Reviewed by Patrick Cooper
Until I moved from New England to Florida, I never saw a cockroach in person. About one year after moving into my apartment, I started seeing them everywhere. They were small suckers – German cockroaches, they tell me. Some of the hardest to kill. A few times I’ve seen ones the size they are in The Nest and it was terrifying. Before I could clobber one particular beast with a shoe, it turned its head, looked me right in the eye, and hissed. I hate cockroaches.
Director Terence H. Winkless’ (Power Rangers) The Nest features mutated, unstoppable hoards of these loathsome, already unstoppable creatures. They buzz and eat their way through a small coastal town as they gain strength and transform into the hybrid from hell encountered during the film’s climax. The film cruises along at high speed along with the cockroaches – never deviating from creature-feature conventions. Straightforwardness isn’t a bad thing if done well and The Nest is done very well.
Franc Luz stars as Sheriff Tarbell. He’s awakened by a call from the station concerning weird happenings in town. As he’s getting ready to head out, he finds a cockroach in his coffee. The infestation has begun! After making some rounds, he heads to the airport to pick up his old flame, Beth (Lisa Langlois). She’s the daughter of the town’s scowling mayor who’s hiding a secret involving the Intec Corporation and secret mutant roach experiments. One of the worst kind of secrets, in my book.
Roaming masses of roaches quickly overrun the town. They’re foreshadowed by loud hissing, disappearing meat at the grocery store, and bloody animal carcasses. Then bodies start piling up rapidly as the roaches take over more parts of town. It’s up to Sheriff Tarbell, Beth, and a greasy exterminator to find out what Intec was up to, slay the queen, and destroy the nest.
Dr. Morgan Hubbard (Terri Treas – Alien Nation) is also in town. Her character is the mad scientist who worked on the roach mutations. She’s damn near sexually aroused by the strength of the cockroaches. Even when they’re chewing up her hand to a bloody pulp she just stares at them in awe. She begrudgingly helps the Sheriff despite the fact that she loves her precious mutant roaches. She should marry one!
Regardless of its straightforward story and stock characters, everything in The Nest is solid. The cozy small-town atmosphere is nicely developed and its inhabitants – from the diner waitress to the junkyard man – are all suitable for the setting. It’s easy to root for them, y’know? Sheriff Tarbell’s pleasant relationship with the townsfolk is believable and it makes since that he would risk his life to save them. Sure you could say that about most fictional cops, but Franc Luz has a way of carrying himself in that uniform that makes you think, “yeah, he does give a shit about these people.”
This is definitely a horror film that knows its limitations and its audiences. There are no forced statements about society or small town politics. It’s just a simple man vs. monster story done very well. The terror builds up nicely from the roach in the coffee to the giant roach hybrid queen going on a rampage. In between there are plenty of gross out scenes with gore galore. Nothing over-the-top though. The Nest is the third bowl of porridge – just right.
Scream Factory presents The Nest in 1080p 1.78:1 widescreen with a DTS Master Audio that makes the foreboding hiss of cockroaches damn near deafening at times. The picture looks fantastic with plenty of crisp details and poppy contrasts. It’s one of the best looking releases Scream Factory has put out so far. This is the first time The Nest is available on Blu-ray and in a widescreen format and Scream Factory did a knockout job.
The only feature is a commentary with director Terence H. Winkless. He talks about the difficulties of making a cockroach movie, shooting locations, and loads more. Winkless gives a good commentary and fans will definitely want to give it a go.
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