Being Film #14 for Hooptober 2022
If anyone says they’re a fan of The Nest, the 1988 riff on Piranha with cockroaches instead of deadly fish, it’s probably because of the final 15 minutes, which to be fair to the film has some legit great moments of practical effects and a fair amount of the creep crawlies, something in short supply throughout the rest of the movie (shades of Night of the Strangler, anyone?). Because outside of that there is very little to love about this lazy and trite animals gone wild movie.
THE QUICK SUMMARY: The sleepy island town of North Port really needs business to pick up. Good thing the Mayor made a deal with experimental research facility Intec to funnel money in the town. But what is that research, and why are so many people turning up either missing or dead? And what with all the cockroaches? It’s up to the local sheriff, the hot daughter of the Mayor and a pest control technician (don’t call him an exterminator) to save the town before millions of mutant insects devour us all…
In the hands of some like Joe Dante, I can see this being a really fun, icky film. In fact there are moments of the freakout ending – complete with mutant hybrid people/roaches and cat/roaches – that feel inspired in much the same way Dante’s film do. But everything else is a complete slog. There’s a huge difference between a super low budget but passionate and earnest film like Night of the Strangler where you forgive the rough patches because it’s evident the cast and crew were really shooting for something, and The Nest where it feels like a quick cheap money maker because horror can easily make a buck in the burgeoning home video business.
The cockroaches really don’t even make much of an appearance until later in the movie. For at least half the runtime the thread is invisible, with buzzing noises and shifting grass indicating the approach of the mutant insects. Yeah, so if The Happening was your thing, this might give you some of the same thrill. As someone who has a bug phobia I was honestly expecting more bug action, since supposedly the crew would grab roaches from outside to use within the movie, but the queasiness is few and far between. What is queasy are pretty much every performance across the board, with the slim exception of Steven Davies as Homer the local pest control guy who initially seems like the comic relief but comes into his own when it counts, and Terri Treas as Dr. Hubbard who was conducting the experiments that let loose the insects and for most of the movie can’t decide if she wants to stop them or mate with them. Her ending is probably the best scene in the film.
There’s little left to say about The Nest. Dumb, not fun, and if you really are dying to see the best parts find a YouTube video with the ending and you’ll get everything you need.
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