Did you have a teddy bear or other stuffed animal that you took everywhere as a kid? I know I did! I had Nick, a Christmas Dog, that I slept with every night and kept all the way until college (he was SO flattened by that time). Why do we keep them? They comfort us by giving us a little friend that is always there along with a sense of security. But what if…they kept us instead? What if they end up…and controlling you? Are you ready to get your childhood ruined for you? It is time to discuss…The Nest
Was that a compelling enough hook for you? The Nest is a new horror out which possesses a strange premise of a young boy getting a new teddy bear that has some type of viral entity that inhabits it. Think (just another) remake of something like the Invasion of the Body Snatchers with its horde mentality. Oddly enough we may get something similar in The Suicide Squad with the giant alien starfish, Starro (which yes is a thing). This concept is certainly compelling enough as it can breed so much paranoia and suspense. Who is under control? How can we free them? What does this swarm want (if you get that old school Spider-man TV reference, good for you!)?
But does The Nest deliver upon this promising premise? That answer is a bit of a mixed bag. There are certainly moments in the film that are creepy and unnerving. The reveal early on of a man’s family who sells off the bear is quite disturbing as they are infected with this creature. Even the poster for this film is one of the more disturbing ones I have seen in a long time. The infected people in the film make a lot of creepy noises in the form of clicking…which does get silly after a while. The effects are solid for a low budget film like this (not the best…but solid) and the designs are unnerving (the teddy bear’s stomach opens in a…vaginal way).
But does the rest of this film stack up with its writing and acting? To put it simply…no. The dialogue in the film is constantly stiff and awkward with an excess of exposition as a crutch. The central marriage is supposed to be bad but instead of showing us their relationship and issues, they just try to explain it awkwardly to each other (for the audience’s benefit). The husband is despicable, yet it is the wife who the film tries to paint poorly. Most of the human relationships in the film do fall flat. The performances are also quite iffy. The actor playing the husband is…not great along with the counselor from the school. The main actress, Sarah Navratil, is spotty in her performance but overall, she does a fine job. I must take time to give a shout out to genre film veteran, Dee Wallace, who brings needed presence to the proceedings.
So…is The Nest worth your time? For a film with such a low budget, it does deliver some quality scares along the way. There are obvious shortcomings that are hard to ignore in the film, but this is a solid thriller that might just scratch that itch for you. If you are a fan of such films, check this one out. What do you have to lose?