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The Nesting (1981)
Blu-ray Disc Released: 6/28/2011
All Ratings out of
Review by Mike Long, Posted on 6/18/2011
Given the wide expanse that is the world of home video, it seems odd to say that a movie is "obscure" these days. We've simply come to expect that every movie ever made will show up on DVD or Blu-ray Disc at some point (and these days, it's often sooner than later). When a movie is labeled as "obscure", we assume that there's been some issue with licensing or release rights. Or maybe the powers that be are attempting to put together the definitive edition before releasing it. But, there are some movies which are obscure for one very specific reason: there really not worth searching out. The Nesting falls into that category.
The Nesting introduces us to Lauren Cochran (Robin Groves), an author who lives in New York City. Unfortunately, Lauren has developed agoraphobia and she's terrified to leave her apartment. Despite this, she can still go see her therapist, Dr. Webb (Patrick Farrelly). She decides that she should leave the city and move to the country. So, her boyfriend, Mark (Christopher Loomis), who can't stop talking in different accents, drives her to the middle of nowhere and when they have car trouble, Lauren wanders through the woods and finds an old house which she's never seen before, but immediately recognizes. The house is in ill repair, but Lauren insists on moving in -- even though the house's owner, Colonel Lebrun (John Carradine) has a heart attack when he sees her. Not long after this, she begins to hear and see things. She asks the local handyman, Frank (Bill Rowley), about the history of the house, and he becomes enraged. Lauren gets trapped on the roof, people disappear, nightmares persist, someone dies, and Lauren refuses to leave the house. As Lauren's determination continues, she comes closer to the truth.
The Nesting was released in 1981, which was during the height of the slasher film craze. So, it's admirable that Co-writer/Director Armand Weston would shun the trend and make an old-fashioned haunted house movie. The movie forgoes over-the-top gore and violence, as well as gratuitous nudity, in favor of atmosphere. Unfortunately, Weston did a terrible job at this, and the movie fails at nearly every turn.
Unless you couldn't tell from the above synopsis, The Nesting doesn't make a lot of sense. I typically write a pretty straight-forward overview of a movie's plot, but for this, I tried to insert every odd inconsistency from the story. As noted, the movie lost me in the first few minutes when we learn that Lauren can't leave her apartment, but she's always at Dr. Webb's office. How does that work? Does she teleport there? During one of the first scenes, the movie shows us that Lauren has written a novel called The Nesting (I'm sure that Peter Griffin would love this) and the thing that caught my eye was that the font used in the novel's title was the same as the used when the film's title appeared on-screen. Well, apparently, I was supposed to be looking at the picture of the house on the book, for when Lauren sees the abandoned house in real life, it looks just like the one from her novel's cover, and the movie makes a big deal out of this. Maybe I was too distracted by Mark and his non-stop barrage of changing voices. Lauren's the one seeing a therapist? Apparently this guy suffers from some form of dissociative identity disorder. So, following John Carradine's heart attack from merely glimpsing her face, Lauren moves into the house which probably should have already been condemned many times over. What follows is a bizarre mish-mash of beaded curtains, levitation, sinister floor-boards, and old typewriters. The movie reaches its nadir during an ill-advised car chase.
While The Nesting doesn't have a lot going for it, like so many movies of this ilk, it could have been a much better film. It takes a long time for the story to arrive, and once it does, it's semi-interesting. But, the movie wastes too much time with slow, boring scenes and red herrings. We truly aren't given enough information in the first hour to know what is happening and then the movie grinds to a halt to bring us a flashback to explain what Lauren has been witnessing. If the story had grown at an organic rate, then the movie would have certainly felt like it had better pacing. Of course, none of this would have changed the fact that the entire affair feels like a low-rent version of The Shining.
Kudos to Blue Underground for their continued commitment to bringing older and (here's that word once again) obscure movies to genre fans. It's not their fault that they can't all be winners. But, now people who have read about The Nesting for years will now have a chance to judge the movie for themselves. Still, none of this will tell us what the title means.
The Nesting makes us wonder why Lauren was always wearing men's pants on Blu-ray Disc courtesy of Blue Underground. The film has been letterboxed at 1.85:1 and the Disc contains an AVC 1080p HD transfer which runs at an average of 34 Mbps. This is yet another great transfer from Blue Underground. The image is very sharp and clear, showing only mild grain at times and no overt defects from the source material. Given the age and (again) obscurity of this title, the transfer is certainly impressive. If not for the dated clothing and cars and the low-budget look of the film, one could easily think that this was shot recently. The colors look good and the image is never overly dark or bright. The picture shows a nice amount of depth and the overall crispness of the image lends it a good amount of detail. The Disc carries a DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1 track which runs at 48 kHz and an average of 4.0 Mbps. The track provides clear dialogue and sound effects. As with many tracks of this nature, this was newly created from an old mono track. The result still sounds pretty much like a mono track. The notable difference is that sound effects, such as footsteps, sounds unnaturally loud. The dialogue and music sound good, but don't expect this to sound like a new action movie. The Disc also includes a Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround EX track, as well as the original mono.
The Nesting Blu-ray Disc contains only a few extras. The Disc contain eight DELETED AND EXTENDED SCENES which run about 12 minutes. Only one of these is a true deleted scene, which others are all extended or alternate cuts of scenes already in the film. The one true deleted scene runs 83 seconds and doesn't bring into new into the picture. We bet both the English and Spanish TRAILER for the film, both of which are the same, but one has Spanish narration. The Disc contains three TV SPOTS which run a total of 90 seconds. Finally, we have a very detailed POSTER & STILL GALLERY, which contains a surprising number of pieces given the relative obscurity of the film.
Review by Mike Long. Copyright 2011.