again, but is the discovery that the sane only disguises the insane. Cronenberg ties this all up in the climax, when The Brood crosscuts between two spaces, physically adjacent and psychically distant. They’re built into the same building, the same body. Their proximity generates body horror: it blends the emotional with the physical and lets dreams control reality.

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